TL;DR: Do you think that a self-hosted instance of Lemmy might be usable enough for me to use as a discussion forum for my online classes?

Hi, I’m a HS teacher. Like many schools around the world, mine will be starting the academic year with a distance learning model.

I’m looking for a platform to host asynchronous discussions with my students this year.

I like the reddit/lemmy model of structured discussion and think it would be very useful for in a distance/asynchronous learning environment. I love the simple lemmy/reddit model of structured discussion for this. It’s better than what I’ve seen in LMS’s (flexible, easy to use, etc.)

Do you think that Lemmy might be usable enough for me to use as a discussion forum for my classes?

I would not be using Lemmy as the main LMS for my class, just as an occasional or ongoing discussion forum.

It would be a ‘real world’ use, so I care about usability and easy onboarding for non-technical users, and of course I don’t want my server to break, BUT **the contents would never be mission-critical. ** Disruptions and even full collapse of the site would not be the end of the world. I would like the option of using Lemmy for certain kinds of assessment (did you contribute substantively? did you follow the norms of reasonable discussion that we talked about?), but I could totally cope if the worst were to happen… the point is the conversation.

Me: I’m a redditor with some slightly crufty experience as a linux sysadmin. I expect installation to be possible and documented, but I can troubleshoot, if you’d all be so kind to listen if I get stuck. Once the school year starts I won’t have lots of time to invest in maintenance.

** Hosting: ** I’d host this on my own machine at home or (more likely) using a $5-$10 VPS.

Federation: I would not be planning to take advantage of the ‘federated’ aspect of Lemmy, at least at the beginning. An isolated site is better for this use case.

**Any comments or advice? Has anyone tried Lemmy for classes of students? **

Edit: If I have <150 users and pretty low usage overall, will 4gb of RAM be enough on the server? Would 2gb? ~~ I currently own something like the Value Server here 1 core / 2GB RAM / 40 GB storage? ~~ The Lemmy Install guide doesn’t mention specs.

Edit 2: I currently have a ** Linode Nanode (1GB: 1 CPU, 25GB Storage, 1GB RAM).** This is certainly too little to run Lemmy, no?

@nutomic
mod
admin
44M

Lemmy has really low hardware requirements, so either of those servers would be more than enough. But one problem is that we dont support invite links or anything like that, so you can only choose between completely open signups or no signups. So you will probably have to find a workaround for that, like making the site only available on an internal network, or putting HTTP auth in front of it.

Future Me
24M

But does Lemmy have closed communities? Otherwise, the content is visible to people outside of school, which I’d be uncomfortable with.

@nutomic
mod
admin
24M

We will implement that eventually, but it will take a while. You could use HTTP auth in front of Lemmy, but that would be kind of ugly.

@care_less
creator
14M

Thanks. This is good to think about. If students have anon usernames, I don’t think I mind them having a public-visible discussion.

Dessalines
admin
14M

Yep. I think its still probably fine to use for those purposes tho.

One option you could do @care_less@lemmy.ml , since closed signups and private communities are a long way off for us, is to create the server, make all the accts for your students, close signups, then give them that info.

Honestly tho I probably wouldn’t worry about that step, bc if someone starts participating and you don’t know who they are, you can easily ban them.

@care_less
creator
24M

Thanks.

@ajz
34M

Cool idea ! :)

Install with Ansible is relatively easy, just make sure to install a recent Ansible on your local machine, and configure the local ssh config and there’s plenty of people here to support you when things get stuck.

(My instance is running at the cheapest (3 euros) 2 Gb RAM vps at Hetzner.)

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