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The chat tool allows you to interact with other users using a text-based chat. Chat is part of the virtual classroom. You can also access it separately.

Use the chat tool when real-time discussion is required. Most students will be familiar with using some form of chat and will be comfortable using this form of communication.

The chat tool was designed to be ideal for low bandwidth situations, such as when your students are connecting to the course using a dial-up connection.

After joining a chat session, students can send messages. The message will appear in the chat display panel of all participants who are currently in the room.

Accessing Chat

You can access chat in the collaboration tool from the Tools link on the course menu and from the Control Panel. You may also add a customized link to the course menu.

How to Add a Collaboration Link to the Course Menu

If you want students to access collaboration often, you can add a link to the course menu for one-click access to the tool. You can customize the name of the link to fit your needs.

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON and point to the plus sign above the course menu. The Add Menu Item drop-down list appears.
  2. Select Tool Link.
  3. Type a Name for the link.
  4. From the Type drop-down list, select Collaboration.
  5. Select the Available to Users check box.
  6. Click Submit.

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The new tool link appears last in the course menu list. Press and drag the arrows icon to move the link into a new position. Access the link's contextual menu to rename, delete, or hide the link from students.

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How to Add a Chat Link in a Content Area

You can manually add links to chat in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders.

For example, you could set up a content area to include all the content and tools your students need for the week. After reading the weekly lecture, viewing the slide presentation, and completing two assignments, students could then access the chat tool for the mandatory weekly session. Finally, they would complete the weekly test, accomplishing all of these tasks in the same content area. In this scenario, students do not need to navigate anywhere else in the course to complete all the required activities for the week.

You can follow the same steps for adding link to learning modules, lesson plans, and folders.

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON and access the course area where you want to add a chat link, for example, the Chapter 1 content area.
  2. On the action bar, point to Tools to access the drop-down list and select Chat.
  3. On the Create Link: Chat page, select the type of link: Collaboration Sessions Page, Chat Session. If linking to a Chat Session, select it from the list.
  4. Click Next.
  5. On the next Create Link: Chat page, complete the Link Information to specify how it will appear in the content area. Select Options, if you want to change them.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Navigate to the content area, and click the chat link. You will be directed to the chat listing page. Click a title to join the chat.

How to Create a Chat Session

You can create chat sessions for real-time communication, and are available:

  • For the duration of the course: Students can schedule meetings and use the session at any time.
  • At a specific time: Student attendance at these sessions may be mandatory.
  • To group members only: Students in a group can schedule sessions to discuss projects, divide up tasks, and brainstorm.

Use the following steps to create a chat session.

  1. On the course menu, click the Tools link. On the Tools page, select Collaboration.


    On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Collaboration.

  2. On the Collaboration Sessions page, click Create Collaboration Session on the action bar.
  3. On the Create Collaboration Session page, type a Session Name.
  4. In the Schedule Availability section, you can set sessions to display on a specific date and time and to stop displaying on a specific date and time. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times or type dates and times in the boxes. Display restrictions do not affect the session availability, only when it appears.
  5. Next to Available, select the Yes option.
  6. in the Collaboration Tool section, select Chat from the drop-down list.
  7. Click Submit.

Joining a Chat Session

On the Collaboration Sessions page, click the Session Name.

A Launching Chat Tool page appears. Do not leave this page until you are finished chatting. The chat session will open in a new browser window and may take a moment to load.

Chat will not work if pop-up blockers are enabled. Either turn off your pop-up blocker or make your course site a trusted site.

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  1. A list of participants and their roles appear in the first column.
    • The chat session moderator is represented by a globe icon. The moderator is typically the instructor. The moderator can modify participant roles, grant passive users permission to participate, expel users, and record and end the session.
    • Active users are represented by a full color icon. An active user is typically a student. By default, active users can send messages as often as they like during a chat session.
    • Passive users are represented by a gray toned icon. A passive user also is typically a student, but could also be a guest or observer. Passive users can observe the chat exchange, but must raise their hands (click on the hand icon) to request permission to send messages. If more than one user raises their hands, numbers are assigned to the handraise icons to represent the order they raised their hands.
  2. The title of the chat room appears at the top of the chat display panel.
  3. All messages are shown in the chat display panel.
  4. Type your message in the Compose box and click Send. Alternatively, you can click the compose icon to open a new window, allowing for a bigger area for typing.

How to Send a Private Message

You can send private messages to other users if this feature is enabled in the session controls. Private messages are not recorded or archived.

Private messages can appear with all your other messages in the chat display panel or you can choose to display them in a separate panel. Private messages are always preceded by “Private Message from.” Click View on the action bar and select where private messages will appear.

Only users who have an active role can send private messages.

  1. On the Participant list, select the recipient or recipients of your private message.
    • To send a private message to a single participant, double-click the participant’s name.
    • For Windows, to select multiple users in a row, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last names. To select users out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each name needed. For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.
  2. Click Private Message.
  3. In the Compose Private Message pop-up window, type your message.
  4. Click Send.

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How to Modify Participant Roles

By default, participants are designated as active users when they enter a chat session. At any time, you can change the role to passive. Passive users can view the chat exchange, but can only contribute if they raise their hands and are granted permission by the moderator.

You control chat sessions to a greater degree when users are passive. For example, if each student must first ask for permission to participate, you are less likely to have a whole series of questions to respond to at once. You can also make only certain users passive if you feel they are dominating the conversation or responding inappropriately.

  1. On the Participants list, click the name of the user.
  2. Click an icon to activate or deactivate a user's permission to chat. The icon in the Participants list is updated.

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How to Record Chat Sessions

You can create a transcript of a chat session by recording a session using the recording functions on the right side of the action bar.

Session recordings can be beneficial if student participation is graded. Students can use the recordings for review purposes, or if a chat session was missed.

You can type a name for the recording or use the default name of the start date and time of the recording. You can create single or multiple recordings for a session.

  1. After joining a chat session, click the Begins recording function.
  2. On the Name Recording pop-up window, type a name for the chat recording or use the default.
  3. Click OK.

The following table explains the recording functions on the action bar.

Recording Functions
Icon Function on the Action Bar

Click Begin recording to create the transcript. Information is recorded as participants exchange messages. You can create more than one recording per session.

Clicking the Begins recording function again when recording is already in progress will stop the recording.

File:en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Instructor/060_Course_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/030_Chat/button_pauses_recording.png Click Pause recording to temporarily stop the recording. The chat display panel and the transcript will indicate the recording has been paused. Click it again to resume recording.

Click Stop recording to end the recording. After you stop a chat session, you cannot add to the recording.

If you end a recording in error, simply click the Begins recording function to start another transcript. Title the next recording "Part Two" or "Continued."

File:en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Instructor/060_Course_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/030_Chat/button_insert_bookmark.png Click Bookmark to add comments to the recording. For example, make a note that you are about to introduce a new topic. When adding bookmark comments, remember students can view recordings. Bookmarks will appear in a different color than the chat text.

Managing Chat Sessions

You can use the functions on the action bar to manage the chat session.

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  • View: Click View to choose where to display private messages.
  • Controls: Click Controls to select which features each role can use. By default, only active users can send messages and private messages.
  • Clear: Click Clear to clear your chat panel or the chat panel of all session participants.
  • End: Click End to stop a session. The session is ended and all users are exited. If you are recording the session, the recording is also ended and it is no longer possible to add bookmarks to the recording.