Your course may include chat sessions with your tutor, fellow students or the author of the course. Anyone with access to the chat can ask questions or make comments in exactly the same way as in a normal conversation - except these are typed rather than spoken chats.

Chats are scheduled for a particular time that will be listed in your course calendar. Activities using chat can be identified in the course content area by the chat icon, which looks like this:Chat icon. You can also access chat sessions by clicking on the link to ‘Chats’ in the ‘Activities’ block on your course homepage.

To access the chat, click on the link, then click on the text 'Click here to enter the chat now' to enter the chat area. The chat area will open in a new window. To contribute to the conversation type your comment into the bar at the bottom of the screen and, when you are ready for others to read it, either press the return (enter) key on your keyboard or click on the ‘Send’ button. Your comment will appear as the most recent addition to the conversation. The website automatically displays both your text contribution and your name, allowing everybody to keep track of who is writing what.

If there are many people taking part in a conversation you may initially find it difficult to identify the issue being discussed or to keep up. Enlarging the window will allow you to read more comments at once; this makes following the chat session easier.

Please note: We have noticed that Chat works best when using Mozilla Firefox as a web browser [available free to download from Mozilla]. If you use Internet Explorer as your web browser you may find that you are occasionally disconnected from the chat session. If this happens, you should shut down your web browser, open it again and log back in to the system. If you have to re-enter a chat session you will only be able to see the conversation of the chat from the point at which you re-entered. If you experience problems being disconnected from chat we recommend you consider using Mozilla Firefox.

Viewing past chat sessions

If you were unable to participate in a scheduled chat session, or if you simply wish to revisit a session, you can view details of chat sessions held in the past. To do this, first open the chat session (either by clicking on the link to the chat session on your course homepage or by clicking the link to ‘Chats’ in the ‘Activities’ block on your course homepage and then selecting the chat session required). Then either click on the text ‘View past chat sessions’ or click on the link ‘View past chat sessions’, which can be found in the ‘Administration’ block under ‘Chat administration’.