Don’t over use the chat box when you can speak instead

Provided by Esther C. Kim, Lecturer, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. Edited for McNeese Faculty by Dr. Wendi Prater, Director eLearning, McNeese State University.

On my university’s platform, there’s a chat box in which students can type messages in real time. This could be a useful tool if used properly. But I often find it difficult to simultaneously read the chat box while listening to a student who’s speaking. The same goes for when I am speaking and someone is typing comments or questions in the chat box. If there’s a robust dialogue happening among a few of the students and others want to interject, they can place their comments in the chat box. Otherwise, I ask that they take advantage of the face-to-face online time by verbalizing their questions or comments. At times, students use the chat box to joke or have side conversations with one another. Since I feel it is important to create an amicable classroom culture, I ask them to verbalize these jokes as well and to restrict chat-box content to topic-related material. That way the whole class can chuckle and then move on, without students’ competing to outsmart a joke.