Getting past “I’m stuck” with Instant Messaging
One of the things I’ve been trying to do is to get my students to get past that moment of getting “stuck” and not knowing what to do. One approach I’ve taken to dealing with this is asking students to reach out to me when they’ve spent 5-10 minutes on a problem and feel they aren’t making progress. I’ve encouraged students to email me, but I’ve found that this leads to never ending email chains that really take a long time to address a student question, and besides, many students these days don’t check email at all.
Recently I’ve been trying something new with making myself available via skype and IM for student questions. It turns out to be a pretty big time saver. I can usually guide a student to a deeper understanding much more quickly than via email, and overall, I think it’s useful. Of course, at the moment, very few students have tried it out, so I haven’t been swamped with requests yet. I’m also not really sure how much my feedback is really helping students to master ideas on their own—the eternal “am I helping too much?’ question that always plagues me.
So I’ve decided to post a transcript of a somewhat recent conversation and see if you have any feedback (click on the images to embiggen them).