Chat Strategies

5 ways to make synchronous chat effective and manageable:

  1. Set guidelines for chat discourse like you would for class discussion. Communicate your expectations for respectful and academic discourse for chat interactions.  
  2. Assign a chat manager/moderator. A chat manager/moderator (like a TA) can help filter and respond to questions during a synchronous session so the instructor can stay focused on content delivery, for example.
  3. Save the chat. If you don’t have a TA (or can’t assign a chat manager), save the chat and asynchronously answer questions after the session (on Canvas forums). Here are the Zoom instructions to save the chat. Note: You may want to remove "private" messages to sent to the instructor if sharing the chat file with the class/others. 
  4. Use chat selectively. Designate a timeframe during the session to answer chat questions (eg first/last 10 minutes). You can ask participants to write down their questions and enter them in the chat when the chat window is open. Here is how to enable/disable chat in Zoom.  
  5. Tell students to tag questions. Use simple bracketing ([syllabus]; [midterm]) or a hashtag (#lab; #duedates) to quickly organize questions. The instructor may want to generate a list of “tags” prior to the class so students can use the same organization.

Bonus: Acknowledge when you are replying to a chat. Delivering content and teaching while trying to answer a chat can be distracting. When you stop to answer a chat, say so to indicate what you are focusing so students (and you) do not lose track of the topic.