[TOS] IRC for a class or not
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 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
> Office hours (Spring 2018):
> Monday 9:30am-11:00am, Thursday 1:30pm-3:00pm
> On 01/10/2018 08:19 PM, Heidi Ellis wrote:
>> 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.
>> 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
>>> 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. :)
>>> 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!
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*Gina Likins *
University Outreach, Open Source and Standards
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