Some students and professors at Purdue University in Indiana are testing a new approach for asking questions during classes. A homemade program called Hotseat allows students to post questions during lectures and professors to answer questions or clarify points in real time. The software can be accessed online or through Twitter, Facebook, and mobile devices.

Other universities have been trying similar arrangements, using social sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect students with professors and ask questions they may be reluctant to ask out loud. Or, in large classes, a professor can address the most popular questions.

As a shy college student, I would have probably taken advantage of something like this — but I have to admit, I'm afraid it discourages face-to-face contact. Do you think it's a good idea? Or do you have any experience with something similar?