Student forum tech support…

“I have a problem, it’s all broken, can you fix it?”
“Possibly, if you tell us what the problem is…”

… doesn’t explain problem; tease info out of them, like blood out of a stone, over three or four replies…

Try these steps…
It still doesn’t work…
Did you follow the steps?
Not all of them…
That’s why it doesn’t work. Try again.

It doesn’t work…
Did you follow the steps?
Yes.

Really?
No. I did some of them before so I didn’t do them all again.

That’s why it doesn’t work. Try again:
Do them all, in the order we suggest…

…tumbleweed…

For some reason it seems to be working now, LOL…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “Student forum tech support…”

  1. Ah yes, I think this is a big issue in life not just in computing education. How to deal with problems and how to get help. Actually, most problems in life and learning seem to revolve around the emotions and not around being smart enough to work things out! Interested to work on this issue with you.

    1. Jane
      One of the fixes is that we give guidance on how to raise issues, and also coach folk as we try to answer questions in how they might have raised the issue better. We also need to set expectations about what we actually mean for students to do when we provide them with advice.

      One thing that can also help is to find a way to very briefly explain the rationale for steps so that folk are more likely to follow the instructions we recommend and understand the consequences of not following them. (There can be loads of tacit knowledge when understanding why certain things need doing again, and why others don’t. If students understood state a bit better, a lot of things would be much easier to explain!)

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