Should there be a "homework" category?

As Julia gains traction, there is likely to be more courses and therefore homework assignments and questions about homework assignments in Julia.

Homework questions are special, in that the goal is not to find the solution but to help the person who asked the question to figure out the solution and learn from the experience. It can be assumed that the person has set time aside for learning, and therefore getting to the correct answer quickly is not important, and can eve be counter-productive. (On the other hand, in the “usage” category the person asking the question might be in a hurry, and just needs the code to work.)

I propose creating a category “homework” for posting and discussing homework assignments. Teachers should be encouraged to post homework assignments here (preferably with a permissive license, so that other teachers might modify and re-use them.) And students should be encouraged to post homework-related questions (as permitted by their teacher.)

Having a special category for homework makes it clear for students where they should post questions. (Students are often new to discourse, and cannot be expected to have read any policy documents. Hence they may forget to mention that their question is a homework assignment.) It might also lower the barrier to making a first post and becoming a member of the community.

There should be an official homework policy prominently posted. Something like this: Homework policy - #17 by Tamas_Papp
Teachers posting assignments should be allowed to state deviations from this policy that apply to their assignment. (For example, “no help allowed” or “help on installing only, until such-and-such time”.)

When answering questions on Stackoverflow, one should fist check the “homework” category on discourse and see if a teacher has posted that question, and if so, what policy applies.


What would be advantage to having that here, as opposed to directing such questions to stackoverflow?

  1. Homework questions are not always easy to spot, if the person posting them forgets to mention that it’s homework. Hence it would be hard to know what questions to redirect.

  2. As far as I know, Stackoverflow does not have a place for teachers to post homework assignments in anticipation of students wanting to discuss those assignments (or as a way of sharing with other teachers).

  3. A discussion thread is (i.m.o.) a better format for a homework question, as it can lead the student gradually towards the answer. Stackoverflow tends to promote complete answers that are provided quickly.

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Good points.

“forgets” is a benevolent interpretation :wink:

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Should probably point out the earlier discussion here. Homework policy

Yes. That’s why I linked there in the first post. :wink:

Ah, indeed. apologies. note to self: improve reading comprehension.