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ERIC Number: EJ854504
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1552-3233
Synchronous Discussion in Online Courses: A Pedagogical Strategy for Taming the Chat Beast
Smith, Craig W.
Innovate: Journal of Online Education, v2 n5 Jun-Jul 2006
Many online classes use synchronous communication--chat--as a way to conduct class discussion. However, chat can quickly disintegrate into nonproductive chaos if allowed to flow unchecked. The tools provided by course management systems such as Blackboard provide one solution to this problem by allowing instructors to grant or deny access to individuals asking to participate in a chat. While such a procedure can help provide structure to chat sessions, it may compromise the vitality of such sessions by forcing the instructor to serve as a monitor rather than a participant. As an alternative, Craig Smith has developed his own protocol governing chat etiquette. He uses multiple techniques to replace both the verbal and nonverbal cues that are missing in an online chat; as these techniques essentially allow participants to self-monitor their roles in the discussion rather than being monitored by the instructor, they allow for a greater balance between structure and spontaneity in chat sessions. Feedback from his students and guest speakers indicates that after a brief period of adjustment, chat sessions were easier to follow and were far more productive using this system of guidelines. Smith clearly outlines his protocol and provides an example of a class discussion using his chat etiquette. (Contains 1 exhibit.)
Fischler School of Education and Human Services. Nova Southeastern University, 1750 NE 167th Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33162. Tel: 800-986-3223; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A