The name “HackMD” doesn’t do this concept justice, nor do the more common descriptions of “shared notes” or “collaborative document”. It is a full replacement for chat: perhaps it could be called random access chat or parallel 2D chat ?
HackMD itself is a web service for collaborative documents in Markdown. This isn’t special to HackMD, but we have used it for its scalability, markdown support, and privacy in the “view” mode.
HackMD instructors for the audience: https://coderefinery.github.io/manuals/hackmd-mechanics/
HackMD manager role description: https://coderefinery.github.io/manuals/hackmd-helper/
Example published HackMD after six 3-hour CodeRefinery sessions: https://coderefinery.github.io/2022-03-22-workshop/questions/
Synchronous questions, no disadvantage for quiet people.
Parallel answers by a large number of helpers.
Easier to go back and review past questions during Q&A sessions (compared to scrolling through chat), for example finding important or unanswered questions.
The above can make a course feel much more interactive than it would otherwise.
Overwhelming flood of information
But you wanted more interaction, right?
Co-teaching helps here, one person can focus on watching.
Students must be warned to be deliberate about where they focus their attention (different learners have different interests).
It is another tool to use
Not required for basic learners, learners can begin using when they are comfortable.
Actively use HackMD during this course.
Observe how the instructors integrate it during the course itself, and can immediately respond to the questions.
Observe how instructors occasionally mention and screenshare HackMD to validate to the audience that it is being watched.
Keep HackMD open. Can you balance it and watching. Does it increase or decrease engagement?