Lesson Weekend

Throughout your programing career, and especially at the beginning, you're going to need help from other people. It is, however, important to build up your self-reliance as a developer and to learn by struggling.

If you have a question or issue, research as a pair for at least 20 minutes, but try to go no more than 30 minutes. It's important to strike a balance between self-reliance and knowing when to ask for help.

Getting Help from Other Students

If you and your pair are unable to find a solution after debugging and doing your own research reach out to other pair groups. A big part of learning is sharing and collaboration so don't be shy about going into another groups pair channel to ask for help. Use these tips to explain the problem and try to follow a specific formula for asking questions:

"When I {do_thing}, the program should {do_response_thing}. But instead it {does_unexpected_thing}. I've tried {debugging_and_research}."

For example:

"When I click the link to my Home page, it should take us to the home.html file, displaying it in the browser. But instead it displays an empty page. I've double checked the curriculum and googled 'DOM not displaying page.'"

Forming questions and stating the problem with clarity is a skill that you will grow and you'll eventually do on the job. You and your teammates are your greatest resource.

If the group is unable to come up with the answer this means you have a good question that will help you all learn as a team. At this point it would be good to post the issue in your class questions channel, this way other students can weigh in and if anyone runs into the same issue later in the day they can see who else struggled with it and might have found a solution.

Getting Help from Teachers

As a staff we want to support you and help you any way we can, but as your developer skills grow it becomes increasingly important for you to learn to find answers through your own research. Because of this we have a specific format for asking teachers for help on Discord, so we can make sure proper steps were taken and all the information is provided.

Staff Availability

Full Time Students: Your teachers will be avialable during the full time classroom hours (not during independent projects).

Part-Time Students: Your teachers will be available during the part-time classroom hours (not during independent projects).

If you see a teacher on discord outside of your class hours they are likely working with another class so please do not message them for issues. Message your teachers and they will get back to you as soon as they can the following class day.

The Format for Getting Teacher Help on Discord:

Looking for instructor help in: {Insert room name}
We have debugged on our own and checked with: {Other pair groups you've checked with}
The Issue: {A quick explanation of what the issue is and what your hypothesis is}
The Research: {A brief of what you have researched, either in the lessons or online}
{A liveshare link to your code}

To your teachers this will make it clear that you have:

  1. Debugged your code and done your own research for at least 20 minutes.

and

  1. Reached out to other students, had them take a look at your code, and walked them through a problem.

As you progress through the program and start teaching yourself items covered in 'Further Exploration' sections we will expect more groups to be reached out to and more research on your own.

Direct Messaging

On Discord you have the option of sending a direct message which can be very useful for sending links to your pair for the day but it should not be used as a way to ask teachers for help with issues in the lesson.

It's important to post questions about the lesson/the curriculum in general in the questions channel for your class because it allows other students to weigh in, teachers don't always check DMs as often as the questions channel, and so that other students don't ask the same question.

If you have an urgent or time-sensitive matter you need to discuss, like issues with your pair for the day or anything that makes you feel unsafe, excluded, or unable to complete the days lesson you may direct message your instructor. For technical issues and other matters, please put in a ticket or email your instructor.

You can send a direct message two ways:

  1. You can click on a users name which will create a pop-up windows with the users info and a message window.
  2. You can click on the Home button which is the Discord logo in the top-left corner.
    • To start a message with one person type their name into the box that says Find or start a conversation.
    • To start a group message click the + next to DIRECT MESSAGES and from there you will be able to add any users who you have as a friend on Discord.
      • To add a friend go to the Home section and click on Friends. A green button that says Add Friend and type in their Discord username, not their nickname. The username will always end with a # followed by four digits. Click Send Friend Request and once the user approves it you will be able to add them to a group message.

Tagging on Discord

Discord allows you to 'tag' a specific person, cohort, or role in a post by typing the @ symbol. This means anyone tagged will recieve a notification about your post. Tagging can be especially helpful when replying to other messages in your class text channels, that way the person you're replying to will be notified immediately.

To tag a person type @ followed by the user's screen name or nickname, with no spaces between the @ and the name. This is why in Preparing to Work Remotely we ask you to make your nickname your fullname, as you can imagine it would be a bit difficult for students and staff to remember Joe is AmazingChef83 so having his nickname as Joe Shmo makes it easier for everyone to work remotely and tag him as @JoeShmo.

Cohorts and roles can be tagged as well, for example @Instructor will notify all teachers and if your cohort on discord is 'OCT REACT' typing @OctReact will allow you to select your cohort name from the auto-populated list and notify everyone there.

Getting Help by Email

If you need help outside of Discord, would like to schedule a meeting, or to discuss a non-time sensitive issue with staff, you can always reach out over email. All Epicodus staff email addresses will be their first name followed by @epicodus.com. Instructors do their best to check email during their working hours and will get back to you as soon as they can.

Lesson 7 of 12
Last updated July 30, 2020