With classrooms rapidly moving online, reaching and engaging students is becoming a challenge for lots of educators. Despite posting announcements, resources, and assignments, without the face-to-face, structured classroom environment, effective communication among students and teachers is tough.
This transition has put a lot more responsibility on students. Of course, self-inquiry is important, and students taking ownership of their education is a worthy goal. However, losing instruction time due to school closures can leave students with lots of questions; this means that teachers are seeing an increasing volume of emails and messages from students (and parents) and might be answering the same question several times.
If you're facing this issue, it might be worth your time to check out a platform called Piazza for your classroom Q&A. Using this wiki-style platform, students can pose questions and polls (which can categorized by assignment, subject, or anything else) to the class. Afterwards, both fellow students and teachers can answer these questions; the class can upvote helpful solutions, and teachers can "endorse" student-generated responses. If necessary, teachers can post their own answers; in shared classrooms, multiple users can be designated as teachers.
There's no need to worry about creating any confusion by adding another platform to your virtual classroom - Piazza integrates with most LMSs. Find some tips about using Piazza specifically in the COVID-19 environment here.
Did I mention it's free? Check out a sample classroom here.