Reading Ralph’s post about going back to teaching reminded me of a time some years ago when I taught some AutoCAD evening classes at a technical college. As Ralph points out, students have a wide range of abilities. Although they were all supposed to have completed a prerequisite introductory Windows course, it became apparent that during that course at least some of them must have been absent in mind if not in body.
Here’s an example, where I was explaining to the class how it was possible to modify toolbars.
Steve: “Move your mouse pointer over any toolbar button and right-click on it.”
Student: “Nothing’s happening.”
Steve: “You should see a menu appear with the word Customize on it. When it appears, left-click on that word.”
Student: “There’s no menu on my computer.”
Steve: “Did you hover over a toolbar button and right-click on it?”
Student: “Yes, and nothing happens. Do I need to press Enter?”
Student: (Presses Enter anyway) “It says Unknown command.”
Steve: (Going over to see what’s going on) “Can you please show me what you’re doing?”
The student did so. I returned to the front of the class.
Steve: “If you haven’t already done so, hover the mouse pointer over any toolbar button, press down the right-hand mouse button and release it.”
The student had been hovering over the button and typing C-L-I-C-K. After all, I had told him to write “CLICK” on it.