Dealing w/ Student Questions

birney at birney at
Sat Jan 29 15:43:50 EST 1994

Paul wrote:

>>Dr. Terry A. Viancour (BIOL) (viancour at wrote:
>>:   A better solution might be to establish tutorial newsgroups, e.g.
>>: bionet.tutorial.general, bionet.tutorial.neuroscience, etc.  Tutorial
>>: newsgroups might also encourage peer-to-peer interactions, since the
>>: students would know that they are posting to a group dedicated to
>>: teaching. 
>>  What a terrific idea.  Not just to solve a problem but to create
>>a resource for the students.  Maybe a way to encourage better science
>>education in this country.  Let's do it.
> So how many of "us" would subscribe to such a group so as to provide 
> answers for these students?  I.e., would this just be a "ghetto" where
> one *might* get an answer *if* a scientist with the aprropriate background
> was dedicated enough to subscribe?  As is, the questions are diluted over
> all the biologists on the net, so no one (presumably) is over-burdened with
> a need to respond.  I prefer the idea of the header STUDENT POST/(subject)
> so that they can be deleated straight out by those who can't be bothered.
> It seems to me that, once in a while, one of these "naive" questions might
> serve as the core of someone's research project, and as such it might
> be worth going through all the chaff for the occaisional kernal. 
> I raise these questions because I'm really not sure of the answers.  Maybe
> a .tutorial. group would be best.  But what if a student can't get an
> answer there?  Will the general group be moderated to keep them out?
> Paul
> schlosser at

These are both good ideas...but if you are going for the STUDENT POST 
header, how are you going to make sure that every student add such a header?
I'm just raising this on an issue of practicality...or could a newsgroup
bionet.tutorial.general be set up, and run like a news group except that
all the posts were cross-posted here with STUDENT POST added to the header
automatically. Would this work (...could some Net guru tell us...). Then
people could post to bionet.tutorial.general. and get answers from here.

If you extend this then you could have a moderator (some very kind soul) who
would screen the link from .tutorial. to  the approipiate newsgroup, 
not allowing posts the the .tutorial which were gripes about sixth grade
chemistry which were aimed at fellow-students rather than questions to

Could this work? Best of both worlds? I can understand people who get annoyed
about inane questions in the newsgroup, but we've also got to give access
to people who want answers to their questions. And which one of us _hasn't_
asked a stupid question?

my $0.02...or rather pence for me.


birney at

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