We use Discord as our online classroom. With Discord, we can message, talk, and share screens with each other.
Both in-person and online students will use Discord, though to different degrees. For example, online students will use Discord's voice channels to talk while they pair program. In-person students will use Discord for asking questions and sharing resources, but not use the voice channels. Your instructor will share their precise expectations on how you and your cohort will use Discord in the first week of class. In preparation, please follow along with the steps below (and subsequent lessons) to install and familiarize yourself with Discord.
First, create an account at https://discordapp.com/register. Choose a username in Discord that matches your real name in some way — this way, we'll know who you are. Then enter your email address and a password to claim that username.
You can use Discord in the browser or through its desktop application. We recommend installing the Discord application, because it has more features. Discord will be installed and available on all Epicodus computers, though in-person students likely will find using Discord in the browser more convenient. You can install Discord here. Simply choose the distribution for your operating system (Mac, Windows, or Linux). If you are using Discord in the browser, bookmark the link to the Discord server.
Find your username on the right side of the screen, right-click it, and click "Change Nickname". Enter your full name as your nickname so that staff and other students know who you are.
When first using voice, video, and screen sharing you may have to set security permissions with your computer allowing Discord to access your microphone, screen, and camera. If you see a pop-up in the process of configuring Discord, follow along with the prompts to give Discord permission to access the necessary hardware.
Test your microphone by clicking the User Settings gear in the bottom left corner: Then, click Voice & Video from the menu on the left. You should see an option to test your mic. Please make sure you have a working microphone before the first day of class.
Next, test your video. Just like you did for your microphone, go to User Settings, then click Voice & Video. Scroll down on the page and to the Video Settings section and select the button to "test video". While video isn't strictly required, using video when you pair program improves community building and makes it easier to form friendships with your peers. Video is also vital for remote interviews. For those reasons, we recommend having a working video camera before the first day of class.
On the Friday before class starts, you'll receive an invitation to join the Epicodus Discord server. After joining, you will be taken to the
#welcome channel. Read the message in the
#welcome and take a look at the other channels on the left side of the screen — these are the public channels available to all members of the Epicodus server.
Channels preceded by a hash icon are text channels:
Channels preceded by a speaker icon are voice channels:
There are multiple classes running on the same server. The channels for your classes will be preceded by the month your class started.
Take note, when you first join the server, you'll only have a limited view until an Epicodus staff member adds the appropriate role to your member account. This usually happens on the first day of class. If you still cannot see your cohort categories and channels (like the questions channel, discussed below) by the end of orientation on the first day of class, get in contact with your instructor.
The organization of your cohort's Discord channels will vary, and you'll explore them in detail on the first day of class. Your instructor will also give you expectations as to how you will be interacting with Discord depending on whether you are an in-person or online student. Please ask your instructor about any confusion or uncertainty you have. There are no dumb questions and Epicodus instructors are here to help ease your start to Epicodus!
In general, you'll have voice channels for:
Different dev teams to hold Scrum, solve bugs together, and video chat
Pairs to work together throughout the day pair programming and sharing their screens
The text channels available will include:
A general channel for sharing info with the whole class and having general discussions with your cohort
A questions channel where you can get help from instructors and classmates
Text and voice channels will be organized into categories that belong to specific cohorts, the entire Epicodus community, or by topic (like questions or capstones).
There are other categories, too. Check them out! Regardless of which class you are in, you are part of a larger Epicodus community.