Workshop Chat

During a workshop, communication is key. Joining a platform like Gather helps manage communicating with attendees and addressing their queries real-time using video feeds. However, some attendees may prefer not to interrupt a class or share their voice or video. In this case, having a chat mechanism is beneficial.

Gather, while it does provide a chat mechanism, isn't perfect. The chat disappears once the workshop ends, making it difficult for attendees to reference shared links or details from the conversation afterwards.

A recommended method for persistent chat during a workshop is the use of a live workshop channel where threads for individual workshops can be created. This channel should be restricted; only instructors should be allowed to create threads to maintain order and structure. Privacy isn't a prime concern here as attendees or anyone else can view the chat - they're not paying for the chat experience but for the workshop.

To create a thread, first give it a name - typically the date and the name of the workshop are used. Then, the link to this thread is copied and embedded in the calendar event guiding attendees to the right thread.

At the beginning of the workshop, kick start the thread by posting the repository link and other relevant instructions. This thread over time then serves as a place for attendees to introduce themselves, troubleshoot problems, share useful links, and much more.

A crucial part of the process is posting workshop exercises and asking attendees to react with a checkered flag emoji once they've finished each step. Although not all attendees might react, it's a good practice to move forward when a handful of attendees have completed the exercise. The role of the exercise isn't necessarily to solve the problem but understand it.

Once a satisfactory amount of attendees have finished the exercise, the instructor can then start explaining the solution on Gather, inviting questions. Most of the questions usually come on the thread.

This method of using threads during the workshop not only facilitates communication but also creates a permanent reference point for attendees. They can later access the thread to review shared links, details, and answers to questions.

However, remember, having the Discord chat tab doesn't serve the workshop's purpose as it mainly replicates the page. It doesn't allow attendees to send messages, and that's the main goal here.

In summary, using Discord chat during a workshop is preferred. It maintains a chronology, ensures participants don't miss out on any information, and allows the information to be referenced in the future.


[00:01] So, during workshops, communication with your attendees is obviously very important. We use Gather for managing, talking with people and answering their questions live with their video feeds and everything. And that works really well, but some people don't want to interrupt the class just to ask a question. Some people don't want to put themselves out in front of a bunch of other people with their video on or whatever. They don't wanna share their voice or something.

[00:30] So we need to have some chat mechanism. Gather actually has a chat mechanism but the problem with this is that that chat just goes away after the conversation or the workshop is done. They can't reference things and during a workshop you actually are sharing links all the time and things, so we need to have somewhere where people can go and reference it back later on. So during the workshop, what I recommend is using this live workshop channel, this channel where we can create threads for the individual workshops. Now when I'm not running a workshop, actually in general people who are not authorized can't send messages in here, they can't create threads themselves.

[01:21] So only instructors are allowed to create threads in here and so you can just go here, create a thread. We don't need to worry about making it private. I don't mind if somebody wants to just see what we're chatting about during a workshop. That's not a big deal. They're not really paying for that experience anyway.

[01:39] So you just, my format is to give it the date and the name of the workshop. And then you right click it and see copy link. And that's what you would put in the calendar event so people know which thread they're supposed to go to. Make sure that they understand that they need to join the Discord server beforehand. I am actually toying with the idea of changing the Discord server from KCD to Epic Web, but the point is people need to join this server for Epic Web workshops.

[02:10] And so you'll create a thread here, you'll start out with like, here's the repo and other instructions and stuff, and then you let people chat in here. And this is one of my later ones in the series of eight, so people were pretty well accustomed to how things were running. But if we go to the full stack foundations, this one, or actually no, we did the whole series in a single thread. So almost a thousand messages, that's eight workshops. But yeah, so I have people introduce themselves.

[02:45] We are troubleshooting and debugging. This is also really nice to have this for sharing like snippets of code and stuff that you need them to know about or whatever, sharing links and things. And then once we get down here, yep, so here I'm sharing like this is some snippet that might be useful to you. You will see right, yeah here it is, right here as we're doing the workshop exercises I will post right here give me a checkered flag when you've finished the step four of the exercise. So, and that was just like when you finish the exercise.

[03:25] So what I typically do is I'll come in here and I'll say, all right, Here's the intro, go through this with them a little bit, and then here's your objective, this is what we're doing. If you're building up to a final thing, then I might go to the solution of the last one and be like, once you're all done with the exercise, you should be here, and this is what it should look like. And then I tell them to stop at the elaboration step. And then I say, okay, go off on your own and then I'll post this and I'll say, give me a checkered flag when you finish this exercise. And you'll find that even if you have 60 people in there, only 11 people will give you the checkered flag.

[04:08] You don't wait until everybody's given the checkered flag. Don't do that. The objective of the exercise is just to say, now I understand the problem. That's the entire purpose for them doing the exercise, is to understand the problem, so that when you go through the solution, they will be able to follow what's going on and they'll understand what's going on. So yeah, you just say, here's the checkered flag, give me a reaction.

[04:34] I will actually give the reaction myself to kick it off so that people can just come here and click that so they don't have to like search for it in there. And then you wait for a reasonable amount of time. You make sure that there are at least a couple of people who have said that they've finished, and then you go back to your desk and gather and broadcast everybody. Okay, we're gonna come back together, everybody watch my screen, I'm gonna go through this exercise, feel free to ask questions. Most of the time the questions are going to come through here on the thread.

[05:06] That's just kind of the way that works. But sometimes they'll come up to your desk. So anyway, yeah you can see there's a lot of chat going on. Of course, again, this is eight workshops with a group that really got used to each other. So I don't expect you'll have quite this much chatter, but the cool thing is that, oh, here's Edmund, who is a library author that I invited to come and he answered questions and stuff too, which people really loved.

[05:33] So anyway, the point is, this is where we do chat. It works really well, really happy with this. And people can come in afterward and ask questions and they can reference links and different things like that. So it's helpful to have it in a place that they can make those references. Oh, also, you'll notice that we do have this chat tab right here.

[05:56] Unfortunately, I think I busted something, but this will not work for our purposes. And the reason for that is because this is actually just piping out basically this page. People can't actually go in and send messages and all of that stuff. They just see literally these links and those links will open up Discord. The reason for that is twofold.

[06:21] One, Discord doesn't actually have any APIs for users to authenticate and send messages via your app. They just, you cannot do that, cannot send messages. If you've seen something like that before, they're tricking it by actually making a bot that will send messages on the user's behalf. And so I don't like that, it's, yeah, not gonna work. And then the reason that this list doesn't actually open up the conversations is because people need to come over here anyway if they want to send any messages and so this will just link them to the Discord and then they can go through.

[07:00] So that's why we don't use this chat during the workshop, because it's not actually really a chat. Maybe one day it will be, that would be kind of nice, but another problem with that is chats can get lost, like if they're on a different exercise or something like that. So it is much better just to have a thread. So there you go. Discord chat during the workshop.

[07:22] See ya.