EdStem is a good way to discuss and ask questions about the course materials, including assignments, in a public forum. It enables you to learn from the questions of others, and to avoid asking questions that have already been asked and answered. It is also the primary place for course personnel to make announcements and clarifications about assignments and other course-related topics.
Students are expected to read the pinned posts on EdStem at least once a day.
You will be sent an invitation to your UW email address. It will include a link to a web page where you may complete the enrolment process.
After you’ve finished the sign-up process, simply go to https://us.edstem.org/dashboard. You’ll probably want to bookmark this in your browser.
By default, EdStem emails you when there are new topics and posts. This can get overwhelming when the class is busy. Fortunately, EdStem allows you to configure how frequently you get emails:
“Smart Digest” is a good choice for most people.
It is wise to leave the “For updates to Questions or Notes you follow” to “Real Time” unless you check EdStem more frequently than you check your email.
Please remember that by default everything you post is public - everyone enrolled in CS 135 will be reading it. As a result, in any posts you make, do not give away any details on how to do any of the assignments. This could be construed as cheating, and you will be responsible as the poster.
If you have questions about an assignment that require you give specific details of your solution, you may still post to EdStem, but check This is a private post - only visible to class instructors (and ISAs!). If the instructors and/or ISAs feels that posting it to everyone is appropriate, he or she will do so. More details below.
Keep posts related to the course, concise, and topical. As students are all expected to read EdStem on a regular basis, try not to waste the time of readers.
Please be diligent about attempting to find the answer before you post a question. EdStem includes excellent search facilities – use them! Scan all of the questions that have already been asked. Better yet, read them along with the answers. You’ll learn lots!
This avoids duplicate questions, which are frustrating to everyone. It’s more work to answer two questions than to answer one, there may be conflicting advice, students need to sift through more entries to find what they need, etc. Please do all you can to avoid duplicates.
Make it easy for other students to find your question – just in case they have the same question and want to see the answer!
Please don’t post things to the group that provide no useful information to readers. Posts like “I have the same question as this one just posted”, or “I agree with this comment” serve no useful purpose, and waste people’s time.
Keep complaints about the course out of EdStem or mark them with the This is a private post - only visible to class instructors checkbox. If you have a concern about anything to do with the course, the best way to deal with it, and to get results, is to take it to an ISA or the professor. EdStem is not a complaint forum.
Here are some guidelines about what is okay and what is not for public posts on EdStem. It is not an exhaustive list, but should give you a sense of what we are looking for.
If something is not appropriate to ask in a public post then you make ask it in a private post, or use our 1-1 office hours.
Once in a while a private post is okay to be public, and would be helpful for other students to see. In that case we may request to make the post public.
General lecture questions
Problems you make up to test your understanding
Clarifications on ambiguities or errors in the assignments
Questions about design recipe and style
Issues you are having with the technology of the course (Teams, DrRacket, etc)
Practice (not required) stepper problems on assignments
Questions about error messages
Questions about how the course is set up
The rule of thumb: if it could be submitted for marks, you should not discuss it in a public post (but you may make a private post).
Assignment questions that reveal answers
Questions asking us to mark assignments before they are handed in
Required stepper questions
Bonus questions (we do not discuss them at all)
After the deadline for these has passed (for assignments: once the solutions have been released) then you may discuss them. But note that people who join the course late still have the opportunity to do the self-check questions.
There is an irritating fuzzy line where people ask about general concepts that are closely related to assignment questions. To be on the safe side you may want to make them private posts or discuss them in office hours.
If the spirit behind your question is “how do I solve this assignment problem?” then you are headed for the danger zone. Turn back!