Is a forum really the best platform for a learning community?

That's what I did. Someone asked me if I could help with electronics. It turned out to be arduino, something I'd never heard of. Luckily they started selling the nice Arduino Duemilanove soon after so I got myself one. I still have the board but the MCU has been replaced.

If you can offer some face-to-face help to someone, that would be great! Be a local go-to fellow for arduino questions, especially for those who have offices open to the public, such as universities, libraries, etc. You CAN make a difference! Help them formulate questions, tell them what you know, then point them to the forum.

I've helped 2 people face to face locally, one of whom is still a regular contributor on here, and it's a pleasure to be able to do so. It is both a good thing that this forum is international, as the help can for anywhere and from anywhere, and a bad thing as it's hardly ever possible to meet the people I help.


I have successfully done the same, unfortunately the pandemic slowed that down.

If there anyone in SE Melbourne suburbs, I’m happy to help out. Now vaccinated !

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Well, if you mean the original Melbourn near Derby in the UK then I'm about 20 miles from there, but if you mean the other place that took it's name... :laughing:

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I was being deliberately obtuse… check my profile, and you’ll see I’m a bit South East from you.


Ah. It also helps if the other learners ALSO have enthusiasm. That DOES come through in the forum. Usually, not matter how clueless the OP, they want to actually DO something, and the responders are out to help them do it.

I guess another thing missing is "homework", and or actual experimentation. One of the things I hated about EE (also physics and chem) labs (back in the day) was that they were all "do this thing and measure it", rather than "change factors and see what happens." Alas, one of the difficult parts of online help is evaluating results of homework/etc.

Has anyone experimented with online "classroom" tools (like "google classroom")? I'd think that theoretically there are free versions of tools similar to what coursea/etc use...

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Yes I agree, while at the university I wrote some Lab Scripts, as they were called, with that sort of angle to them. However, there was never much in the written report that showed evidence of that. One Script on active filters, I asked them to configure the filter as a notch filter and apply a square wave to it. Then sketch what they saw on an oscilloscope, people didn’t have mobile phones with cameras in those days, and say why it was that shape. I never even got one speculation as to the why of it after running it for several years.

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I think this is probably my first post on any forum - I just don't. The issue that I have with learning any new subject is that I don't know what I don't know... or something like that. What I've learnt from forums is that there are many things that I don't know in order to solve a problem. If my knowledge was adequate I wouldn't be surfing forums to find solutions to the problems I need to solve. In my opinion forums are great learning tools. People go on forums to ask questions about what they don't know. In following a thread you can most of the time manage to see how the solution to a problem evolves. What a great way to learn without virtually ever having to ask a question.


Watched this topic for a while and came to the conclusion the OP must be lost.

Lets face it they posted in a "FORUM" which was the biggest clue !

As many have pointed out and as is often confirmed in education itself.
There are multiple approaches to learning and age groups also play a major part in that.

Best I can say is " There is NO one size fits all ", and the sooner the OP realises that the better the educator they will become.
Having grown up with BBS etc. my own position is that a "FORUM" fits a lot of needs.
Arduino has a variety of Q&A frontages most of which are always very busy and of which including the social media aspects cover a lot of ground.
Social media has its roots in forum so it can certainly be included.

"You pay your money you take your choice"


Well, of course the student plays a role here and these may have different levels of motivation, also dependent on the culture they are brought up in, their interest, their striving for success, readiness to learn etc. Some students want to learn and are eager to progress. Others are there only because some state backed unemployment reduction initiative has artificially created vacancies in some courses. So, lets face it, some students will never really progress, irrespective of the teaching format.
However, the educational establishment also has a role in making the subject matter interesting, relevant and useful to the student.
Many years ago, I studied a computer science degree at a polytechnic in the north of England. This polytechnic was formed out of a merger of various technical colleges. One of these technical college lecturers was on the verge of retirement and did not want to adapt to the various changes in technology. Anyway, to cut a long story short, there was module on our course on ferrite bead memory systems. This was, incidentally, at a time when 4kbit DRAM memory chips were commercially available. In other words, what we were learning was clearly f**king useless. Sometime later, incidentally, it was whispered to us that there would be no exam questions on this particular course module.
However, the situation, in the meantime, has got even worse. Students, who set out to study a degree etc. on a technical (STEM) subject have now to endure all sorts of additional course modules which have no direct relevance to their chosen discipline. This is the nature of an academic establishment. People who pursue a specific political agenda can inveigle their way into a situation where they can define academic syllabuses and the result is that, for instance, a pure technical curriculum can be padded out with all sorts of sh*t like Diversity Studies and other stuff of use to neither man nor beast. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that these "extra curricular study areas" have no place. I'm simply saying that it is wrong to encumber technical academic study courses with this non-vocational clap trap.
If you don't accept that, have a look at the fate of Boeing Aerospace and the MAX story to understand what happens when technical excellence is compromised by non-technical considerations.


@6v6gt Thanks for sharing! This thread has apparently evolved over the course of a couple of days into something the people who write the first half of the posts didn't expect and hopefully will continue to do so!

I've been in academia forever, "one and half of a life time" worth. I've seen some of the good, the bad, and the ugly in this very essential business of churning out productive individuals for the society at a large scale. I wish I could find you a "programming board" photo but maybe next time I visit the stock room. It's a board with holes forming a matrix and numerous wires jumping from one hole to another. The whole thing was more wire than board and it comes with a metal frame and handle. It was literally a program code for a computer, interconnecting tubes or semiconductor transistors I suppose. It perches over the top shelf in our stock room. That's what I see in some parts of the academia, really old but in high places and not going anywhere. This goes with BOTH PEOPLE AND CONTENT!

When I teach survey of electronics (3xx level) to non-ECE students, I drop much of the amplifier aspect of MOSFETs and keep the "electronics switch" aspect. I drop 74XX logic gate ICs in labs. I also drop much of sequential logic that I have no time to cover in a single semester survey. But I never drop opamps or common-emitter amplifier circuits. They are fun to play with in the lab and provide enough challenge in theory. I show them some more recent stuff such as arduino and sensors. The rest is up to them.

About the non-tech stuff in a degree, that's the superficial difference between a liberal education and one that I received, only degree-specific requirements, a little bit of electives we can pick, and a lot of propaganda. In the belly of the beast that's called liberal education though, you see the ugly truth that certain requirements of diversity and gen. ed. courses were spoils of wars hard fought and won by those respective departments and faculty so there will always be filled courses to partly justify their existence. It's a balancing act to maintain a degree program, to keep what's necessary for the technical education on the book and what must be there for lib. ed. requirement. If we add one course that we thought would be good for our grads, what we must drop and what double counting can we do on lib ed to get students through it faster.

I want to end my response by saying that a good liberal education DOES benefit the student's life. I wonder if I had music education, you know, more than just singing classes in grade schools, I might play an instrument well and enjoy music for my life time. And without a wide range of exposure to different things, one would not know if they actually want to know more about something they yet do not know. I remember taking an elective on intellectual properties. The professor mentioned that the USA has plant patents, obviously without knowing the why himself. It only take me living in the US of A so long to finally figure it out. :wink:

One of the reasons that I read as much of the Arduino forums as I do is that as a sort-of wanna-be arm-chair "educator", I find it VERY interesting to watch the things that newbies have trouble with.


Lest we forget

There are definitely personality types that are not well suited to analysis, problem solving and the abstract thinking which are needed for code development.

It’s not a criticism, just that different people may be inclined to different roles.

Documentation, enclosure or packaging design. There are many activities - all have different overlapping skill sets.

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Is a forum the best platform for this Arduino learning community or is there anything better instead of a forum?

Stepping back a little..... It appears your leading statement makes as assumption I am not willing to make. Your words "...this Arduino learning community....".

This is not Arduino 101.

This is a fourm, defn: "a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged"

As it turns out many of the ideas presented here are in response to questions. Often by folks just learning. I can only speak for myself but I enjoy helping people. Sometimes it takes a number of posts and questions. And if I feel the OP is serious and trying I will continue to help. If I feel the OP is arrogant, not serious or trying to get the forum folks to do their homework I simply don't respond or perhaps response once then ignore the topic.
I have no interest in attempting to keep the posters "engaged". I will help motivated posters but others I just ignore.


Yes, the forum does serve as information exchange but primarily it gets the people who need help to those who can help them. It's not necessarily a community where people regularly engage in teaching and learning about Arduino. That could be a different thing. Being a physics teacher, I have own agenda though, such as stealing students from engineering degrees, and encouraging people to learn about things they don't have interest in, such as physics. If you're only interested in interacting with those ready-to-go ones, that's already big help here. I am happy if I can help some get to the ready-to-go state from the not-ready state as well as getting the content across.

Good luck with that :slight_smile: It sounds similar to me trying to teach my cat to fetch a stick.

I probably should add; I was lucky I knew I wanted to be an electronics engineer before grade school.


There is a certain level of ‘shortness’, and I’m certainly guilty on occasion…

Some posters (both newbies and those who should know better) are simply unable or don’t want to put the work in to address their requirements.

There should be a new section created for target shooting, these deadwood threads could be moved there for our combined entertainment.


there is a corollary to this - instructors who don't remember what they did not know when they got interested in a subject. they just behave as if everybody knows "basic things" that are in fact obscure knowledge.

if the entire class gets the puzzled look on their face at the same time, you just said something you have known for years, and you assumed they were taught in an earlier part of the course.

if this is the case, teach them the thing they missed, then go to the instructors who teach the earlier part of the course and teach them.


I wish it would be that easy, in my case, but it's not. We don't have cohorts. Every student has their own backgrounds so you can't assume a lot even if you know they should know algebra for instance. This is because someone could have learned their algebra a century ago and that still counts. Then there are others who got their algebra from certain community colleges that aren't particularly famous for having high standards. The upper-division students are better because they take similar courses due to the limited offerings of upper-division courses and students tend to aggregate into classes on their own accords.

This is indeed true. I studied mechanical engineering a little over 1/3 of a century ago. There are a lot of things that I studied that I've filed somewhere in a back drawer. As I said, for me a forum is a great place to find what I don't know (or just forgot...). In that sense it's a great learning tool.
I don't think a forum is a great teaching tool for a lot of reasons as mentioned by many previously. When I look at some answers provided to some of the questions I ask myself how on earth is that possible that someone asks a question and the response is just "rude" or something in the line of - you want us to provide the code without any input from your side. Another answer that I have to mention is - "do you speak to your friends like that". I mean, what the heck, the poor guy explained that he's not fluent in english which was obvious when he replied "what do you mean by that?"
Everybody has a different reason for being on a forum - some want to teach/help/ show that they're superior and some just want an easy way out not to put in the effort required to submit an assignment. There are plenty of others reasons. A forum is a place where you go to find guidelines to solve a problem. If you only expect the solution I think your expectations are too high. On the other hand it seems that there are people who want to use a forum as a teaching tool. You know nothing about the person on the other side of the keyboard. The only thing that's known about him is the question he asks ( unless he spends a lot of time in the forum community ). After a few interactions it becomes clear what his real reason is for posting a question. In some sense I thoroughly understand that people get aggravated when it's clear that their input and time goes to waste.
After all, we're all just humans (or maybe not).

To conclude, I learn a lot on forums and therefore I'll vote for Forums as a great learning tool. As a teaching tool, if there's not one on one interaction, I don't think so.

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