Using Online Homework Help Forums
The internet provides a huge range of new sources of information, and ways for people to interact. Forums and message boards are amongst those new methods, and they are potentially very useful when it comes to doing homework.
Online forums can provide easy access to help and support. But you should make sure you know how these forums operate in order to get the most out of them.
Are forums trustworthy?Many people are distrustful of online forums. This is often because they do not know the identity of the person answering their questions or providing the information. Some users, therefore, are understandably worried that the advice they receive may not be accurate.
You should make sure that you understand this risk, and judge the information you receive on forums accordingly. It is worth remembering that the vast majority of people on these sites would never knowingly be misleading – but they might inadvertently answer questions incorrectly.
How should I approach the forums?Online forums are like any other community; some are very welcoming, while others are less so. Either way, a simple introduction rarely goes amiss. There will often be a separate board dedicated to introductions, where you can say hello, meet the other forum members, and tell everyone a bit about yourself. It is deemed good etiquette to do this before diving in and asking a question.
You should then make sure that you understand how the forum operates. Different forums have their own systems, so there might be a dedicated board for each subject, or each age group, and so on. Make sure that you post on the right board, otherwise your question is likely to be ignored.
Remember that forums are populated not by paid workers, but by volunteers giving their own time to help others. These forums are only possible because people give advice as well as receive it. So try to take some time to answer other people’s questions or queries if you are qualified to do so. This will help the forum continue to run, and will also make people more likely to help you out when you need it.
What about plagiarism?Sadly, online homework forums do sometimes attract less scrupulous individuals. There is a large and growing market for pro forma essays – basically, pieces of work that are produced by professional writers, and then sold on for use by students.
Of course, if you were to use one of these pieces of writing as, for example, a coursework submission, it would be rejected. Teachers are pretty good at recognising when a writing style is radically different from your own, so the risk of detection is high. Furthermore, automated plagiarism checkers (which are now commonplace in many colleges and universities) will tend to flag these up, as the producers often churn out large numbers of them. Make sure that you are aware of this problem, and that you steer clear of these products.
Are there forums for parents?If you are a parent who wants to help your child with their homework, there are a few dedicated forums that might be of interest to you. These tend to focus on general tips and hints for things like study skills or motivation, rather than on specific areas of individual subjects.
Many parents find that online forums are a good way to swap information, or just to find a bit of moral support when coursework lethargy sets in!
Online homework forums have provided valuable help for thousands of students struggling with their studies. They can be a great way to boost your skills, and meet people in similar situations. But it is important to remember that the information you receive on forums may not necessarily be accurate – so think carefully before using it. Above all, in order to stay safe, never to give out identifying information like a phone number on an online forum.