While asynchronous discussions allow students to post and read responses at different times before a set deadline, tools like Canvas Chat and Google Chat enable students to exchange messages in real-time. Students can share files, ask each other questions, and discuss material, either 1:1 or within groups.
Canvas Chat: The chat tool in Canvas can be used to host virtual office hours where students can type in questions or to set up real-time group discussions. For example, you might assign students to watch a film during a set time period and have them live chat during the film and discuss it. Students must be logged into Canvas and have the chat open to be able to send and receive messages.
Google Chat: You can also use Google Chat, which is visible when logged into your email, to start chats with the class. You can create a group chat by adding emails of students or create a virtual space in Google.
- Promote help-seeking by empowering students to ask and answer questions outside of class
- Support student-to-student connection and community-building
- Increase interaction and touch points with students to foster inclusion and connectedness
- Provide a way for students to pool knowledge and problem-solve
- Allow an alternative participation tool for students who may be more reluctant to share verbally or in other modes of communication
- Engage students in icebreakers and other community-building activities. Pose an icebreaker at the beginning of the course or at various points throughout it to foster connection between students.
- Virtual office hours with the instructor. Let students know you will be online in Canvas or on Google Chats during set time periods where they can log in and ask you questions.
- Set up student-led discussion groups that run during set periods. Have students log in at certain time periods to chat to discuss a lecture or video they watched, a text, or other media. Students can also utilize chat while working on a group assignment.
- Motivate students through periodic chat messages. Send quick notes of encouragement, reminders, or recaps of critical information through the chat to engage and extend student learning.
Looking to discuss nuances around choosing the right tool? Contact [email protected] for a consultation.