If I wanted to have a Stack Exchange site whose community is initially a single class, how could I go about it?

I like the way Stack Exchange fosters a community and gives badges for activity. I'd like to bring that capability to the Discrete Structures course that I am designing for next fall. I thought a class-specific Stack Exchange site would be a great way for students to make the material their own, to create problems, write answers/proofs, critique and improve other answers, and essentially make their own e-book record of what they had collectively learned, while getting feedback along the way.

We've used Blackboard course tools and are migrating to Sakai. Both of these have wiki capabilities, but Stack Exchange seems much better from an instructor's point of view because its ordering by community votes, its records of activity, and reputation/badges awards offloads a lot of the administrative burden from instructors and # teaching assistants that would moderate the site, allowing them to focus on content and organization (via tagging or roadmap posts) more than administrivia.

Some new ideas come in when you think about per-classroom Stack Exchange sites being combined into per-subject repositories -- e.g., each class may start with an empty Stack Exchange site, but the moderators teaching over the years might combine sites to make repositories for self-study or for instructors.

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    +1 - I can't tell you how annoyed I am with my school's discussion forums after using SO for the past two years. Apr 6, 2011 at 12:32
  • Related or duplicate: How could Stack Overflow be used in high school?. "If a teacher could start a forum based on Stack Overflow open only to only her class, I imagine that students would benefit. Is this possible? How?" Apr 6, 2011 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting idea, but the current Stack Exchange community creation process is not designed to support building communities with such a limited scope - they would not even make it through definition stage due to lack of support.

There is a hosted option available, but it has been made very clear repeatedly that it is very expensive and for companies with extremely large budgets only.

Unless the SE team steps up at some point and offers explicit support for this kind of thing, you will be better off looking at one of the freely available Stack Overflow clones.

  • I always wondered if there was a reason for those clones to exist!
    – Gabe
    Apr 6, 2011 at 13:01

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