While most of us will be using Moodle in a classroom setting, Moodle is used by many other entities for a variety of applications. Businesses, non-profit agencies, even the government use Moodle to train their employees, encourage contributors, and offer training information.

One of the utilities offered by Moodle is Moodle Chat. The Moodle Chat features allows instructors to talk “directly” in real-time to students as well as offers a way for students to talk to each other in real-time for help, encouragement, or to create a group project.

Instructors using Moodle can set specific times when they will be available in the chat room. Students can access Moodle chat at all times, leaving questions or comments. During the instructor’s stated “office hours”, students can access Moodle chat to ask questions directly.

Instructors might use Moodle chat to advise students of key topics in the class, review past assignments, or even go over a specific assignment with one student as if they were in the same room.

When a group project is assigned, students can use Moodle chat to connect, make plans, or answer each other’s questions. Moodle chat sessions can be used as study sessions for test preparation by two students or the entire class.

If an instructor allows it, past chat sessions can be viewed by anyone in the class at any time so students who cannot be in the chat room at a specific time can still see the answers to their questions or catch up on their group’s progress.

Some instructors will use guest speakers in a Moodle chat so that students can ask questions directly to the guest. This method ensures immediate responses to questions of the guest.

Once in Moodle chat, students need only type in the text field at the bottom of the screen and hit enter. Everyone who is currently logged in Moodle chat can see what has been entered at the same time.

Real-time collaboration in an extremely easy interface makes Moodle chat a useful utility for all users. However, there are some basics one should consider when using chat rooms. Here are some tips for proper decorum in Moodle chat:

Good manners – Give everyone a chance to talk. Don’t interrupt. Rudeness is no more acceptable in Moodle chat than it is in a face-to-face conversation .

Be straightforward – Make answers or questions logical and sensible. Use proper spelling and grammar.

Consideration – Don’t be rude or use all caps, symbols, etc. Do NOT use swear words or other unacceptable language.

Think BEFORE you type – Use language that is easily understood. While YOU may be smiling, the reader cannot necessarily see that smile. In Moodle chat, one can use emoticons (smiley faces), but some computers won’t display them!

Think BEFORE you hit the “Enter” key – Re-reading your post can often prevent sending a message that could be misunderstood. Re-reading can also catch spelling or grammar errors that could be embarrassing.

Be SAFE – Don’t give out personal information – Protect yourself as you do in all chat rooms. While as a rule, Moodle chats are only open to people in the class, some instructors allow guests in their classes. Just be cautious!