The chat tool allows participants to have a real-time (LIVE) synchronous text-based discussion (no audio/video) via the web. This should not be confused with forums and email whose purpose is asynchronous or NOT real-time (NOT LIVE).

Chat is a simple tool but has many uses including: collaborative discovery, online seminars, exam preparations, and study groups. It is especially useful for working out logistical issues of allocating roles and how to share the work within group projects. If you do not see it listed in the Activities block, your instructor may have chosen not to enable the chat.

Accessing chat

  1. Click Chats in the Activities block.
  2. Click on the link Click here to enter the chat now to enter the chat room. Note: If groups are enabled and you are a part of more than one group, select your desired group from the drop down list before trying to enter the chat.
  3. After clicking the enter chat link, a new chat pop-up window should appear. If you don't see the chat window check to see that you have pop-up windows enabled. The pop-up window will be divided into two parts. Messages posted within the chat appear on the left side, and people online within the chat room are listed on the right. At the bottom you will find the message input field where you compose and send your messages.
  4. If enabled by the instructor, a history of each chat conversation can be saved and made available to students. The instructor may view this history to check on what has been discussed if they were not present, or simply to refer back to at a later time.

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Conventions and Formatting

The following conventions and formatting are available within the Chat activity:


Emoticon conventions used elsewhere within UR Courses can be included in chat messages and will be displayed using a graphic equivalent where available.


Internet addresses will be turned into clickable links automatically.


You can start a line with /me or a colon : to emote. For example, if your name is Kim and you type :laughs! or /me laughs!, the message will appear within the Chat window as "Kim laughs!"


You can send a sound to other people by hitting the "beep" link next to their name. A useful shortcut to beep all the people in the chat at once is to type beep all.


If you know some HTML code, you can use it in your text to do things like insert images, play sounds or create different coloured and sized text.

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