Forums are the heart of communication in an online course because they provide the primary synchronous and asynchronous method for interaction. Instructors can create as many forums as needed for instruction.
Chat is a secondary mode of communication, typically synchronous, which provides instant feedback. Unlike asynchronous forums that encourage learners to take time to compose thoughts before responding, chat rooms are informal places where learners follow the conversation on screen as it unfolds, much like observing a face-to-face conversation. Text contributions are typically concise, written in an informal tone, often lacking appropriate grammar and filled with abbreviations such as:
- RE: in response to what someone has contributed
- FYI: for your information
- F2F: face-to-face
- THX: thanks
- Qs: questions
- Asmt: assessment
Chat is ideal for:
- orientation to the course
- introducing a unit
- virtual office hours
- virtual guest speakers
- peer review of papers/projects
- study groups for tests
- online interviews
- practicing a foreign language
- online seminars
- group discussion related to content/project/presentation/case studies
- generate ideas for writing
- refine writing/project ideas
- sharing a verbal process for problem solving
Adding chat to your course:
- To add a chat to your course, click on “Turn editing on”, go to “Add an activity” then “Chat.”
- The chats will be saved so you can access them later. You can choose how long you want to save the chats, from 2 days to forever.
- Schedule specific chat times or have a chat room available for use anytime.
- Schedule a chat time to automatically add an event onto your student’s Moodle calendar.
- learners can send messages at any time bombarding readers with content
- messages often arrive out of sequence
- messages arrive quickly making it difficult for learners to follow the conversation