University of Wisconsin–Madison

02.27.15 Gernsbacher: Chat in D2L

GernsbacherThe year is 1999, GameBoy Color just came out, everyone’s disappointed that Beanie Babies will no longer be manufactured, but everyone’s excited about the season finale of the TV show, Survivor. In other words, you’ll feel like you’re using AIM (AOL’s Instant Messenger).

Desire2Learn’s chat looks like it’s inspired by 1999. Morton Ann Gernsbacher shared why this is actually a good thing for how she uses the oft-ignored synchronous chat in Desire2Learn for her online Psychology courses.

She began by explaining why a psychologist would choose to teach online.

She then led participants through a hands-on activity with online synchronous chat.

And ended with some Q&A.

Some of the takeaways include:

  • having a specific assignment in preparation for the chat contributes to students being well-prepared for it (for example, instructor curates the articles and has students “jigsaw” in groups of three. Each student reads one article in advance and then the group discusses for one hour).
  • since the course is 100% online, having a synchronous chat provided the human element for students.
  • creating and assigning roles within student groups made all students accountable (create group, write summary of discussion, copy chat to send to instructor, etc.).

If you’re interested in getting up and running with chat in Desire2Learn, try using the D2L chat worksheet we created for this session!

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