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View Poll Results: Would a homework help forum be a good idea?

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  • yea

    9 64.29%
  • nah

    1 7.14%
  • maybe if... (please elaborate)

    4 28.57%
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Thread: homework help forum

  1. #1 homework help forum 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how I feel about this myself, so I figured I'd put it before the rest of you.

    A lot of younger people come to this forum with the mistaken notion that we'll do their homework problems for them. However, the negative responses they often get leave them with a bad impression of the members of this forum, and the idea that this place can't be helpful to them at all. And I disagree with that. This is a great place to learn from other people and get a taste for scientific discussion, and I would hate to turn kids away from here unnecessarily.

    I thought that it might help if there was a homework help forum, probably stuck at the top of the homepage somewhere, so it's easy for newcomers to see. We could keep a big ole sticky thread in there that says with capital letters READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST! In which we could explain what we will and will not do when it comes to homework help.

    Examples - We will not do your research for you, but if you need tips on how to do research then we can point you in the right direction. If you've done your research and still have trouble understanding certain issues or concepts, you can come and discuss them with us. If you want critiques of your already written answers, you can ask us. Etc.

    And, even for those complete newbies who simply don't get it and still post the unacceptable questions anyway, at least they will (hopefully) be localized in a single forum and not spread across the different forums.

    What do you guys think?


    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  3. #2  
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    Let me be very clear on this question, others may disagree, and although I am a mod, this view is my personal view illustrated with a few examples...

    OMG OMG OMG! I need help guys, this paper has to be in tomorrow and I still need answers to these 50 questions
    Trashed and locked - no question, the person has made no attempt to find the answers.

    I will not answer or encourage others to answer such posts, many of these are from new posters who seem to join every forum they can and post only once.

    Whether new or existing member forget it.

    Similarly any question where the poster cannot show their work so far (ie has made no attempt to even start), should not be answered, or helped, if you listen to your lecturer and are genuinely interested in the subject you will have a clear idea on how to proceed.

    Sometimes, [I know] questions are posed to students in areas they are unfamiliar with, and this is to assess the student's ability to research and answer. THis is the way things work when you are thrown into the big wide world.

    So I do not and will not directly answer any that I think are homework questions in any circumstances.

    Homework can be debated but asking homework questions is not as such a debate topic, so all homework questions I see go to the trash bin.

    Guidance however in a way that taxes the student is permissable;

    Help guys, I've done this question 50 times but I always get the same answer of xyz which suggests I am left with more than I started with
    THe first reply should always be something along the lines of "Show us the working so far..."

    After which you can then help by saying something like "Are you sure you are using the right constant ?" which is clearly code for wrong value in the formula.

    It may be the approach of the student that is wrong, in which case you could suggest 'look up the laws of jam making by hartley rather than marmalade"

    So there are no hard and fast rules, indeed if you really want to answer a homework question just PM them with the answer and NOT the working, then either they use it and fail (through not showing the working) or work till they get the same answer.

    Clear?


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  4. #3  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I think its a great idea. We can simply just point them in the right direction as you've said Paralith. We could in essence be second, third, fourth etc, teachers to them. We don't do their work for them. Just help them. Helping them walk so they don't run or don't walk at all.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    Helping them walk so they don't run or don't walk at all.
    Yuu mean like dead or crippled for life?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Let me be very clear on this question, others may disagree, and although I am a mod, this view is my personal view illustrated with a few examples...

    OMG OMG OMG! I need help guys, this paper has to be in tomorrow and I still need answers to these 50 questions
    Trashed and locked - no question, the person has made no attempt to find the answers.

    I will not answer or encourage others to answer such posts, many of these are from new posters who seem to join every forum they can and post only once.

    Whether new or existing member forget it.
    MB, we have no idea how young the people posting these questions are. Though they have made no effort a good deal of them probably just don't understand forum etiquette. I see no reason why they can't be dealt with civilly, and at least be told in a somewhat polite manner why their question will not be answered. And in a homework help subforum, you won't have to hunt each one down and trash it - it will just be in a place where these posts can be easily found and dealt with.

    I see you put a sticky in the general discussion subforum, but I think it's pretty safe to say that's not visible enough. The desperate posters aren't going to bother to look in there before they post.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  7. #6  
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    Perhaps Mr U will read and answer then, as I said these are my feelings on the subject, (the locked bit should not be in that post) what I have put in place may not be best solution but creating new threads is not my remit, I am only a moderator here.
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  8. #7  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    "If science isn't simple, it isn't science, it's bullshit"
    I find science simple all told, what does that mean? :|.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  9. #8  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    And in a homework help subforum, you won't have to hunt each one down and trash it - it will just be in a place where these posts can be easily found and dealt with.
    Also, a browser might see a heading that pertains to his question and then he does not even have to bother us. We might even assemble a homework squad or the names of credible members might be added to the sticky (which won’t include mine ) so they know who to listen to.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    And in a homework help subforum, you won't have to hunt each one down and trash it - it will just be in a place where these posts can be easily found and dealt with.
    Also, a browser might see a heading that pertains to his question and then he does not even have to bother us. We might even assemble a homework squad or the names of credible members might be added to the sticky (which won’t include mine ) so they know who to listen to.
    I agree. We could even have sticky threads with links to reference pages that have been found to be reliable by other forum members, or guides on how to do research.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  11. #10  
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    I see no reason why they can't be dealt with civilly
    I agree, there is no need for some of the replies i have seen to homework posters.

    The idea is a good one but there would need to be some issues looked at, and a sticky/rule book would need to be applied and enforced. (as im sure it would)

    and important - a reminder to all posters that information found on-line cannot always be relied upon.

    Edit- i tutor students who are doing their Leaving Cert (Alevels/final high school years) in biology. More often than not, when they say they don't know the answer, i give em a nudge and they get it almost straight away. Why cant this be the case here?
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodgod3rd
    I see no reason why they can't be dealt with civilly
    I agree, there is no need for some of the replies i have seen to homework posters.

    The idea is a good one but there would need to be some issues looked at, and a sticky/rule book would need to be applied and enforced. (as im sure it would)

    and important - a reminder to all posters that information found on-line cannot always be relied upon.
    Definitely. But again, that's something they could come to us with - I found this source, but I've had trouble verifying the information it gave me, what do you guys know about it? etc.

    Edit- i tutor students who are doing their Leaving Cert (Alevels/final high school years) in biology. More often than not, when they say they don't know the answer, i give em a nudge and they get it almost straight away. Why cant this be the case here?
    I agree completely. There have been times when I replied to a person's homework questions with more questions that would point them in the right direction - all of which came to nothing when another poster came in after me, laughing and saying that I must be a teacher, and just giving all the answers. I would hope that a homework help forum would also contain guidelines for responders to posted questions.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  13. #12  
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    Hey all.

    I do realize this thread is months ago, but i also might have a answer.
    I recently started a forum http://www.homeworkhelp.co.za/forum
    As you can see its still very new and Im trying to build it up. Im also looking for interesting links that I can use as reference where people can have educational discussions/information. Was thinking we could go into some kinda agreement?

    I link to your site and you guys link to ours. Then we get all the homework questions?

    Let me know. Thanks.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Hello Dark_Fire. I don't know how the other forum members or mods feel, but this is my take:

    My problem isn't that we get homework questions in the first place. I'm not looking to shunt them all off somewhere else. I just hoped that forming a separate homework subforum would (1) help members here respond to students asking questions appropriately and (2) better help those students.

    I looked at your forum and I applaud your effort, but it worries me somewhat. I do not think that a homework help forum should be a place where students come, ask their homework questions, and get someone else to find the answer for them. Granted, your forum is brand new and I only saw one genuine homework question, but that's exactly what happened. The point should not be to do students' work for them, but to help them learn how to do their own work. I strongly believe that this is an extremely important skill for students to learn.

    I think a homework forum should be a place where students can get clarification on research they have already done, tips on how to do research, have someone look over and edit their already written responses, etc. And right now I don't know if that's what your forum will be.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    If you are in the role of a teacher, I think its best to just answer questions with well planned questions of your own. Your objective is not to give the answer but to help the student find the answer.

    http://www.garlikov.com/Soc_Meth.html
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  16. #15  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demen Tolden
    If you are in the role of a teacher, I think its best to just answer questions with well planned questions of your own.
    What makes you say that? 8)
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  17. #16  
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    If its a good method; why wouldn't he say that?
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  18. #17  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    What do you think?
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  19. #18  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    I don't understand your question Ophiolite. That statement has a few parts in it that you could be asking motives for.
    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
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  20. #19  
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    What do you think?
    What do you think would be the best way to respond to that question?

    (clutching straws; losing sight of what i'm trying to say :P)

    Questions aside. I agree with Demen Tolden especially from personal experience. If someone asks a question in class say, one that's well structured and has a lot of dimensions, it really dose make one think that bit more about what the problem is. Very often people find they have partial answers to work with anyway!

    I wonder if its a fear factor - teacher asked me a question; i should know this! You have to be careful however. Pressure of questions can make a student panic and roll over and leave the problem completely. When a lecturer stood behind my back the other day, watching my answer as i worked it out I froze. He asked " where do you think the negative carbon will go to now?". It was very obvious - but i gave a VERY silly answer. one which i laughed at out loud at as soon as i said it.

    Saying that, there are many different ways one can learn or teach. I find a mixture of all works the best for me depending on what the aims are.

    What method do you find best Ophiolite?

    Also keeping with the posts topic; do we think that we here at the forum can offer a small small token of that help and advice?
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  21. #20  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demen Tolden
    I don't understand your question Ophiolite. That statement has a few parts in it that you could be asking motives for.
    Hi Demen,
    You said "If you are in the role of a teacher, I think its best to just answer questions with well planned questions of your own."
    Now I agree completely with that statement, therefore I adopted the role of a teacher and asked you what I believed to be a well planned question of my own. I said "What makes you say that? "
    I thought it was rather clever supporting your viewpoint through practical use of your proposed methodology.

    When goodogodthe3rd responded with another question (If its a good method; why wouldn't he say that? ( I believed he was continuing the idea.

    Now I don't know what to think? :wink:
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  22. #21  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    very clever :P
    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
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  23. #22  
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    I had hoped to continue although my question was not that well planned out =) why don't you know?

    Teaching i suppose is a skill, eh? (one i don't clearly have)

    But in essence, i think we do have the capacity to try to help people here,

    wouldn't you agree?
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  24. #23  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodgod3rd
    Saying that, there are many different ways one can learn or teach. I find a mixture of all works the best for me depending on what the aims are.

    What method do you find best Ophiolite?
    I agree that variety, depending upon objective, material and complexity, are the best techniques. If in doubt I just ask why, and when an answer is provided, ask why again. If repeated, this forces students to see the layers of cause and effect in any situation, and to appreciate the inter-relationship of variables.

    In terms of learning I have always found that attempting to teach a concept or fact to others is the best way to learn.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    In terms of learning I have always found that attempting to teach a concept or fact to others is the best way to learn.
    I do that a little bit, but i always fear if im wrong, then im gonna mess their ideas up.

    also as an aside i fear i am coming across as a pompous git when they really dont know wha tht ehell im talking about. when that happens, i take a step back because i havent yet learned it.
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  26. #25  
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    Hehe, I think I put this topic back on the map. :P

    Anyway,
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I looked at your forum and I applaud your effort, but it worries me somewhat. I do not think that a homework help forum should be a place where students come, ask their homework questions, and get someone else to find the answer for them. Granted, your forum is brand new and I only saw one genuine homework question, but that's exactly what happened. The point should not be to do students' work for them, but to help them learn how to do their own work. I strongly believe that this is an extremely important skill for students to learn.
    As a response, yea, we are still new and kinda trying. So far our biggest worry isn't how we answer the question, but what to do to get more members... Its quite hard to build a community like this.

    I did take your post into considiration thou and we will be trying to do it like that from now on (seeing that we only have 3 questions sofar)

    Im sorry for the late response as well, the past week was hectic. Trying to get back on track now. hehe.

    Thanks anyway for all your help.
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  27. #26  
    Forum Sophomore GrowlingDog's Avatar
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    I think the most commendable thing in all of this is how much you are all trying to be of help and how much concern you have that the student is working it out on his own. I wish i had a place like this to go to when i was a boy. Instead, i mostly got, "I don't know, why didn't you ask your teacher that?" or "You'll figure it out". Reference books and the internet were not available in my house as a child and i envy the young mind that can delve into a subject to such a degree all in the comfort of his own house. Of course, i dont envy the task they may have in deciphering the information from extremely helpful to completely wrong. I tell my nephews to always try to get at least 3 reputable sources that agree with each other and stay away from "conspiracy" theory sites, they are nearly always just trying to sell their own agenda (sell a book).
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  28. #27  
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    Hey... Thanks.

    I try Hey... But I can't find any free sorce of advertising... And I have no budget for this.

    While we on the topic... If anyone wants to help out as a moderator of some sort please contact me... Would be nice to have a few extra guys around.

    Anyway. Lets see How this works out. If anyone knows of advertising, let me know
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  29. #28  
    Forum Sophomore Kenny Klassen's Avatar
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    Yeah only to keep them out I actually got a private message for a person who goes by big bear for homework help. Although I do belive some post secondary homework is fine
    sorry I was gone so long, there are just to many undereducated people here I did not want to add to the problem but I am going to anyway
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  30. #29  
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    Yea difficult issue.. I'm affraid that if we open a "homework-section" (probably more like a "ask the members-section", open for non-homework questions as well) we may attract a lot of "please do my homework" posts.. I have no problem with trying to help out a student, but as Paralith mentioned there's a fine line between making a positive contribution to their development and doing their homework.
    Keep in mind how search engines work: if we get a lot of posts with the word 'homework' in them, anyone who googles homework+science may find us first.

    Another problem is that interesting, thought-provoking questions may also end up in this 'homework-section', where they are separated from other discussions in their field of science. For example the question "how does quantum dynamics actually work?" might end up outside the physics section, while it could've started an interesting discussion there.

    A lot of forums have a sticky thread in every section for questions about that topic, but that's not a perfect solution either. People may get the answer they wanted, but such threads are impossible to search through. So useful posts would get buried in such a place.
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