This summer I'm lucky to have an undergrad extending some work I did for my thesis.
The stuff I work on requires you to use complicated software, as well as strong familiarity with Linux commands. However, these have nothing to do with the work itself; it's just the "scaffolding" needed for us to do our actual research.
Since the start of the summer term, I've been encouraging this student to ask for my help they encounter difficulty with these "unrelated" aspects of the work. However, I'm wondering if this is actually counterproductive?
Here's the theory: though more frustrating for them, would it be better to force the student to "figure it out"? These are useful skills, after all, and maybe this will make their work more productive in the long run?
In other words, I have two opposite choices:
- Trying to reduce the student's time spent on fiddling with Linux commands and our development software (at the cost of of my own time)
- Forcing the student to become more familiar with these tools (but potentially running out of time)
What is the "accepted wisdom" in this situation?