Online Chats – NMCC

November 9th, 2011

Online chats are person-to-person (or groups of people) synchronous communications that take place over the internet. These conversations may be conducted with text, audio, or video and there are many software and web-based tools for this. Some terms used to refer to this chats include computer-mediated communication (CMC), internet relay chat (IRC), or instant messaging (IM). When a microphone and/or camera is used, these chats may be referred to as audio or video conferencing.  Typically a participant in a chat is identified by a screen name, and the entries in the dialogue are date and time stamped. Many chat tools allow transcripts of text chats to be archived and audio and video chats to be recorded. Multiple user chats are often used as backchannels in meetings, conferences, and classrooms to allow participants to comment on the proceedings in real time.


  1. Ben Nason
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:44 | #1

    Online chats are quick, to the point, most often direct – a great way to get instant information

  2. Stephanie Bresett
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:44 | #2

    Our school using Skype daily (not everyone, but a huge %). It is a discrete way to communicate about students on the spur of the moment. It was also a tool for us to solve NWEA tech support issues while testing was going on.

  3. Dave Keaton
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:45 | #3

    Maine Administrators of Career & Technical Education over the past five years have utilized our Tandberg and online meeting methods to save on traveling expenses

    • November 10th, 2011 at 11:48 | #4

      I have used the Tandberg to go on virtual field trips to NASA. I would highly recommend virtual field trips and NASA is free.

      • Pam
        November 10th, 2011 at 11:51 | #5

        We have been using Tandberg for our NHS State Executive meetings.

  4. Hilary
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:45 | #6

    I have not used online chats in classes because our filter has not allowed them, but I think that they could be very valuable for students working collaboratively on a project to share findings without disrupting the entire class.

  5. Saramcquarrie
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:45 | #7

    I think kids who might not speak up in a classroom might be more inclined to join a chat that was taking place. I think many of them would enjoy this sort of interaction. Imagine also if all the kids are typing instead of talking how nice and quiet it would be! :)

    • November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #8

      I have used back channels as part of classroom discussion. I loved how that brought out some of the “quiet” students.

  6. November 10th, 2011 at 11:45 | #9

    Video chats have changed the connectivity of families. When my grandparents went to Florida for the winter, they sent letters and audio recordings on tapes. Now my kids skype with their grandparents nearly every day. We can remain connected instantly.

    • Steven Garton
      November 10th, 2011 at 11:49 | #10

      Can this be easily applied to education.

  7. Steven Garton
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:45 | #11

    I have seen chat used very effectively as students use it as an extension of the classroom. They just leave the chat open and ask questions as they come up of their network. Occasionally, the instructor will be on, but there is no expectation by the students for them to be present all of the time.

    • Ben Nason
      November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #12

      A great way for students who aren’t sure of what is going on or not understanding the content at hand – ask your classmates without interrupting the class

      • Steven Garton
        November 10th, 2011 at 11:48 | #13

        I like this thought. This really promotes student responsibility and time management.

  8. Gail Hagelstein
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #14

    With 21st Century Skills, our students are going to work with globally. Why not start now in an academic setting? I agree with Sara, quieter students will use the chat forum more.

  9. Londa
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #15

    I’ve used Skype quite often when our social studies teacher has been out taking care of a sick child. Today, he skyped me because he wanted to talk with one of his classes – he forgot that I wasn’t at school! Yesterday, we skyped in one of his classes so that everyone could see his new addition to his family – a beautiful baby boy! The kids loved every minute. Last year, Betsy York and I were unable to attend a workshop downstate, so we had our P.I. connection at another librarian’s house. Using Skype, we were able to take part in everything all day long. It’s also great to touch base with family members!

  10. ElizabethConnors
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #16

    pros – it’s easy and convenientncons – (for IM) people may be more likely to say things they would not normally say in person, there can be a loss of manners, and you lose face to face communications nSkype however can be a wonderful tool when used properly and to its fullest potential

  11. Betsy York
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #17

    Skype is the online chat I have used the most. I’ve used it in many educational settings as well as a personal tool to connect with family outside my community. I love this tool! I have use other chats for backchannel feedback at conferences and find it helpful, but distracting at the same time.

  12. Pam
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:46 | #18

    Last spring, I had an accident and was unable to go to school. I was able to Skype into my Accounting class to answer questions and provide some instruction time.

  13. Tammy Jordan
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:47 | #19

    I would like to see more videoconferencing to enhance students’ learning. I have participated in an VC experience with NASA. It made the space unit come alive for many students.

  14. Gail Hagelstein
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:47 | #20

    Also grammar and spelling would be important.

  15. Tracie
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:47 | #21

    Audio and video chats are a great tool that can integrate a seemingly less intimidating way to have students practice f2f interaction. The plus side is that there is less that can be misconstrued in what is being said. Text communication leaves more room for misinterpretation. Also, most students, in their college careers, will take an online class requiring them to post to a discussion board… great practice about how what you type can be interpreted to mean something completely different from your intended meaning.

  16. Hilary
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:48 | #22

    How many schools are able to use skype?

    • Betsy York
      November 10th, 2011 at 11:49 | #23

      Sad#42 (Mars Hill) uses Skype

  17. Ernie Easter
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:49 | #24

    With the multiple education groups now as part of Facebook the ability to hold online chats with others in your group in real time enhances the user exerience.nCheck out SEEDLINGS and also Integrating Technology on Facebook.

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