Should there be some sort of 'reference' question section?

When I'm answering questions I don't usually like to just drop formulas without any sort of context for students, but deriving or explaining them on the spot is time-consuming, lengthy, and distracting from their actual question. When possible, I've instead linked to key questions which have the derivations, but oftentimes there either isn't one there or it doesn't convey what I wish to show.

As a solution to this, I've been wondering if some sort of reference section might work, that is, an area where Socratic members could post explanations or derivations which they would like to refer to during an answer. This would allow any member to explain as needed without overloading a single response or referring other students to potentially unrelated or distracting questions.

1 Answer
Dec 4, 2015

Answer:

Great question!

Explanation:

Socratic doesn't have a special 'reference question' section at this time, although it could be argued that having one could be very, very useful.

As you know, all the questions, both answered and unanswered, are being listed together in the subject topic pages.

These pages actually contain a lot of answers focused on deriving formulas. Here are a few great examples

http://socratic.org/questions/how-do-you-derive-the-law-of-cosines

socratic.org/questions/how-do-you-derive-the-multiple-angles-formula #-># this answer contains a derivation and a link to an outside source

socratic.org/questions/how-does-one-derive-the-midpoint-formula

socratic.org/questions/derive-the-formula-for-centripetal-acceleration

socratic.org/questions/how-do-you-derive-the-variance-of-a-gaussian-distribution

and so on.

Now, in terms of adding links to formula derivations to your answers, which I think is a great idea, you basically have two options

  • add a link to a Socratic answer that deals with that issue
  • add a link to an external source that deals with that issue

From a practical standpoint, it's clear that you won't always find the derivation you're looking for on Socratic. Assuming that you don't want to link to an outside source, the possibility of asking a question on that particular derivation and answering it yourself comes to mind.

If you want, you can ask a question on how a given formula is derived, then answer it with the actual derivation. That way you create a useful resource not only for you to use in your answers, but for other contributors to use as well.

You can read more on asking and answering your own questions here:

socratic.org/questions/is-it-ok-to-ask-a-question-and-then-answer-it-myself

So, to sum this up, a special section for derivations is something to keep in mind for the future. However, you don't have to wait for that to happen, you can start adding derivation questions/answers to their specific topic pages right now! :)