Students are not digital natives. They may often be online, but this does not mean that they are particularly savvy about how to learn or work with new software-- particularly more complex software such as SPSS. One of the quirky things I've noticed that is that in some cases, when students are working in SPSS, the output window or the syntax window automatically "hides." This behavior is fine when we want to do a bunch of things before viewing the output; it's more problematic for students who are learning the program for the first time. It can get confusing to see what's happened to one or another SPSS window. To change the behavior, for example to have the SPSS output window pop up after running an analysis, do the following:
  • Select Edit->Options 
  • in the General Tab, look in the lower-right-hand, "Notification" area; you should see a checkbox for "Raise Viewer Window". Make sure that it's selected. 
See here and here for additional tips and tricks.