I’ve just discovered Harriet Swain’s delightful weekly series, How to Be a Student, on guardian.co.uk. It’s been running for a year and a half, and it’s all online. Although these concise columns are aimed at British university undergrads, they have broader relevance to anyone involved in ongoing learning (even if it’s informal) or teaching, no matter where you live.  I found it especially interesting as next week I begin a new teaching semester at The Catholic University of America School of Library and Information Science. Each column is titled The Art of…; May 26’s is The art of asking questions. Swain touches on not just studying skills in these columns, but also life skills that have relevance beyond the classroom. While this type of counsel could come off as didactic in the wrong hands, she adopts just the right tone, providing sensible and realistic advice in a witty and friendly voice.  In The art of asking questions, she says university is less about finding answers than learning to ask the right questions. She suggests continual practice related to what you want to learn: start with broad self-questions beginning with what you’re trying to achieve and work toward more specifics, such as why a particular book has been assigned, what point the author is trying to make, etc. From this follows asking questions in class and emailing questions to the professor. “Asking questions can help you to hone and clarify your ideas,” Swain writes, “but it’s a good idea to understand the difference between asking a question and randomly thinking aloud.”