Increasing number of people are experiencing “corona blue”, and there have been various attempts to seek motivation via online communities without the help of offline mingling. As a result, communities evolved to combine various platforms to achieve the goal of networking and support.
“Deep Learning, Machine learning and Data-Science chat room for Ewhain” is one such community. The community strives to achieve the goal of online networking and study support among Ewha students curious of artificial intelligence and data science. The community debuted as an open KakaoTalk chatroom under the lead of Kim Yon-soo, a senior majoring Computer Science and Engineering. Along with Kim, Lee Ji-won, a senior majoring Cyber Security, is managing the chatroom. With the assistance of a senior who wished to remain anonymous, the managers recently began to utilize other platforms such as Discord and Clubhouse to accommodate active discussion among the community members.
Kim shared what has brought her to open the community.
“I did not begin my undergraduate years as a Computer Science and Engineering major,” Kim said. “Having little examples around me, I remember spending more time on researching what do people study and what makes one compatible to dive into the field than the learning itself.”
She later discovered a virtual community within Kaggle and was inspired by it. Kaggle is one of the biggest online data science communities that regularly open competitions and where users commune to upload datasets and data analysis models. There, Kim saw numerous users questioning and experienced learners answering the wonders, ultimately achieving a virtuous circle towards having more people produce results in the field.
In a few days, Kim and Lee’s community for Ewha students gained more than 500 participants.
“We didn’t expect so many colleagues to enter our chatroom,” Lee said. “It was astounding to see more than a hundred people enter in a day, and the double and triple of that the next day.”
Initially, Kim and Lee had to constantly share their deposits of study materials and experience in order to uphold conversations. Now, three months after its beginning, the community members actively question and give answers to each other even without explicit intervention from the managers.
So far, while the open KakaoTalk chatroom takes on the role of an accessible gateway and an agora for question and answering, the Discord server functions as an archive of learning resources and a place where students can find study mates.
“Since the field of AI and data science does not own a long history of having the attention of the public as of today, there isn’t enough database prepared about how to strive towards relevant occupation even at the oldest Ewha communities,” Kim said. “Although our Discord is not yet stacked with enough resources, I hope it will gradually build up over time.”
Clubhouse, added to the list at the very last, is a mobile application that enables live voice chatting with the host as the moderator. It was fit for accommodating an event where everyone can verbally share their stories to each other without offline contact. Due to the application’s characteristic that clubs are manually admitted by the enterprise, no club space for the particular community is prepared yet. However, Kim managed to open two temporary rooms at Clubhouse this February. She mentioned that numerous students shared without hesitation upon how their learning is proceeding and asking questions for knowledge.
However, there is still a room for improvement. Lee shared how she felt studies are difficult to maintain in the midst of the pandemic. She seen many study groups fall apart, which she explained was due to people feeling less obliged to abide by the regulations.
Kim explained she hopes to improve the level of achievement concerning her goal of stronger sense of connection between community members and support of individual learning activity. She plans to open regular mogakko- an abbreviation of coding together in Korean- from March as one such endeavor.
“I hope this networking persists so that when we become incumbents or graduate students with more knowledge, we can contribute to the community,” Lee said.