Using Synchronous Chats in Your Courses
Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Post from March 9, 2018
#Chat is one of a few social real-time activities that can be added to the course. Peer interactions is one of the most powerful learning tools. Use of #ChatRoom in #Moodle enables such communication. Learners can chat, instructors can monitor and participate. Chats can be used by whole class or by smaller groups. Moodle chat rooms give you control over who can enter and interact inside of them unlike other public chat tools. Moodle can save all chat sessions indefinitely if needed. This means that instructors and learners can review and analyze copies of transcripts and reflect on them.
Chat has an advantage over forums in certain situations as it takes place in real time. Below is examples of how you can use chats in your courses:
role playing and simulations;
collaboration students on problem solving or projects;
studying transcripts, analyzing them;
setting office hours for consulting students;
building learning community
An important factor in productive chat sessions is in limiting the number of participants. Some Human Behaviorism researchers claim that the maximum coherent interactive social group has up to five members at any one time and that more than five members becomes difficult to manage. With Moodle chats it’s easy to create a single chat activity that automatically breaks large classes up into smaller assigned groups, each with their own sub-chatroom. A chat can be entirely separate or learners can be allowed to see but not participate in other groups’ chat. All this can be achieved with group management.
Depending on the task it might be necessary for someone to be responsible for encouraging everyone to participate and draw students into the conversation. This can be the biggest load on instructors and that is why if you plan to participate in chat yourself you must set up specific hours of discussion. If you assess students on certain criteria it will take you less time just to read logs.