From Fedora Project Wiki

The aim of the Fedora Classroom sessions is to enable community members to spread the vast body of knowledge that we collectively hold. Not only does this benefit users, it enables them to pick up skills that increases the likelihood of them contributing back to the community. In the Fedora 29 release cycle, we tried to schedule live sessions in line with the release schedule. We encountered quite a few issues, and so I put forward this new proposal hoping that we can come up with a better system.

This is a draft. Please use the discussion page to suggest more points/pros/cons. Once we feel we have a complete picture, we will discuss it with the community and possibly put it to a vote at a meeting.

Issues encountered with live sessions

  • Scheduling issues:
    • It took quite a bit of organisational effort to set up the schedule. This is especially hard because instructors need to find time to do the session live.
    • These live sessions are limited to a particular timezone. People in other time zones must rely on recordings.
    • These also require us to schedule magazine posts in advance, which requires extra labour on our part, an on the magazine editors parts too.
  • Technical issues
    • We have been unable to find a live streaming service that fulfils our requirements.
    • Often, this requires us to debug issues live, which is annoying for the audience, and tends to usually elongate the session.
      • BlueJeans:
        • is not accessible to everyone.
        • we do not know yet know what load BlueJeans can handle.
      • Jitsi:
        • Cannot handle load.
        • Streaming quality is generally poor.
        • Screen sharing capabilities are quite limited.
        • Jitsi + live streaming on Youtube was tried, but it doesn't work well if the Jitsi side gets stuck.
        • It also means that questions are asked in a different place (Youtube chat) than where the instructor is teaching the session (Jitsi).
        • The Youtube chat widget closes as soon as the stream finishes, so the stream must be kept open for the full Q&A session.
    • In either case, the recording cannot later be edited easily to include extra information or information that may have been missed by the instructor during the session.
    • We rely on the streaming tools streaming quality for these recordings.
    • Other streaming tools that we have been suggested are usually not FOSS, and so we'd prefer not to use them.
  • Other issues:
    • After the session, the magazine post must be edited to include the recording and material link. This can only be done by an editor.
    • We spend so much time and effort on these tasks, that we do not have the time to:
      • take on more sessions
      • improve the sessions, for example, by providing translated subtitles for the recordings.
    • We do not currently have a channel where people can ask follow up questions after the sessions are over.
    • While teaching live provides a connection between the instructor and the audience, it takes more effort and planning on part of the instructor. Many people, that are not used to teaching also do not therefore participate in this system.

Proposal: offline sessions

So, I propose that we do not do sessions online at all. Instead, we model our system on the many online learning platforms that are now available (EdX, Coursera):

  • clearly document how to record a teaching session
    • we can set up a page detailing the use of a FOSS screen casting tool
    • we can document how subtitles are written using a FOSS tool, and request multi-lingual attendees to submit translations.
  • request individuals in the community to submit such teaching sessions throughout the release period.
    • We can choose to publicise them from time to time if that is necessary.
  • maintain a library of these "teaching materials" once they are uploaded to our Youtube channel.
    • We can maintain a well organised repository of the related teaching material (on Pagure?)
  • maintain a category on discussion.fp.o (or the new AskFedora instance that is in the works) for questions related to these sessions
    • each session can have its own thread/topic
    • everyone in the community can help answer these questions.

Pros of new system

  • We remove a large majority of the scheduling issues.
    • We no longer have to spend energy drafting a weekly schedule
    • Instructors no longer have to find time to do live sessions.
    • Sessions are no longer limited to a time zone.
    • Magazine posts will now require a much relaxed schedule, and possibly fewer posts if we bundle multiple sessions into posts every few weeks.
  • We completely remove the technical issues.
    • No more streaming issues.
    • No more issues with live Q&A.
    • No more sacrificing recording quality.
    • No more live debugging.
    • No more session delays and elongations.
  • We already upload recordings and material. Now we simply have more time to do them better.
    • We upload recordings and material all at once.
    • We provide subtitles with translations, so these can be used globally.
  • A channel for Q&A ensures that recordings can be used even much after they were first uploaded. They are no longer time limited.
  • Making the recordings the primary mode of dissemination also implies that users will be able to follow them when they have time, and at their own pace.

Cons of the new system

  • We remove the direct link between the instructor and the student.
    • No live Q&A.