Chat 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.
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.
Pros & Cons
|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
|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
|The conversation can be
recorded 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.
- Provide a rubric that outlines criteria for determining grades.