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Keywords: chat, chat room, instant message, communicate.


What is it?

Moodle Chat enables instant messaging style text-based conversations with students in real time for live discussion, Q&A and 'online office hours'

Why use it?

Chat can be useful in facilitating live communications without the dependence of geographic co-location.

Who can use it?

  • Tutors can set up a chat.
  • Students can participate in a chat.

Before I start...

Think about:

  • Can all your students access the chat at the same time?

Meeting the baseline

The UCL E-Learning Baseline suggests the following for Orientation:

  • 2.2 Explain participation requirements:
    • Identify which activities are compulsory and optional.
    • Provide an indicator of effort (such as timings or page counts) for all compulsory tasks.
    • Explain how students are expected to use UCL and external e-learning tools. This PowerPoint Induction template provides a starting point. Wholly online courses might provide this information as a screen-cast video, with a voice over.
    • Link to instructions for any e-learning tools that students are expected to use.

The Communication category suggests that you should:

How do I set one up?

Add a Chat quick guide

  1. To add a Chat room to your course page, click the Turn editing on button in the top-right of your page.
  2. Click the Add an activity or resource… drop-down menu of the topic where you want the Chat room to go.
  3. Select Chat.
  4. Choose a meaningful Name of this chat room.
  5. Provide instructions for your students in the Description area. We suggest you check Display description on course page.
  6. Set up the chat schedule time and other options. Note you can set up chat sessions that repeat regularly or are always open. You can make the session logs (transcripts) available just to you or everyone.
  7. The group mode can also be set, if you are using groups
  8. Click Save changes.
  9. Access the chat session page by clicking on the link in your topic.
  10. Click here to enter the chat now - Note there is a simpler version which does not use frames and JavaScript reached by clicking on Use more accessible interface.
  11. The Chat window is divided into two parts, the left one with the posts that appear during a given session and the right one listing the people currently in the chat room. Underneath, is the field in which you type messages (use the Enter key to post it).

Further help

Further guidance on chat is available from moodledocs.

If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).

If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.


  • To use the Chat activity you need to create a chat room for you and your students and set a session time to meet online. Unlike the Moodle Forums, you and your students all need to be logged in at the same time to communicate, sometimes called 'synchronous' communication. Chat works best with small groups.

Examples and case studies

- None at this time

Questions & Answers

- None at this time

Further information

You can also use HTML (if you know it) in the Chat message field to insert links, images, change the text colour and so on.