Information for Online Lectures

Dear students,

Starting from March 19th, we are going to offer the rest of the machine learning lectures online, unless we are told otherwise. In the past few days, I have explored a few ways to provide online courses and make sure it will be smooth when we get started.

We will start from option 1 and see how it works.

Option 1: Zoom

In this option, we are going to Zoom for online teaching. The greatest thing about Zoom is that it offers a set of features to meet my requirements. For example,

Request to students: The preparation that you need to do before Thursday March 19th is to have Zoom installed on your laptop or tablet. You can download the app via this link. With your UVa computing ID, you can also register a Pro account, if you haven’t done that before.

I will share the Zoom meeting ID for this class via emails later.

However, in the next few weeks, lots of universities are using and going to use Zoom. My concern is that then the network traffic could be a big issue. In case the user experience (either from me or the students) is not good enough, we will switch to option 2.

Option 2: Panopto + Slack

In case Zoom does not work well, we will switch to Panopto via Collab. Panopto offers a webcast feature, which allows me to stream my lecture in (almost) real-time. In my experiments, it usually had an about 30-second delay, which is probably not a big deal. You do not have to login Collab to watch the live video. I will share an URL before each lecture, and you can open the video in your web browser directly.

The downside of using Panopto is that it does not allow any interaction. Therefore, if we are going to this option later, I strongly encourage everyone to sign up the Slack workspace for this class. During my lecture, you can ask questions through the discussion channel.

Panopto can also record the lecture video, which is the same way as I did in class. So, don’t worry if you have to miss one lecture.

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