Instructional Design- CHAT
Chatrooms are a means of providing synchronous communication in an online environment. Students can log into chat rooms and type their questions/comments, to be viewed in real time by everyone else logged into the chat at that time. Any student can comment at any time during the chat. Many chat rooms also provide the option to "whisper" to another person, such as the professor, in the chat room. Some chats, such as the one in Blackboard, also have whiteboard capabilities. Some chats also have archiving capabilities, allowing a discussion to be reviewed at a later date.
Things to Keep in Mind..
- It can sometimes be problematic for students to log into a chatroom at a certain time, depending on network connections and traffic in the chat; similarly, scheduling problems could arise if you have students who live in different time zones
- If more than 5-10 people are talking in a chat at the same time, it can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to follow the trails of conversation (remember, people type and think at different speeds, so by the time one student has responded to a comment, there may already be 10 more unrelated comments on the page)
- Not every chat is supported by every browser. For example, the Blackboard chat is considered unreliable on Macintosh computers
- A chatroom, provided it has whispering capability, can serve as an effective means of having online office hours. Students can get answers to questions immediately, without clogging your inbox and having to wait on an answer by email
- Chats can be very effective when used as a small group activity; for example, students can meet online in chat to work on group projects, conduct small group study sessions, and even participate in role playing activities