Show open mentoring sessions to students

It happens quite often to me that I have a mentoring session, and the student is engaged, the conversation finds its natural end and I finish with something like “Let me know if I can help with something else.” But the student never finishes the discussion.

It’s kinda annoying having to go through pages of mentoring sessions to close them one by one, months after they’ve fizzled out.

But I’ve also noticed that as a student, it’s surprisingly difficult to even find out if there are open mentoring sessions. The dashboard doesn’t show anything. If you know the exact exercise, you can navigate there and it’ll show the open session. And somewhere you can see your mentoring “slots”, some of which may be occupied. But I can’t remember where it is, so it doesn’t seem to be very discoverable.

I think it would be beneficial to show open mentoring sessions to students on the dashboard, just like is the case currently for maintainers.

(It also happens somewhat frequently that I’ll put a lot of effort in an answer and the student doesn’t reply at all, but that’s a different problem.)


That part is directly on the track overview page. Here for example for C++.

You have to scroll down, so it is not that visible. I agree with you and would prefer to have it above the timeline

On the track page, we could probably add a box for “x/y mentoring slots in use” at the top right, that links down to the full mentoring slots UI? I don’t have huge appetite to reprioritise everything on the track dashboard page, but that might be a good middle ground?

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Students might be distracted by another track and forget to check for active mentoring sessions on tracks that they were previously interested in.

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Perhaps the Mentoring tab can be useful for non-mentors too. It could provide a one-stop place to show the student an overview of all their mentoring sessions across all tracks.

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FYI it’s also possible to programmatically close old discussions

I agree with this. Some central place for all mentoring sessions, independent of language track, would be nice in that case.

I like @glennj 's idea to put that in the mentoring tab, it would make sense there in my opinion.

Also a good spot in my opinion: a little section in the right side bar on the exercism dashboard, just like open mentoring session where I’m the mentor (bottom right in the screenshot).

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I really struggled with this in the past too.

I don’t like the idea of having the mentoring slots just on the track page - they should be in a more central place. My suggestion would be to use the mentoring tab also for this or have it somewhere visible on the main page (or even both?).

In the past I left mentoring requests initiated by me open for too long because I completely forgot I had opened them until I randomly saw them while navigating on some other page.


Students need to be made aware of their open mentoring sessions, and also it should very clearly be conveyed that it is their responsibility to close those sessions in a timely manner.

I support any proposed mechanism or procedure that will facilitate this.


Quite a few of students of mine have potentially forgone learning opportunities because they felt pressured to end sessions quickly. I’d rather not add to that pressure.


I respect your viewpoint.

We each of us see things in different ways.

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Define “timely manner”? Before they die? Some students are undergoing chemo therapy and will do them in a timely manner, if ever, and, in their definition of “timely”, they can. There is no requirement, and we should not be imposing one, since each student is responsible for their own progression, rather than the mentor being the responsible one to approve and thus end the discussion (though a mentor may also leave or end the discussion at any time, as students are also “not the boss” of them).

And if they are never closed, does it matter?

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FYI you can view your exercises filtered by mentoring_status=in_progress via the website or the API if anyone was looking for that.

I think there’s two seperate things here from the OP that are getting conflated into one discussion:

  1. A mentor wants to be able to bulk-close solutions.
  2. It’s impossible as a student to see site-wide mentoring sessions that are finished by a mentor and need to be finished by you.

(1) and (2) make sense to me and should both be addressed (as I already commented).

The discussion then seems to have derailed into a third (IMO unrelated point):
3. Students should sessions not be pressured into closing sessions they don’t want to.

I don’t see anyone anywhere saying that students should be pressured into closing sessions that the mentor considers still active. I see points that when mentors mark a session as finished, there is an expectation for a student to respond to this by finishing it their end too (which is part of the product design and desirable IMO). But I don’t see anyone suggesting that students should be pressured into closing sessions where the mentor feels they are still relevant, yet this seems to be something that is being argued against.

I think it’s entirely reasonable for a mentor to say “I’ll help with this solution and I expect it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks to get from start to finish” and equally some mentors might say “I’m willing to have a neverending queue in case they get cancer, need chemo and need 3 years to recover before replying”. I don’t see any reason at all to enforce either onto the other. If a mentor is done with the conversation they can end it, then a student should respond respectfully to that. If they don’t think the mentor has helped, they can say as much during the review process. And if the mentor wants to leave it open, that’s fine too - but no-one has suggested the student should then be rushed.

Let’s end this discussion here as I think points (1) and (2) are helpful, and (3) is taking us way off tangent. I won’t close it as I want to keep it as something to action, but I’d rather not continue this further.

Finally, I just want to call this out as a wonderful comment :slight_smile:

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Apologies for this unfortunate word choice of mine. I was probably thinking along the lines of «studenten ervaren druk om sessies snel af te sluiten», which nearly but not quite translates to «students feel pressured to end sessions quickly». I should have said that I have seen students be anxious to end sessions quickly because they fear they might be wasting my time or something. Like I said, I wouldn’t want to add to that. I did not mean to imply that anyone here is in favor of pressuring students. That anyone here would be seems really implausible to me, and I have seen no signs.


Just piggybacking on this thread:

Is there a page where I can view all the mentoring sessions I’ve received as a student? Thx!

Yes. You can see all your solutions with completed mentoring here and in progress mentoring here.

Got it! Thank you, Isaac!