Homework: When is a hint an answer

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Wendy, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    I was reading a post about counters, and think I have a solution I could tell the OP verbally (no schematics), but wonder if it would be too much help. Where do you draw the line on something like this, concerning homework, where the folks need to work it out themselves?
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003

    This is always something we ask members to police for themselves. The mods will always try to encourage learning through the student exploring their problem, but we accept whatever the Senior Members offer as advice. It is an accepted convention that an answer is not offered "off-the-cuff", but hints are given where possible to point the student towards the result. Typically those that just ask for an answer without wanting to do any work never get one.

    If you have an answer, can I suggest you try and use the end answer as a goal to drive the student towards. Rather that giving the description, ask the student to think about what it is they are thinking about; for example, if the question is about counters, plant questions such that if the student thinks about the whole concepts of counters they will come across the answer through their own research. Use links from the e-book to guide the student. If their research veers off course, then explain why their approach is not applicable to pull them back on track, but also this is further knowledge imparted in the form of critical analysis.

    Amazingly, you find that you also learn through helping. SgtWookie said to me, the best way to learn a subject is to try and teach it someone - he is right you know.

  3. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    Actually the latter reason is why I like this site so much, I am in need of serious refreshing and know enough to be dangerous.
  4. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    Head-shriekers have actually explored this phenomenon. Try an internet search on "learning pyramid."

    Note that "practice by doing" is the next best thing to "teaching/ immediate use" for learning something. Hints can help a student practice by doing.
  5. roddefig

    Active Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Personally, I always benefit the most when I am able to see a worked solution/example and then apply that to similar problems. Thus, when I answer questions I like to provide a complete solution.

    In my experience students who just copy answers for the homework fail the exams and subsequently fail the course. So, I don't have a problem with giving out solutions, because those who aren't interested in mastering the problem will fail anyways, and those who are will benefit from it.