The chat activity in Moodle provides students with the opportunity to communicate with each other in real-time. This is an example of of synchronous learning, which is the traditional mode of learning found in classrooms. Students, through collaboration, are learning together in time.
In this post, we will look at how to setup a chat as well as some suggestions on the use of the chat activity in an online course.
Setting Up Chat
- In your Moodle course, make sure you have turn editing on and then click on “add activity or resource” in one of the available spaces. Then select “chat” as shown in the picture below.
2. In the next screen, you need to give your chat a name. Adding a description is optional. In the “chat session” section you can schedule when the chat takes places. You can also indicate if you want this chat session to be regularly schedule with the “Repeat/publish sessions” if you leave it on the default setting, students can join the chat room anytime. There is also an option for saving past chats and whether students can view past chats. Below is a screenshot of the features.
3. The actual chat room is simple to use. After clicking on “Save and display” the next screen will have a link called “click here to enter chat now”. When you do this, you will see the following.
4. The people who are in the chat room are displayed to your right. To type a message click on the empty box next to the “send” button, type your message, and press enter. Below is a sample message between the teacher and a student.
5. When you log in to chat the previous messages are gone. This is different from facebook which saves everything as a never-ending dialog. To see what was said in the past you need to click on the link “view past chat sessions” and then select the conversation you want to read. Below are two pictures, the first shows the link for viewing past chat session and the second shows a list of sessions to read
Suggestions for Using Chat
- Chat is useful for allowing students to coordinate group work. The benefit of using chat for the teacher is control of what is happening and the useful of an official challenge of communication of the school.
- Chat is one tool for allowing students to communicate in a foreign language in real-time.
- For large classes, it is best to break the students into smaller groups for chatting. Since only one person can talk at a time and nobody can see each other, large groups are usually chaotic in a chat room.
- Set a clear beginning and end to a chat. It is also important to keep in mind the various time zones the students may be in.
The chat activity is an excellent tool for coming into direct contact with students. This tool can be used to stimulate real-time discussion or for other means. When using chat be aware of the strengths and limitations and this will help in providing an excellent learning experience for the students.