[TOS] IRC for a class or not

Gina Likins glikins at redhat.com
Wed Jan 17 17:29:43 UTC 2018

Late to discussion, but:

On Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 11:54 AM, Joanna Klukowska <joannakl at cs.nyu.edu>

> Thanks to everybody who responded on the list and off the list.
> I am going to introduce students to IRC and get them to practice.
> We'll see if they choose to use it on their own or if they default to the
> more familiar tools for the communication.

​One thing I've found... idiosyncratic... about IRC is the logging.  If
there's some way for you to ensure that the channel they're using is
auto-logged to (for example) an internal web page (there are probably bots
that do that?) it would help make their experience with IRC less odd, I

(To put it more bluntly: one of the things that I don't like about IRC is
that if your connection drops you lose the conversation and there's no way
to read backwards and see what you missed. Having a web archive would fix
that, I think.  Developers who I work with solve for this in a number of
ways, with the most common seeming to be using some sort of "keep alive"
daemon [maybe wrong word] to ensure that their connection is "always on")

> I was looking for some active channels to show that "real" developers
> actually use it and I found that gcc channel is very active (well, at least
> today): irc.oftc.net/#gcc

​If you are on mozilla's network, all of the Rust channels are friendly:



> Joanna
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Joanna Klukowska, PhD
> Clinical Assistant Professor
> Department of Computer Science
> Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU
> Warren Weaver Hall, Room 423
> joannakl at cs.nyu.edu
> http://cs.nyu.edu/~joannakl/
> Office hours (Spring 2018):
> Monday 9:30am-11:00am, Thursday 1:30pm-3:00pm
> ----------------------------------------------------
> On 01/10/2018 08:19 PM, Heidi Ellis wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Susan has done a great job summarizing IRC pros and cons. I thought I'd
>> share how I use it.
>> I have an IRC channel open continually for students and hold IRC office
>> hours two hours per week. This allows me to hold office hours in the
>> evening when more students are around. It also allows me to be more
>> available to students while I'm not in my office.
>> I use one of a couple of in-class exercises to get students used to IRC.
>> In one, I show my IRC channel on the projector and ask all students to log
>> in. I will then ask students a question on IRC in which they are vested
>> (what should the late policy be for the course) and require that all
>> conversation be on IRC. I have also done this at the end of class and
>> dismiss the class via IRC. Those students who aren't paying attention will
>> sit there looking at you while the others get up and leave. Causes them to
>> pay attention to IRC.
>> Another exercise I use is to have students pair up and find out five
>> facts about the other person without talking. Pretty much any problem
>> solving that doesn't require creating graphs or pictures is good fodder for
>> an IRC activity. You can then repeat the exercise by combining pairs.
>> When I'm involved in an HFOSS course and am lucky enough to have class at
>> the same time that the HFOSS community had their weekly meeting. I
>> displayed the IRC channel on the projector while we participated in the
>> meeting as well. This allowed us to ask questions of the community while we
>> were in class.  At the beginning, I explained (verbally) what was happening
>> on the IRC channel but after the first couple of meetings, we were silent.
>> We didn't do this every class, but on an as-needed basis.
>> In either case, the activity forces them to get used to IRC. I have
>> observed that a few students figure out that you're available on IRC and
>> will ask more questions than I expect if they had to approach me in my
>> office. They also ask more questions in the evenings. I have also observed
>> that some of the quietest students in the class will be more "vocal" on IRC.
>> Just my 2 cents.
>> Heidi
>> On 01/09/2018 02:21 PM, Susan E. Sons wrote:
>>> I use IRC regularly for teaching/mentoring sessions and it can work well
>>> for many audiences.  I'm not a professor, but some of my mentees are in
>>> that age cohort.
>>> IRC Pros:
>>> Extremely handicap accessible.  Smooth, predictable behavior with screen
>>> readers for the blind, and a variety of client options for users with
>>> visual or auditory impairments or other concerns.
>>> Extremely accessible in the general sense: IRC is free to use, with low
>>> bandwidth requirements, and there are clients available for free for
>>> nearly every operating system on the planet.  The system requirements
>>> are a fraction of those for browser-based chat services.
>>> Logging provides built-in, searchable reference material.
>>> No distracting animated gif inserts and the like as in browser-based
>>> chat services.  IRC is strictly text based, and clients can even strip
>>> obnoxious colors and blink tags from text (many do by default).
>>> Once students adapt to IRC-based discussions, they tend to be more
>>> attentive because it's easier to multitask or task switch without
>>> missing important context, compared to e.g. Slack or an audio or video
>>> stream.
>>> IRC Cons:
>>> One must install software to use IRC (there are web gateways, but they
>>> are prone to abuse and have connectivity issues).
>>> One must learn a few text commands to use IRC effectively.  It's not
>>> that hard, but there are some younger non-technical folks who balk at
>>> not being able to click everything.
>>> IRC doesn't provide screen share or video capabilities, which can be
>>> helpful for some types of teaching.  (I've used Crowdcast with great
>>> success here.  It's proprietary, but very open from an interface
>>> perspective and the support is great.)
>>> My two cents. :)
>>> Susan
>>> On 01/09/2018 01:25 PM, Joanna Klukowska wrote:
>>>> I will be teaching an Open Source Software Development class this
>>>> spring. I usually use Piazza for class discussions and most
>>>> communications. But for an open source course, I feel like IRC might be
>>>> more appropriate. Except I am not sure how a bunch of college kids will
>>>> handle IRC.
>>>> Does anybody have any experience in using IRC for a course as a single
>>>> communication tool with students?
>>>> Any feedback would be very appreciated!
>>>> Best,
>>>> Joanna
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> tos mailing list
>>> tos at teachingopensource.org
>>> http://lists.teachingopensource.org/mailman/listinfo/tos
>>> TOS website:http://teachingopensource.org/
>> _______________________________________________
>> tos mailing list
>> tos at teachingopensource.org
>> http://lists.teachingopensource.org/mailman/listinfo/tos
>> TOS website: http://teachingopensource.org/
>> _______________________________________________
> tos mailing list
> tos at teachingopensource.org
> http://lists.teachingopensource.org/mailman/listinfo/tos
> TOS website: http://teachingopensource.org/

*Gina Likins *
University Outreach, Open Source and Standards
Red Hat
100 E. Davie St.; Raleigh, NC 27601
glikins at redhat.com
(919)890-8322 <(919)%20890-8322> or internally 48322
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.teachingopensource.org/pipermail/tos/attachments/20180117/fafc1d51/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the tos mailing list