Skip to main content
Blackboard Help


Have text-based, real-time synchronous discussions.

You use the Chat activity to have a conversation with your students as a one-time activity or at the same time each day or each week. Chat sessions are saved and you can set them to available for everyone to view or restricted to users with the capability to view chat session logs.

Why use chat?

Text-based chats provide some unique benefits.

  • Chat is great when you are not able to meet face-to-face. You can chat from anywhere.
  • Most students are comfortable with some form of text-based communication. You may see students participate who might be hesitant to speak up in a face-to-face or audio/video settings.
  • Chat is a great way to discover if students understand the material. As the discussion unfolds in real time, genuine knowledge and areas needing clarification are revealed.

With the Chat activity module you can have informal discussions with your students that replicate spoken conversation.

  • Use it to give students an opportunity to practice communicating in a new language.
  • Use it to get to know each other.
  • Host a question and answer session to help students prepare for an upcoming quiz.
  • Provide students an opportunity to interview a remote expert.
  • Let students use it when collaborating on a group project.

Chat is an activity module that is available in the core Moodle product. To learn more about using it, see Chat Settings on the Moodle website (may be available in English only).

Add chats

Steps in Snap: Create learning activity or resource > Chat > Add

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Add an activity or resource > Chat > Add

How it looks in Snap
How it looks in another theme
  1. Type a meaningful name and description. The description displays to students when they view the chat. Check the Display description on course page box if you want the description to show there.
  2. Set the chat sessions:
    • Select the Next chat time and date.
    • Set whether the chat is a one time session or a repeated session from the Repeat/publish session times list.
    • Select how long to Save past sessions.
    • Determine whether or not Everyone can view past sessions. If set to No, only users with permissions will be able to view the chats.
  3. Set the following optional items:
  4. Click Save and return to course to show the course main page or Save and display to show the new chat.

Determine chat completion

Steps in Snap: Chat > Edit > Activity completion

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Chat> Edit > Edit Settings > Activity completion

You can determine to mark the chat activity as completed.

  • Completion tracking: Options include Do not indicate activity completion, Students can manually mark the activity as completed, and Show activity as complete when conditions are met.
  • Student must view this activity to complete it: When the Completion tracking is set to Show activity as complete when conditions are met, this option will be available. Determine if the activity will be marked as complete after the student views the chat.
  • Expect completed on: Enable this feature and set a date for when it is expected participants will be marked as completed.

Plan and manage productive chats

Promote information sharing and collaborative discussion in your chat sessions.

While the informal nature of chat encourages free thinking and discussion, a well planned and managed chat session can create a great collaborative learning experience.


Start with giving students everything they need to participate effectively in your chat sessions.

  • Clearly identify the time and purpose of the chat. Let students know what you'll be chatting about.
  • Give your students access to any resources you may be discussing.
  • Provide some guidelines on chat etiquette and best practices.
  • Let students know if this counts towards a participation grade.


  • Be present in the discussion. Encourage conversation by asking questions, responding to students, and getting everyone involved.
  • Keep messages short. Short messages give a natural flow to the unfolding conversation. Break longer messages up into smaller chunks.
  • Respond directly to individuals using their name.

    Example: @Cathy, interesting. Tell me more.

  • Give everyone a few minutes at the beginning of the session to arrive and be social.
  • Keep your chat sessions to 30 minutes.
  • Summarize the discussion throughout to keep participants on track, bring late comers up to speed, and make sure every one is on the same page.


Almeida D’Eça, Teresa. "The Use of Chat in EFL/ESL." TESLEJ. TESL-EJ, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

"How to Facilitate an Online Discussion." ELearn Hub. N.p., 28 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.