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Add a Chat Activity in Moodle

The Chat activity allows course members to hold real-time, text-based conversations with other course members. Different chat rooms can be set up for the same course. For example, a course may have some chats where meeting times are scheduled, and others that are always available. Chat sessions can also be logged for reference, with instructor control over who can see the logs.

Set up a Chat Room

  1. On your main course page, click Turn editing on (top right).  Editing icons and links will appear.
  2. Locate the Section where you want to add the Chat activity. (If you are using the Collapsed topics format, open the Section.)
     
  3. At the bottom-right of the Section, click + Add an activity or resource. The Activity chooser will open.
    Activity Chooser Chat screenshot (Click to Enlarge)
  4. In the Activity Chooser, select Chat and click Add. The Adding a new Chat page will open.
  5. On the Adding a new Chat page, type an informative name in the Name of this chat room field. For example, "Group A Chat -- Weds. 8-9 pm.”
  6. In the Description box, enter a description that lets your students know the purpose of the chat, and your expectations for their participation. For a structured discussion, you could include a specific list of questions you would like addressed.  This is also a good place to let your students know whether or not you plan to make the archive of chat logs available to the entire class.
    Note: It is generally advisable to leave Display description on course page unchecked, to avoid clutter on the main course page.
  7. Configure other settings for the assignment. For more information on these options, see Configure Chat Options (below).
  8. Click Save and return to course to return to your main course page.

Configure Chat Options

When you add a Chat activity to a Moodle course, you can choose from a number of settings. The first two settings are required; the remaining settings are optional. Click particular headings to view those settings, or Expand all (top right) to view all settings.

  1. In the Chat sessions section, click the Next chat time drop-down menu to set a specific date and hour for students to meet.
  2. Next, click the Repeat/publish session times drop-down menu to select whether and how often the chat will repeat. You can publish repeating session times daily or weekly, or not at all.
    Note: Setting a date and time is optional and will not restrict access to the chat at other times; it will add the Chat to the course Calendar block, and let your students know when they can expect to find others in the chat room.
  3. Click the Save past sessions drop-down menu to select how long chat logs will be preserved in the archive. By default, this is set to Never delete messages
  4. To allow students to view chat logs, set Everyone can view past sessions, to Yes. This will allow everyone in the course to review the text entered into the chat stream (whether or not they attended a session). When set to No (default), only instructors and TAs will have access to the logs for the chat room.
  5. Under Common module settings you can assign the Chat activity to groups.  (For more on working with groups, see An Overview of Managing Groups in Moodle.)
  6. The Restrict access area lets you set conditions for student access to the Chat activity, either by date or by prerequisite.
    Note: During periods when access is restricted, the activity is completely hidden from students, on the course page, in the gradebook, and in the course Calendar
  7. Click Save and return to course. Or, to open the chat room directly, click Save and display.

View, Delete or Download Chat Logs

Instructors can view, delete, or export logs of chat room sessions. A session begins when the first person enters a chat, and ends when the last person leaves.

View a Log of a Particular Session

By default, only instructors and TAs can view past sessions. For students to be able to see past sessions, an instructor must set up the chat to allow everyone to view past chat sessions (see Set up a Chat Room, above).

  1. On the main course page, click to open the Chat activity. The Chat page opens, showing the description and a list of links.
  2. Click View past chat sessions. The Chat sessions page opens showing a list of sessions and participants with a count of how many messages each participant sent. The sessions are listed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent session at the top of the list.
    Note: If you see No complete sessions found, click List all Sessions.
  3. To view a particular session, click See this session (at right). A log will open showing the exchange of messages between participants.
  4. To return to the Chat sessions page, click Continue.

Delete a Session Log

  1. On the main course page, click to open the Chat activity. The Chat page opens, showing the description and a list of links.
  2. Click View past chat sessions. The Chat sessions page opens showing a list of sessions and participants with a count of how many messages each participant sent. The sessions are listed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent session at the top of the list.
    Note: If you see No complete sessions found, click List all Sessions.
  3. For a session listed on the Chat sessions page, click Delete this session. The session log will open with a confirmation box at the top of the page.
  4. To confirm that you are deleting the correct session, click Continue to delete the log.  You will be returned to the Chat sessions page.

Download a Session Log

  1. On the main course page, click to open the Chat activity. The Chat page opens, showing the description and a list of links.
  2. Click View past chat sessions. The Chat sessions page opens showing a list of sessions and participants with a count of how many messages each participant sent. The sessions are listed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent session at the top of the list.
    Note: If you see No complete sessions found, click List all Sessions.
  3. To download a session, click Export to portfolio (at right). The session will download to your computer as an HTML page. Depending on your browser, you may need to confirm the download.
    Note: Look for the file named "Your chat name-session.html" where your browser typically saves downloads. You can view the file in a browser, or open it in a word processing application such as MS Word.
  4. To return to the previous page after downloading, click Return to where you were.
  5.  To return to the Chat sessions page, click Continue.

Download Logs of All Sessions

  1. On the main course page, click to open the Chat activity. The Chat page opens, showing the description and a list of links.
  2. Click View past chat sessions. The Chat sessions page opens showing a list of sessions and participants with a count of how many messages each participant sent. The sessions are listed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent session at the top of the list.
    Note: If you see No complete sessions found, click List all Sessions.
  3. Click Export all to portfolio (at bottom of page). The sessions will be compiled in a single HTML file and downloaded to your computer. Depending on your browser, you may need to confirm the download.
    Note: Look for the file named "Your chat name-session.html" where your browser typically saves downloads. You can view the file in a browser, or open it in a word processing application such as MS Word.
  4. To return to the previous page after downloading, click Return to where you were.
  5.  To return to the Chat sessions page, click Continue.