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Chat in the Classroom

In town hall events and individual conversations with faculty over the last 18 months, many instructors reported being surprised by how much they appreciated the Zoom chat function during their classes.  The chat feature of Zoom gave an avenue for students who were nervous to speak in front of the whole class to ask questions, provide input, and collaborate with their peers and instructors. Naturally, faculty have wondered how to bring that communication channel back into in-person classes.

When considering chat options for in the classroom, instructors should consider the goals of their chat channel and the parameters that will work best for their course. Think about the following questions:

Jean Clipperton, Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Political Science, has been looking for a student feedback platform that will be agile, streamlined with her other classroom tools, and allow for real-time connection with student input. She wants to be able to conduct polls as well as allow students to ask questions either publicly or privately. She is exploring Google Slides with the Q&A function enabled, and she may also use Poll Everywhere. By considering what matters to her classes, Professor Clipperton has been able to focus on the tools that will serve those needs best.

While there are countless platforms and methods to bring chat into the classroom, we recommend starting with the following options when considering your class and its needs:

Chat Tools
Polling Tools

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