Course expectations

When you are part of the SmartBots class you need to know the rules so we all get on well.

The SmartBots class is a bit like your regular classroom so most of the rules you would already be used to. Everyone is expected to behave in a sensible way and be aware of other people’s feelings.

1. Be sensible online

SmartBots is a classroom, it just happens to be a virtual one. You are expected to work and learn and be aware of the rights of others to learn. If you are stuck you can ask your team mentor, or another adult at your school, or ask me by sending an email. Because I am not online all the time you may need to wait a day or so for the reply but it will come.

2. Avoid hurting someone’s feelings, especially with email

Sometimes, and particularly when you’re online, people can’t tell that you are joking. When you write an email message, make sure the person you’re sending it to will know whether you are happy, sad, angry, joking, etc. You can do this by using smileys, such as 🙂

When people read the email they are using up their computer time, so make sure their time is not wasted. Sending emails to everyone that they may not wish to read is called spamming. It is a nuisance and is not an acceptable use of SmartBots time. An email that, for example, just says “Hi, email me back” is spam and is not allowed. If you ever get an unacceptable email, forward it to me and I will discuss it with the sender. In some cases silly emails could result in a SmartBots account being cancelled.

3. Be polite

Remember that discussions and chats work best when we have lots of people sharing their opinions, if you disagree with someone that’s fine but do it politely. If you give reasons for what you say people will understand your thoughts better.

4. When visiting websites outside the SmartBots classroom…

If you are directed to a website as part of the activities in SmartBots, never give out any information about yourself like your email address or name. I do check websites to see that they are suitable but the internet changes rapidly, if you ever come across something that bothers you, and you know it is inappropriate, close the page, then email me and tell me straight away.

5. Post to your team journal regularly

A major part of participation in SmartBots is your team journal. This is where you share what you’ve been doing and any problems you’ve had. Sometimes I’ll ask you to include something specific in your journal, but in general, I’d like you to include…

  1. what you did in SmartBots this week
  2. what problems you had and how you fixed them
  3. what you learned
  4. what you plan to do next time.

It’s important that you keep your journal up-to-date, so if you’re doing SmartBots on a weekly basis, then I expect one journal post per team, per week.

Although you’re doing your journal posts as a team, only one person is going to be doing the typing each week – make sure you take turns!

For more information about how to post your journal entries, see How to post a new journal entry.

6. Make every comment a quality comment!

One reason we’re using a blog format for SmartBots this year is to make it easier to share your progress with other teams. Your welcome to leave comments about each other’s work, but remember to keep it positive and keep it constructive.

Here are some typical features of a quality comment…

  • Write well – e.g. spelling, capitalisation, write in sentences
  • Remember who is reading – put yourself in their shoes
  • Add factual information – e.g. you can do better than “This is coolllll!!!!”
  • Be specific
  • Don’t repeat yourself
  • Give a compliment- e.g. what in particular did you like about the post
  • Ask relevant questions

Here are some students talking about quality comments… (see this page for more tips)

7. No students’ faces!

Since 2014, the SmartBots blog has been open to the public. That means that not only will your posts and comments be visible to the outside world, but also your photos.

To be on the safe side, only post photos of your robots – no students’ faces in photos please!


(The first part of this list was based on Wendy Fletcher’s Ad Astra course expectations)