About the course forum
In this course, we will use a Github Issues forum to communicate as a class.
About Github Issues
Traditionally, Github’s Issues is used for documenting problems or feature requests in a specific software project (example: webpack/issues).
For our purposes, however, we’ll use Github Issues as a questions and answers forum for the course.
This will allow us to gain experience using a real-world software development tool while practicing our technical communication skills.
My hope is that you will use the forum to not only get your own questions answered, but also learn from the questions your classmates are asking.
- ✅ Things you should post about:
- Project troubleshooting/strategy questions
- Questions or request for further clarification on curriculum
- Useful information (how you solved a problem you were facing, a related resource/guide/tool you found helpful, etc.)
- ❌ Things you should not post about but instead email me about (firstname.lastname@example.org):
- Questions regarding the Content Check portion of your weekly assignments; these must be completed independently without any collaboration with classmates.
- Questions specific to your personal involvement in the course, e.g. grading.
- ✅ Write clear, to-the-point, informative post titles.
- ✅ Provide sufficient detail so we can effectively help you.
- ✅ Close your own posts when an issue is resolved.
- ✅ When relevant, include your Github repository URL (with the latest changes pushed) and tell us the specific files you’re asking your question about.
- ✅ Correctly format code and code-like content (e.g. configs, log files) using Markdown code fences; fences should include the language extension so it is properly syntax highlighted. (Examples...)
- ❌ Do not share screenshots of code - they can be hard to read and it’s not possible to copy/paste from them. Whenever possible, it’s better to include code snippets that are properly formatted with Markdown, or direct links to relevant code in Github.
- ❌ Don’t ask multiple questions in the same post unless they’re closely related.
- ❌ Don’t ask new questions in the thread of an existing post; instead, create a new post and tag the original post if it’s related.
- ⭐ Understand that completing your work is your own responsibility and if a solution is not reached for one of your posts, this is not an excuse for incomplete/late work.
Getting help effectively
Search first for quicker resolutions: Posting in the forum should not be your first stop in solving a problem. Instead, resources like Google and StackOverflow are necessary resources that can often give you an immediate answer to the problem at hand.
If you can’t find your answer there, then search the forum to see if anyone else is having a similar problem which has already been solved (or is in the process of being solved).
If you can’t find your solution, then create a new post.
Write clear, thoughtful questions: One of the skills you’ll be working on in this class is how to articulate technical problems; this is an essential skill for any programmer. The more information you can provide, the quicker your peers will be able to help you.
Here’s an example of a post that needs work:
And here’s that same post corrected:
In a traditional in-person classroom - not only do you obtain information from the lecturer, but you absorb supplemental details when your classmates ask questions mid-lecture, or while engaging with your peers before/after lecture or during breaks. In an online course, much of this community chatter is lost, and with it so is the opportunity for learning via exposure to related questions and ideas. With this in mind, the forum is not just about getting your questions answered. Instead, it’s about being actively engaged in a community to benefit from the supplemental learning opportunities available there.
With that in mind, engagement can/should take many forms:
- Providing suggestions or answers to your classmate’s questions.
- Skimming all new posts and reading follow-up threads on posts you find interesting.
- Using the response feature to “thumbs up” replies that you feel provide the most accurate or helpful answer.
- Sharing your own questions in a clear, thoughtful way.
- Sharing tips, suggestions, and resources that helped your own process.
Do not feel discouraged if you can’t answer questions, or even if you don’t understand some of the questions being posted. Even if you don’t understand something now, the point is to open yourself to new ideas from your classmates.