What do we do about "homework" questions ? There are blatant examples nearly every day. Its tempting to fire off at them, and I have succumbed, but should there be some more structured way ? I'll often help the questions where someone has already clearly made an effort and is stuck, but today there is someone doing a B Tech wanting his project doing for him ! Steve

sort by: active | newest | oldest
1-10 of 12Next »
just give them a very wrong answer and let them learn they're lesson unless you can tell that they have been really working hard but still can't get it and tell other people to do the same
ccison7 years ago
Guess it's time for me to attempt to be useful on this site after being an addicted lurker for the last 24 months.

The problem this thread originally cited (homework-like questions) is as old as the net.  And I mean ARPAnet, the early 1970s.  Two central philosophies, I think, apply in this instance.  First, the policy I've seen successfully applied on many uunet feeds as well as current blogs is to state up front that homework problems are for the student, not the users to solve.  Otherwise, no gain without minimal pain (and I mean that literally:  cognitive science shows a student needs to achieve at least a little neuron stress to be successful).  However, we can help by making suggestions that perhaps would not occur to the average student (whether public or university).  That leads me to the second point:  as an old(er) gink I think one of Instructables basic thrusts is similar to that of a wise, good parent.  We want to encourage tinkering in both young and old alike.  But the younger tinkerers (students of some kind) need to be carefully led not coddled.  So I think an explicit policy of Instructables should be that we don't do homework for anyone under any circumstances.  But we will guide them on where to find what they need and how to apply it safely.  After all we don't want to be known for having the greatest number of multilated users under age 30!

I help judge science fairs in the Washington, DC, area.  Most of the entries are pathetic.  I mean truly pathetic.  Almost everyone of them could benefit from the advice I see everyday on this and other such websites.  This website is an endeavor to be charished for the ages!
steveastrouk (author)  ccison7 years ago
Wise words. Pretty well what I try and do, but I have a feeling I might be too hard sometimes.

Grathio7 years ago
Some of them are laughably obvious aren't they! Two things come to mind: 1) Answer it by pointing out that it's a homework assignment and we're not going to do your homework for you. Mostly so everyone realizes that its a homework assignment and won't bother answering it. It's been a long time since I had homework so sometimes I miss even the obvious ones. 2) Give a convincing but very wrong answer. This takes a lot more effort, but what better way to teach a kid to do his homework? The second one also requires everyone to keep a straight face, which can be pretty hard with all of the cutups we have around here.
Kiteman Grathio7 years ago
I'll go with your (1), tempered with Steve's second paragraph. I take it as a sign of the (UK education) times - we get set unrealistic targets, and have to spoon-feed the kids to get them there. They then get set further unrealistic targets for each successive level, because they met the previous targets, and end up with lots of certificates with no actual knowledge or skills to back them up. Describe university-level expectations to a GCSE / A-Level student, they're terrified!
Bigev Kiteman7 years ago
I'm a case in point. When I ventured to college, I realized EXACTLY how much we glazed over or were coddled along.
Goodhart Bigev7 years ago
Wow, which college was that ?  ;-) 
Bigev Goodhart7 years ago
Kettering University, formerly known as GMI.
Goodhart Bigev7 years ago
:-)   Admittedly, I haven't been around the "college scene" for quite some time, so maybe even the local colleges are just as lax now....but I know that at one time, they weren't :-) 
best answer!
1-10 of 12Next »