Technology In Education Online

Integrating Technology - It's Not About Using, It's About Infusing

Chatting It Up In Moodle

Afraid of your students chatting without being moderated? Have you tried the chat feature in Moodle?
One of the first reactions I hear when it comes to live chat in the classroom usually is, “not in my classroom!”  The fear is that someone will participate in the chat that isn’t appropriate. A legitimate concern, but what if you could have students participate in live chats in a safe environment?  Would that work for you?  The great thing about the built-in live chat (activity) within Moodle is that only those registered in the course can participate in a live chat.  No outsiders are allowed.  And how can you monitor these chats?  Moodle has a built-in log so you can review what has gone on in a chat session.
You can view past chat sessions.
Some might think what would I use live chatting for? Wouldn’t it be more disruptive if I had students chatting away in the classroom? So if you don’t want chatting in your classroom, what about outside the classroom?  I’ve seen live chats used outside the classroom for several good reasons.  The first good use I’ve seen it being used was during collaborative projects.  Students want to meet outside of the classroom yet have a difficult time making arrangements to get together. Outside activities or finding a central meeting place can deter students from collaborating.  In class, I’ve heard students say to each other, “ok, we’ll meet on live chat at 7:00 to talk about our project.”  I’ve also seen students utilizing live chat to quiz each other online regarding an upcoming test.  Students will pose questions to each other and discuss their answers in real-time.
Setting up a live chat is very easy to do and can be used as a general chat room or you can specify it for a particular group and a specific time.
Setting up a live chat with Name, Description, and other settings.
I’ve found that using a live chat over a number years has resulted in a true 24/7 experience for students.  There has been very few times that I’ve seen students abuse the live chat.  When I introduce a live chat to students, I always show them how I can view past sessions which helps discourage abuse.  The bigger reason, I believe, for success of live chats is that when students feel that they have ownership of the Moodle (always remind them it is their Moodle).  Students tend not to abuse those things that they feel a part of  and feel value in its use.
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