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Chat Room


Examples of use
Using chat
Customizing the screen
Tips, tricks, hints, suggestions, ideas and best practices


Chat is a tool for real-time, unstructured conversations with users who are signed on to the site at the same time.

By default, Chat messages are saved and are visible to all users so that all site participants can benefit from clarifying conversations and questions and answers.

The Chat tool allows for more than one "Chat Room" which an instructor or site owner can create for specific kinds of Chats. These additional chat rooms can be created using the Options feature. The Chat tool alerts users on the Chat page to the other participants who are also viewing that page. This way, users know who is available to talk in Chat.

For information on how to add the Chat Room tool or any other tool after you have created your site, click here, or click Adding and removing tools, and changing options on the Site Info Tool help page, which you can access under "Site Management" in the help table of contents.

Examples of use

Instructors can easily create an "Online Office Hours" Chat room for student questions and answers.

Dispersed collaboration groups can use Chat as a space to have conversations across distances or catch up with conversations they may have missed.

Using Chat

1... Click Chat Room on the left-hand menubar.


2... To see who is presently online with whom you can chat, check the "Users in Chat" list on the right side of the screen.


3... Type your comment or response in the text box.


4... No one will be able to see your message until you click the Add Message button. Once you click it, only an instructor or a participant who has been given special permission can delete your message.


If you would like to discard a chat message that you have not yet sent, click the Clear button.

Customizing the screen

Changes that an instructors makes to the Chat display also apply to how the Chat features appears to students.

Pull down the View menu to choose:

- only time
- day and time
- only date
- no date or time

Pull down the next menu to choose to see message from:

- the past 3 days
- all messages

To create an additional Chat Room in a site


1... Click the Options button

2... Click the Add Room link along the top of the window.

3... Type in a title for the new Chat Room.

4... Type a description for the new Chat Room.

5... You can specify how many message to show and allow site participants to change the chat display for their own window.

6... Click Update Options when you have finished.

This will allow you to have multiple chat windows on the same site and all users have access to it. The advantage of this is that you can have several chat topics on the same site. However note that only one chat window will be available at a time by default. You will have to toggle between chat windows to access different chat topics.

Are you finding what you're looking for? Please send feedback about this online help guide to Thanks! (For questions about using CTools, send email to

Tips, tricks, hints, suggestions, ideas and best practices

Clicking View All in chat may cause the following to happen:

- A huge scrolling list will appear in chat.
- It's very difficult to review the huge list in the little chat window.
- You can't use the Find feature in your browser.
- Your browser may crash if there's too much text for the browser to capture.

Avoiding browser crashing

The site owner can create new additional chat rooms, each containing less than one big chat room.

Making the chat searchable

The site owner can save the old chats and post them elsewhere on the site as html or Word or even PDF files. To copy the chat, put your cursor in the chat window and drag to select, then copy and past elsewhere. (If you turn off the ability to delete chat messages first, then you can avoid copying the distracting trash can icons or "delete message" prompts.)

Limiting chat to a sub-group of students or participants

If you want to limit chat to a sub-group, you need to create a new site. You can have *just* the Chat tool in that other site. You can then manually add the subgroup of students or participants to this new site. (See "Adding Participants to a Site" under "Setting up and Publishing a Site," which is under "Creating a Site" in this Online Help Guide.) You will need to give the added participants the right access.

Having two chat rooms going at the same time

With the Chat tool, you can only have one chat room open at a time by default. If you want two chat rooms going at the same time (each with its own button in the navigation at the left), ctools-support can add the second chat room. Send email to

Having two chat rooms going at the same time and visible at the same time

In the Chat tool, you can only have one chat room open at a time by default. If you want two chat rooms going on at the same time and visible at the same time, ctools-support can split the chat tool into two separate frames (side-by-side or one over the other). The permissions for multiple chats at a single site are always the same, but you can point to separate rooms. Send email to

Including an image on the chat page

If you want to have chat be on one side of the window, and display an image on the other side, ctools-support can add a web-content frame to the chat page. Send email to