Lesson Weekend

Throughout your programing career, and especially at the beginning, you're going to need help from other people. However, it's important to build up your self-reliance as a developer and to learn by trying to solve problems on your own.

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. Don't be shy about going into another group's pair channel to ask for help. Use these tips to explain the problem and use the following formula for asking questions:

"When I {dothing}, the program should {doresponsething}. But instead it {doesunexpectedthing}. I've tried {debuggingand_research}."

Here's an 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.'"

Asking good questions and describing problems clearly is an essential skill that you'll need both at Epicodus and on the job. You and your peers are your greatest resource at Epicodus.

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. The next step is to post the issue in your class questions channel. This way, other students can offer possible answers and assistance. This is also especially useful because students often run into the same problems and it becomes easier to crowd source a solution or find another student that has found an answer.

Getting Help from Teachers

As your developer skills grow, it becomes increasingly important for you to learn to find answers through your own research. For this reason, we have a specific format for asking teachers for help on Discord. This way, we can ensure that students have taken the time to try to solve the problem on their own and have also provided relevant information regarding the coding problems they are facing.

Staff Availability

Full Time Students: Your teachers will be available 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. Please do not message them unless your class is in session.

The Format for Getting Teacher Help on Discord:

Use this template to ask for help in 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} Issue: {A quick explanation of what the issue is and what your hypothesis is} Research: {A brief of what you have researched, either in the lessons or online} Code: {A liveshare link to your code}

Example question for teachers following the above suggested format.

Following this template will make it clear that you have:

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

  2. Reached out to other students, had them take a look at your code, and walked them through the issue.

As you progress through the program and start teaching yourself items covered in Further Exploration sections, we will expect you to reach out to more groups and do 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. However, it should not be used as a way to ask teachers for help.

Instead, it's important to post questions in the questions channel for your class. Doing so has the following advantages:

  • Other students may be able to help and collaborate.
  • Teachers don't check the DM channel as regularly.
  • Students can see what questions have already been asked. That way, the same questions aren't asked over and over.

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

Sending a Direct Message

Follow these steps to send a direct message:

  1. Click on a user's name which will bring up the user's info and a message window.
  2. Click on the Home button (the Discord logo in the top-left corner).
    • To message 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. Next, you will be able to add any users that you've added as friends on Discord.
      • To add a friend, go to the Home section and click on Friends. Click on the green Add Friend button and type in their Discord username, not their nickname. The username will always end with a # followed by four digits. Click Send Friend Request. Once the user approves the request, 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 receive a notification about your post. Tagging can be especially helpful when replying to other messages in your class text channels because the person being tagged will be notified immediately.

To tag a person, type @ followed by the user's screen name or nickname. There should be no spaces between the @ and the name. This is why we ask you to make your nickname your full name in Preparing to Work Remotely.

Cohorts and roles can be tagged as well. For example, @Instructor will notify all teachers. 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 need to discuss an issue that's not time-sensitive issue with staff, you can reach out via email. Epicodus staff emails are always the staff member's first name followed by @epicodus.com.

Lesson 7 of 12
Last updated October 12, 2020