[Tutor] Answers to homework assignments? No!

Karl Pflästerer sigurd at 12move.de
Fri Jan 23 16:40:47 EST 2004

On 23 Jan 2004, Danny Yoo <- dyoo at hkn.eecs.berkeley.edu wrote:

> think that someone's asking a question because it's a homework assignment,
> and if you realy want to help that person, please don't give direct
> solutions.

Most of ther time I don't but here I saw no harm in doing so.  The OP
was so honest to state it was homework but he also showed that he had
first tried finding a solution himself.  That's not the kind of question
you imagine if you think of the typical homework question: 'Hi folks; My
friend has such and such problem; Who can write a solution'.  If I read
something like this I don't answer.

> In this case, Chris has explictely stated that it's homework, so we don't
> even have to guess.  It's homework, and most online communities will treat
> such questions, for the most part, as out-of-bounds:

Well but we are individuals and have to decide each on our own if is
approbiate to naswer or not and if yes in what way we answer.

>     http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#homework

I know these papers from ESR (if simply he wouldn't have such an odd
attitude concerning weapons (but that absolutely OT here)).  His 'smart
questions' is a good paper (sometimes a bit harsh).

> Chris is having problems with the assigment because there's an obstacle
> somewhere in his knowledge.  The best thing we can do for him is to
> identify those obstacles, and show him good climbing techniques that apply
> to more than that single problem instance.

Maybe yes maybe no.  In nearly every case I would write the same as you
(here I'm a bit biased :-) ) but don't forget sometimes the easiest way
to understanding is a clear and simple solution.

> But to just skylift him by helicopter and drop him across doesn't help him
> in the long run.  In fact, it does him great harm.

Here in that case I didn't saw it that way; above I explained why.  I
first thought about rot13 the answers (as kind of spoiler space) but
decided then against it.

> resist and to keep John Holt's "How Children Fail" in mind:

>     http://educationreformbooks.net/failure.htm

I don't know the book; at first glance it seems to be reasonable.  But I
don't want to say more since I didn't read it (only the abstract) and
because that's absolutely OT here (as my answer).

So if you think there's more to say please use pm so not to disturb the
mailing list.

Please do *not* send copies of replies to me.
I read the list

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