This project was inspired by watching and attending lectures for various classes over the recent and continuing global pandemic. What we personally experienced while online was the freedom to ask questions without as much inhibition as we faced while in person. But we also watched professors struggle to keep up with incoming questions as current technologies don't allow for questions to be displayed in a manner that is fair. We also want this freedom to ask questions to be brought back as classes transition into in person formats so that students experience learning in the best way possible.
What it does
Live Chat allows instructors to create rooms with unique URLs when they give a username. This unique URL can then be given to students so they can join the room and ask questions. Questions are inputted and displayed in a chronological order so the first question asked is the first question the instructor sees. Answers to questions can be given live through the lecture or answered through text by students and professors.
How we built it
We built this application using ReactJS to create the frontend. We used CockroachDB as the SQL database for the backend. NodeJS was used to create the server which communicates with the front and back ends and ExpressJS handles the RESTful API we created. We also used Sequelize to initiate the connection with the CockroachDB cluster and socket.io to connect clients.
Challenges we ran into
Our main issues with this project were the lack of support for communication between CockroachDB and socket.io as well as time constraints and pressures.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the idea and intention behind this project and feel that this could become something that is really useful in the education environment. As with lots of things in the coronavirus pandemics we have discovered hidden benefits to this new form of life. We hope that this way of asking questions becomes more ubiquitous and helps students learn in the future. We are proud of how much we coded and how we handled roadblocks that came our way.
What we learned
We've learned to reduce the scope of hackathon ideas in the future as well as use technologies we are more comfortable with.
What's next for Live Chat
We will implement functionality to make multiple rooms at a time and allow professors to hold multiple classes at the same time as well as the ability for those asking questions to monetarily support those who they watch for those environments of learning which may not occur within a classroom environment.