Professor runs Twitch stream for office hours, discussions

Choi aims to adapt to changes in learning with virtual office hours

Dong+San+Choi%2C+known+as+DantePHD+on+twitch%2C+speaks+about+student+failure+on+cheating+during+his+night+stream+on+Friday.

Screenshot Courtesy of Dong San Choi

Dong San Choi, known as DantePHD on twitch, speaks about student failure on cheating during his night stream on Friday.

By Michael Caruso, Staff Writer

For many, Twitch is a streaming service that allows them to watch their favorite gamers play some of their favorite games. However, one professor is taking over the streaming service to conduct office hours and discussions about campus issues and to give advice to students.

University professor and lecturer Dong San Choi began using the platform to present his office hours for ECE 120: Introduction to Computing last fall. He said his main goal was to enhance accessibility for students who were not able to attend office hours due to distance or time conflicts. Twitch allows students to watch the videos of streams at any time, which allows a broader audience of students compared to normal office hours. 

“In our information age and the internet, the way people learn and accept information has changed,” Choi said. “Our traditional way of teaching feels inadequate and impersonal. You are presented with information, and you take it or leave it. People are lacking connection.”

Jacob Tentis, freshman in Engineering and a viewer of Professor Choi’s office hours, said using a platform he had used already before made the content more accessible. 

“I am very familiar with Twitch since I’ve been using it to watch video game streams for years, so it was very convenient,” he said. “The chat function is good for asking questions since the delay is only a couple of seconds. Other students in the chat can also help answer more minor questions or help to clarify what Professor Choi is saying.”

According to its website, Twitch is a platform for live streaming and initially focused on video game content but has focused on broadening its scope in recent years. This includes Choi’s educational live streams.

“As for Twitch, it is still mainly a gaming platform I feel, but the community has started to branch out more to be focused on other content as well,” Tentis said. “The ‘Just Chatting’ section has loads of different non-gaming-related content.”

Accessibility and open communication were major reasons for Choi’s decision to use Twitch. In addition to the ability to attend office hours remotely, he believes there are other benefits to the new format as well.

“Because there is some sense of anonymity on the internet, there is a sense of freedom there,” Choi said. “They don’t have to tell me who they are, so they can ask questions, and it’s not really tied to anything. There’s no immediate judgment.” 

The spring semester has seen a change from live streaming office hours to discussing a broader range of topics for students. Recent topics include “Professor shares why you’re bad at listening” and “Professor discusses the Computer-Based Testing Facility.” Choi said he hopes these lectures will be useful for current and former students of his as well as new students from all majors and colleges.

Tim Vitkin, freshman in Engineering and longtime viewer of the live streams, said he believes these new topics are very applicable.

“It’s really helpful,” he said. “Most of his streams form a series about how to better yourself mentally, and I found the first few really helpful to hear a professor’s viewpoint on how to do better, both in school and socially.”

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