Chat room is a tool that promotes synchronous communication in a course. Members of the class can carry on a conversation with each other and with the instructor in real time by typing messages into a text box. Messages appear to all participants in the chat session as soon as they are submitted by a student. Chat messages are automatically archived and can be reviewed at a later time. As with all synchronous communications, announcing scheduled session times with students is a necessity. If student participation is being assessed, students need to have a clear understanding of the criteria on which their grade is based.
|Allows for real-time interaction between students without them having to be in the same location.||Controlling the flow of conversation can be difficult without physical presence and verbal queues. This can lead to chaos and disorganization in an online chat session.|
|Creates a flow of conversation similar to live verbal conversations that occur in a classroom.||The pace of conversation can often be quicker in a chat session than in a classroom, and students sometimes have difficulty typing responses in a timely manner. This can lead to confusion regarding who a student is responding to when they submit text in a chat, as the conversation may have moved on already.|
|The conversation is archived for review at a later time, or to allow those who cannot attend the live chat to be able to see what was discussed.||Students who may be learning disabled, non-native speakers, or poor typists may have a difficult time participating.|
- Faculty should be prepared to moderate rather than dominate the conversation.
- Have a list of discussion stimulants prepared ahead of time.
- Be prepared to bring the discussion back on topic if needed.
- Communicate guidelines and expectations for using the chat session.
- Consider offering multiple modes of communication to accommodate students who aren't spontaneous thinkers.
- Announce specific dates and times of synchronous sessions at the beginning of the semester.
- Have students attempt to access the chat session prior to the first chat.
- Direct students to desktop support if they are having difficulty accessing the chat.
- Provide a rubric that outlines criteria for determining grades.