Site scope refinement: high level student problem

We have a question that has attracted a few close votes. I don't know all the voters' reasons for that, but one comment suggests one possibility:

Nothing about your question seems specific to CS. Could you rewrite it?

I think we have a chance here to choose where we draw the line. The subject of this site is two-fold: Computer Science, and Educators. An issue that relates to the classroom may not be purely a Computer Science problem. Likewise a Computer Science problem may not purely an Educators' issue. I'm thinking that if it impacts the classroom of a CS instructor, it's probably on-topic here, whether or not it could also apply to other classrooms. How to assign and grade group projects applies to a Creative Writing class where there is a group assignment, or to a Biology class where there are group lab experiments. How to deal with the problem might be different in a CS class than a Biology class, however.

For the question at hand, solutions can utilize CS-style objectives that are not available to other disciplines. Not that they have to use such tools, just that they can.

My view is that this question should be kept, and that other questions that are not restricted to CS issues, but that can be experienced in the CS classroom, should be kept.

Too broad is still an option, although I don't feel that it applies to this question.

• yikes. I never meant this to happen. I suppose there's no real harm. Actually it is good because it started a scope refinement in beta. (not that it was my intention, but a bright side in any situation) – ItamarG3 Jun 7 '17 at 5:51
• @ItamarGreen As we, the site, learn, so to do we, the users, learn. That's why discussion is the number one tag in our meta right now. – Gypsy Spellweaver Jun 7 '17 at 5:54
• Very true. And the answers do actually answer my question. I will wait a bit before accepting an answer, because I want to see what is the consensus regarding the question. – ItamarG3 Jun 7 '17 at 5:57
• @ItamarGreen Until it gets reopened you can't accept anyway. Have to wait for more people to vote to reopen. – Gypsy Spellweaver Jun 7 '17 at 5:58
• (So my waiting is inevitable) – ItamarG3 Jun 7 '17 at 5:59

I'll share my perspective, having just edited it and nominated it for re-opening. I do think the question has merit because it is addressing an important issue in any discipline: how to keep all students intellectually stimulated and challenged. Obviously, that phenomenon is not unique to CS; there are overachievers in any course who work faster and/or who get the material at a rapid pace for a variety of reasons.

I felt there was enough context for me to answer the question with a focus on computer science. While I do wish to know the language in order to (potentially) improve my answer with greater specificity, I don't think it's necessary for a good answer. Ultimately, the goal of any question is to get a well-structured, research, fact-driven answer. I do believe this question does make that kind of answer possible.

To distill it down to its essence, the question is asking about how we handle students who come into class knowing the material already. That's a precise situation that allows for teachers to share research and/or expertise. While I do believe it could be improved, I don't think it merits closing as of yet.

• Thank you. I have made the needed changes (with the great help from others) – ItamarG3 Jun 7 '17 at 5:55

As someone who cast a close vote on the question, I still believe that as it stands now, the question is not on topic for this site. This site is for computer science educators, and because of that, we should permit questions that include aspects of computer science and aspects of teaching. If we open the door to questions related only to teaching and not computer science, then it is similar to us opening the door to questions related only to computer science and not to teaching, which are clearly off topic here because they're on topic at computer science stack exchange.

Now that I've given the reason why that question should be closed, there is a fairly simply modification that would move it from being a question about teaching to being a question about teaching computer science:

What language is your course in? That might make a huge difference for how to provide additional challenges. – Peter

If the question references anything computer science specific, such as a language, a specific problem with teaching computer science to a student that is ahead of the curve, or anything else that will make it specific to computer science education rather than general education, then I believe that it would be on topic. That same change would also narrow the scope because, as you mention, it is a bit broad (but not too broad).

• I agree that we do need to keep the site content CS-related, and not accept any questions simply because it could happen in a CS class. This site is for CS educators. I'm also willing to grant benefit of the doubt to questions that seem to be appropriate. In this case the OP refers to labs and projects and the OP has asked several other CS related questions. That causes me to believe that OP is a CS instructor and the issue has occurred in the CS environment. Yes, knowing what level of class and which language(s) are used can help develop solutions, but are not required either. – Gypsy Spellweaver Jun 7 '17 at 2:33
• I'm not doubting the OPs intentions, but if the OP doesn't specify the subject, then we can't assume. Labs and projects exist in any science class, so they don't add specificity. I don't ask that the OP include anything super specific, just something that shows that it is a cs question. – thesecretmaster Jun 7 '17 at 2:46
• Agree with all points. Again, my apologies, and my gratitude for being lenient (I was unsure how to make it more cs specific, but this has given me a better view of the matter for future cases) – ItamarG3 Jun 7 '17 at 5:54

I was also pretty torn about the question in, erm, question. (hehhehheh) I think it has a lot of value, but I really wanted him to make a couple of tweaks that would make it fit the site better.

I'm not 100% sure where I stand on this, but I'm not that personally inclined to completely ban issues that could affect other subjects, because I feel like our context automatically flavors the kinds of answers and discussion we'll have here. While my answer, for instance, is somewhat generalizeable, it is still clearly a CS-y answer. Since I am also a music teacher, I can say with some authority that it would have been written quite differently if I were using the context of a choir or a music theory class.

What do others think?