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You can use the Chat tool for real-time, unstructured conversations among site participants who are signed on to the site at the same time.

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 that they may have missed.


Key concepts

Multiple rooms

Site leaders can use Options to add rooms to accommodate more than one discussion. Participants can click Change Room to access other discussions.

Default room

Site leaders can use Options to specify which room is visible by default to participants accessing the tool.


Changes you make in Options also apply to how the Chat features appear to site participants.

Chat Options and Permissions

Clear History

Site users can use Options to permanently delete all messages from a chat room.

Read, Post, or Delete Messages

Reading Chat Messages

To read messages in Chat, do the following:

Posting Chat messages

To post a message, follow these steps:

  1. In the left menu, click Chat.
  2. In the text box at the bottom of the window, type your message, and then click Add message.
    Note: No one can see your message until you click Add message, but once you do, only an instructor or a participant with special permission can delete your message.
  3. To discard a message that you haven't sent yet, click Clear.

Deleting Chat messages

To delete a Chat message that you have sufficient permission to delete, simply click the trash can icon next to the posting, and then click Delete.

Note: If you don't see a trash can icon, you don't have permission to delete the message.

To permanently delete all messages from a chat room, click Options, and then click Clear History. Click Delete to confirm.

Add, Edit, or Delete a Chat Room

You can use the Chat Room tool to add, edit, or delete chat rooms within a site. You can also choose which room loads by default when participants click Chat Room.

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions. To determine your role, follow the directions in [Participant roles].

Adding a Room

To add a room, follow these steps:

  1. In the left menu, click Chat.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Add Chat.
  4. Enter the chat room title and description in the text boxes.
  5. Under Recent Chat Display, use the radio buttons to select how many previous messages to display:
    • Show No Message History displays no previous messages.
    • Show all messages displays all previous messages.
    • Show the last 3 messages displays the last three messages by default, but you can change the number of messages.
    • Show messages from the past 3 days displays all messages from the past three days by default, but you can change the number of days.
    • You may also choose whether to allow site participants to change display settings for their own chat windows.
      Note: No matter how many messages you choose to display, all messages are archived automatically, and are kept until you choose to clear the chat room's history. To do so, under the chat room's title, click Clear History, and then Delete. The Clear History option appears only when a chat room has messages in its archive.
  6. Click Update Options. Your new room will now appear under Manage Rooms in the list of available chat rooms. To make your new room appear by default when participants click Chat Room, click Set as Default.

Editing a room

To edit a room's title, description, or number of messages displayed, follow these steps:

  1. In the left menu, click Chat.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Under the name of the room you wish to edit, click Edit.
  4. Change the chat room title or description, or use the radio buttons to select how many previous messages to display.
  5. When you are finished, click Update Options.

Note: To change the room that loads by default when participants click Chat Room, in Options, under "Manage Rooms", find the room and click Set as Default.

Deleting a room

To delete a room, follow these steps:

  1. In the left menu, click Chat.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Under the name of the room you wish to delete, click Delete.
  4. Under "Deleting chat room", to confirm the deletion, click Delete. To keep the room, click Cancel.

Things to consider


How do I . . .?

Can I get notified (noise or flashing icon) of someone who has posted a new comment in chat like I do with Facebook or Skype?

Unfortunately, you will not get notified in any way if someone has posted a new comment in the chat tool. In order to view new chat messages, you must go to the chat and look to see if there had been new items posted. Although in the chat tool, you do not receive notifications, if someone was to send you a message using the Profile tool, then you may receive an e-mail notification alerting you of this action. If you do not intend on checking the chat often, suggest one to send you a message via the Profile tool in order to communicate.

Is my Chat conversation private?

Your chat conversation is available to be read by a various number of individuals. Those with sufficient access to the chat can chose who is able to see the chat conversation. This could include the instructor, students, TA's, guests, etc. Depending on the settings that the creator chose, will decide who can view, post, delete, and create chats. Note: Since so many people have the potential to have access to reading and participating in the chat, be sure to keep the chat conversations appropriate.

What happens to the chat session after I log out?

After you log out, the chat session still continues with those involved in it. Once you log in, you will be able to view the new messages that have been posted. Note: You may not be able to view every single message that was posted, as there is a limit on how many messages are able to be viewed. For example, the instructor may chose a setting that only allows 10 messages to be viewed at a time. In order to not miss any messages, be sure to log on often and keep up with the chat.

How many people can I chat with at one time?

How many people you can chat with at one time depends on the setting that the operator selected. Multiple people can be involved in a chat. This will allow them to view messages, and potentially post and delete messages as well.

Can I have a private chat with someone so nobody else will know?

Unfortunately, there are no "private" chats. Although there are no "private" chats, chats are able to be created, and the creator may limit who is able to see the chat. If you wanted to send private messages, then try using the Profile tool.

Related Articles

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Articles that also relate to the Category:Chat:

This article is based on the equivalent Sakai help article created by Indiana University found at:
Additional sources of content include Brock University's Sakai / Isaak Wiki and the University of Florida Sakai / e-Learning Documentation with thanks and appreciation for the collaboration.

All respective sources used are under a free-for-reuse license and additional permission has been obtained.

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Other articles about Sakai tools and how instructors can use them:

Core Tools: Announcements | Assignments | Email | Forums | Gradebook | Quizzes & Tests II | Resources | Site Editor | Syllabus

More Tools: Polls | Chat | Drop Box | Home | Discussions | News | Feedback | Sections | Lessons | Site Stats | Web Content | Wiki

Related articles: How to add tools to CLEW | Using the Text Editor | Manage Groups | Permissions and Roles | Contact the CTL for help

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