Channel coding alone is not sufficient to reliably transmit a message of finite length from a source to one or more destinations as in, e.g., file transfer. To ensure that no data is lost, it must be combined with rateless erasure correcting schemes on a higher layer, such as a time-division multiple access (TDMA) system paired with automatic repeat request (ARQ) or random linear network coding (RLNC). We consider binary channel coding on a binary symmetric channel (BSC) and q-ary RLNC for erasure correction in a star network, where Y sources send messages to each other with the help of a central relay. We focus on finite block lengths and compare the expected throughputs of RLNC and TDMA. For a total message length of K bits, which can be subdivided into blocks of smaller size prior to channel coding, we obtain the channel coding rate and the number of blocks that maximize the expected throughput of both RLNC and TDMA, and we find that TDMA is more throughput-efficient for small K and small q.