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I'm young undergraduate kid who just stepped into the big world of computer science. I've had experience working as a developer at a companies and really liked it, and I decided that if I wanted to pursue Computer science seriously, that I should pursue an undergraduate degree in computer science.

A few quarters later, I'm utterly frustrated with how TAs and professors answer student questions regarding homework as vaguely as possible. For instance, a common pattern is "I don't understand how policy XYZ works in contexts A, B and C" is usually met with "It says XYZ in the assignment sheet." However, it seems that all the CS classes offered at my university follow this bizarre procedure of just telling the student to just read the assignment sheet.

The reason I'm so dumbfounded is because when I was working as a developer, questions like these were applauded and were answered with enthusiasm. In my other subjects, the same enthusiasm occurs. It just seems that computer science academia has this strange standard unique to all others.

Perhaps it's a product of how competitive it is, perhaps the professors and TAs just don't have time for thousands of student questions that have "obvious" answers. But I have to ask, are the majority computer science courses at other universities like this as well?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Thomas, Azor Ahai, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, St. Inkbug, Bryan Krause Nov 19 '18 at 21:48

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I don't understand your example/pattern. Can you elaborate? More explicitly, I don't get "policy XYZ". Grading policy? Something else? – Buffy Nov 19 '18 at 20:42
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    Also, the question is subject to closure since you only have a yes-no question. The answer would logically be no, but that won't help you. What do you really need from the community here? Say more. – Buffy Nov 19 '18 at 20:46
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    I don't understand your question. "It says XYZ in the assignment sheet." could be a very reasonable answer. – Thomas Nov 19 '18 at 21:14
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    I've been advising CS teachers for years (in person and in print) to give complete feedback. I think you are in an anomalous situation but can't put my finger on why with just the information you've given. It now reads like a rant and not a question. – Buffy Nov 19 '18 at 21:17
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    Incredibly common trope. Not restricted to CS. See the following (q.v., "This message brought to you by every instructor who ever lived"): phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1583 – Daniel R. Collins Nov 19 '18 at 22:19
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I don't really understand your question. However, I think there is something wrong with your premise:

However, it seems that all the CS classes offered at my university follow this bizarre procedure of just telling the student to just read the assignment sheet.

This is not a bizarre procedure. It is entirely reasonable to expect students to read the assignment sheet.

Of course, you can and should ask questions when the assignment is unclear or there is an error in it. However, it sounds like the TAs don't think that is the case and they think you should just re-read it and think carefully.

Also the TAs cannot tell you the answers to your assignment. Perhaps the questions you are asking are effectively asking for the answers. If that is the case, then it is correct for the TAs to deflect back to the assignment sheet.

when I was working as a developer, questions like these were applauded and were answered with enthusiasm.

When you were working as a developer, everyone is working together to solve the problem. A course is a different situation. TAs presumably know the answers, but they aren't going to give them to you. They are there to help you figure it out yourself.

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