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Do we help with Homework and Assignments?

Sajan

Excel Ninja
My two cents...
I think we should help anyone who requests it. If the poster explicitly indicates that the post is for a school assignment, perhaps we can initially offer some suggestions instead of solving the problem outright. But ultimately, I would put the responsibility for learning on the student, and not the volunteers on this forum.

Since there are many who utilize this forum to get their complete work/job assignments done, I am not sure why we would not help a student who has asked for help. If the poster (be it a student or someone employed somewhere) fails to learn from the posts and the solutions offered, that is their loss.

-Sajan.
 

Hui

Excel Ninja
Staff member
We should try and help all those who ask, especially students

But with students specifically, I think we should be suggesting methodologies to solve problems and directing them to info or posts which may explain how a function/technique works, without specifically solving the problem for them.

If a student has at least had a go using the suggested methodology/technique and is still stuck a more direct solution with an explanation may be appropriate

In fact this approach should be done with all people, but often it is simpler and quicker to simply solve it and offer a brief explanation of how the solution was arrived at after the event.
 

SirJB7

Excel Rōnin
Hi, kchiba!

I'm gonna share my personal thoughts about it and how they changed along the time.

I firstly took as a heresy those questions from students that come to this site for help with their homework and assignments. I tended to believe that it was unfair, so I avoided answering or sometimes posting a slightly ironic comment. I thought that the help (from here) should be delivered to people who needed aid in their work or life, not to cheating students.

At the same time I realized that sometime there were topics with questions that made me talk to myself wondering if that wasn't a clear and neat abuse of the help that could be got at this place. I remember many cases of people who asked almost for a full accounting or selling application for their own business without even helping or facilitating the minimum data. The most extreme that I remember was that of an airline owner who asked for a solution for an optimization of flight scheduling (1: would you -client- rely on such an airline with such a schedule? I don't.; 2) would he -owner- rely on a provided service of such an origin? I don't mean quality. He doesn't.).
Here my answer, which was never returned:
http://chandoo.org/forum/threads/airline-schedule.3221/#post-15646

One day I read a comment from Hui about gratitude:
http://chandoo.org/forum/threads/am-i-too-suspicious.3789/#post-19298
and decided to analyze the problem from another viewpoint. Why should be I who decide to help or not a student if with Google he has full access to virtually any question or subject? Will my little grain of sand make the difference? No, absolutely not.

Then I weighted the 2 different cases:
a) Those thankful, very thankful, up to saturation sometimes, mostly but not exclusively students, that cheating or not they try to accomplish a job: their homework or assignment.
b) Those ungrateful and sometimes unpolite, students or not and usually not students, that are clearly trying to take advantage of the collective knowledge not to solve a job or personal issue but to spare a few bucks.

And I changed my mind, I realized I was wrong at a first moment, so whenever I had the chance to choose between the firsts and the lasts, my option was, is and will be clear: the firsts, students or not.

At last these are forums, open to the community, neither guards nor policemen, just a few rules, being the common sense the major one. Forums at last. Nothing more.

Regards!
 
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shrivallabha

Excel Ninja
I agree with above comments. In the past, I have ignored school assignments [Ditto SirJB7] but now that I have a young kid, I realize the importance of giving helping hand and showing him that the world is good place to be so that his neural networks develop with positivity. Maybe in future he'll be gracious enough to help others. The same probably applies to kids who come here in the want of help. In future, they might help others if they carry good memories of help given.

I just would like to point out that if someone says this is school assignment it actually shows the poster has chosen to be transparent. What if the poster chose to drop these two words from his post? Will we still spend some time guessing if it is real world assignment or not?

The other example that comes my mind is excel challenges section. I might be taken to task for saying that they sometimes serve a purpose more academic than practical but yet it is something that makes you study Excel hard and be better in your craft.

And I think it never is one way traffic even if it is plain repeat or re-visit of formula / feature. I don't think I come here to help others but I come here to help myself. Maybe you've seen this before:
 

Luke M

Excel Ninja
IMO, when a student comes here and asks for help (not just a direct solution, but guidance), I almost give them more applause than someone who doesn't. At least they have found a place to ask a question, and know how to do a search on the internet to find an answer. I smile to myself when I get coworkers coming up to me asking questions that I then answer by pulling up Google, typing in their question verbatim, and clicking on the first link for the answer.
 

Smallman

Excel Ninja
I am going to come at this from a students perspective. This issue hits close to home as I did further study a couple of years ago. I am speaking specifically about questions typed into the forum word for word from an assignment or exam (I have seen this).

If when studying I was competing against other students that is fine but if I am competing directly against some of the gun slingers in here I am not OK with that. Someone else doing your assignments is not cool with me and defeats the purpose of trident trial and error. When you ask questions in a forum the answers are generally more tailored than what you may find on the net. Clearly a well crafted question will get through but if i suspect I am doing someone's assignment or take home exam that is when I pull up and say 'No way Cowboy'. I don't think there is any good which can come of it and I feel for the other students when I see experience players responding to word for word exam questions. I will happily point them at resources but not provide tailored assistance. Asking for general advice is different but it comes down to a judgement call and it is not black and white for mine.

Take it easy

Smallman
 

AlanSidman

Active Member
Here is a canned response that is used on another forum where I am active.

Nothing is more frustrating than to be working on homework and to get stuck. Without guidance, you might have no hope of finishing the assignment before the deadline. The Internet can be a big help in that respect, but without learning how to get the right answer, asking others to solve your homework questions for you simply becomes a downward spiral (and it's cheating).

We do not want to contribute to you cheating yourself out of your education, but we also acknowledge that seeking assistance to learn a concept is a legitimate request.

If you are genuinely interested in receiving help in the form of tutoring or coaching, then please rephrase the title of your original post to clearly indicate you are seeking coaching or tutoring help. Any forum members (who are willing to assist as a tutor) will modify their responses accordingly to facilitate your learning. Tutors don't tell you the answers, they help you figure it out for yourself; so don't expect answers, expect suggestions, or just plain hints. Also, be specific in describing the function/formula or technique you trying to learn, and tell us what you have attempted so far. Otherwise, expect your plea for homework answers to be ignored.
 
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