Learning Information Technology with Dr. Hans Kruse: Twitch Streams Exploring Emerging Technologies
While Twitch is known more commonly as a streaming platform for gaming , previous director of the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies and professor Dr. Hans Kruse plans to begin a series of streams that share a behind the scenes look at how he learns new things in both the IT and gaming world. The McClure PR Team interviewed Dr. Kruse about himself, his project, and general advice for students and faculty during these complicated times.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
"I am now 'Professor Emeritus' in the McClure School, which is a bit like 'retired with honors'. I spent 30 years teaching IT topics, without having a formal degree in IT (I am a Physicist by training, my PhD is in theoretical nuclear physics). That means all that time, I had to use my basic understanding of science and math to learn the concepts and topics I wanted/needed to teach. Having retired means I no longer have the administrative responsibilities at OU that kept me from learning as many things as I wanted, so I can now put more time into various topics that interest me."
What are you planning to do on-stream? What should viewers be gaining from the stream?
"First, the advertisement: I will stream at https://www.twitch.tv/profkruse - every (hopefully) Thursday at 8pm US Eastern Time. Most streams will be 60-90 minutes. Oh, and on Twitch I am mostly known as 'TheAncientOne55' which is my private account I use when I view channels."
"Over time, I'll cover a wide variety of topics and technologies. Right now, I am looking at the Internet communication platforms we are all using during the pandemic - teleconferences, Zoom, Teams, etc. That is driven in part by the McClure School wanting to update the 'Voice Applications' class (often called the 'VoIP' class) which was last taught by Prof. Campbell two years ago. No decision has been made about when and how that class will be taught, but we are getting it ready to appear as early as Spring."
"The first stream on Thursday, October 22nd will have me figure out how to use the 'iperf' tool to measure Internet performance, especially performance that impacts voice and video communication. To do that, I will need to deploy cloud-based virtual machines, and I will use multiple providers so I can see how VM deployment works on AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, etc. That will be a big part of these streams, I start with an idea of what to explore but that will often lead to looking at related stuff and we might well wander completely off-topic."
"Another starting topic will be a new'ish browser standard called WebRTC. To understand how that is used to create some or all of the Zoom platform (for example), we need to wander off into web application development, and that will push us to things like Docker and Kubernetes... you can see how this will go!"
How is this project unique compared to other experiences like BNIC or seminars/speakers?
"I am very unabashedly not an expert in the topics I take on. I will of course start with some knowledge of fundamentals and will have done some initial research. But the streams will be a shared learning experience and a (hopefully) very interactive exploration of the topic at hand. The Twitch chat experience is quite good, and I intend to actively engage with the chat. This will be as much about 'learning to learn' as it is about the actual topic."
"For many of the streams (not tomorrow though) I will be joined by someone with web development experience ('pxslip' on Twitch). We may bring in other visitors as well."
Any advice for professors and students during these trying times?
"There are of course no magic answers. We are forced to function with massively reduced in-person interactions. Everyone will react to that in a different way. I have chosen to focus on the online communities that I was already engaging with before the pandemic - namely Twitch (you need to be selective; there are awesome channels/communities but also some very toxic ones) and Discord (most Twitch communities are paired with a Discord server). Twitch is a bit asymmetric, you watch the stream live, but you interact only with text. Discord is an asynchronous chat experience, but it also has good real-time voice (and video) capabilities. For me, these are good ways to stay grounded and feel a little less isolated."
To join Dr. Kruse in his pursuit of knowledge, check out his Twitch streams on Thursdays, 8PM Eastern time at twitch.tv/profkruse!
The McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies strives to offer the best academic programs in the IT (Information Technology), the game development and the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industries. Our programs and certificates cover numerous aspects of the rapidly changing industries of information networking, information security, data privacy, game development, digital animation and the academic side of esports.