M23 - Chat

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 on 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. Some 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, turn on the edit mode toggle in the top-right of your page.
  2. With the edit mode toggle on, choose the + icon to add items anywhere in a section. Simply click on the course page, in the section wherever you want to add your activity. This will open up the activity chooser, allowing you to select your activity or resource. You can still add content from the bottom of any section, as you did in the previous version. To do so, click add an activity or resource to open the activity chooser.
  3. Select chat.
  4. Enter a meaningful name for 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. You can set the group mode if you are using groups.
  8. You can enable activity completion  for students to manually mark the chat as completed or for automatic marking based on conditions.
  9. Click save and display to see the chat activity or save and return to course to save and return to the main course page.
  10. Access the chat session page by clicking on the link with the name of the chat room on your course.
  11. Click 'Enter the chat' - Note the chat has a more accessible interface which does not use frames and JavaScript which can be accessed by clicking on use more accessible interface.
  12. 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 Moodle Docs.

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 are familar with this) in the chat message field to insert links, images, change the text colour and so on.