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Online and Distance Education at OISE

Realtime Chat

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Chat is a form of interactive realtime online communication also known as instant messaging in contrast to asynchronous communication methods such as email or conferencing. The other party is at the other end of the line, like a phone. Common chat applications are usually browser-based and allow users to simultaneously engage in text conferencing when online.

Typically you subscribe to a chat (like MSN instant messenger), and invite other users of that system into a personal directory. Once in your directory, users who are online can invite others users who are online to chat. Usually a pop-up window appears and two individuals being to type and send messages that are instantly received. Normally, these sessions can be saved in text format if the chat content is important. Professionals use chat for meetings. In schools they can be used for team discussions.

Most applications allow for multi-user chats. Some offer video, audio and text messaging such as Skype or MSN in Windows (not Mac). Chat is also offered online at many websites where communities communicate with each other around a specific topic, often referred to as "chat rooms".

OISE primarily uses Blackboard for asynchronous communication (email and courses) within the OISE community. Under the tools/collaboration menu, a CHAT or VIRTUAL CLASSROOM application is available. All OISE members are part of the community and can be invited to a realtime text conversation if online. This chat application is not java-based and requires you to download a plug-in upon first connection.

Well-Known Chat Applications



 How do I use Chat?

  • Install the necessary software on your computer.
  • Register and create your profile. The nickname, which you register with will be the one displayed.
  • Open the messenger application and check who is online.
  • Choose person (or chat group) who is online and with whom you would like to chat
  • Type the message in the appropriate window and click on the SEND button.
  • The discussion is started.
  • Tech Bits has more information on Netiquette and Chat symbols. Typing shortcuts and emoticons are often used to speed up the text inputting process.


More information on Chat and Sites

ChatGuide (How to Keep You and Your Family Safe Online)

A Guide to Internet Chat

Chat and Text Messaging Abbreviations

A Guide to Understanding Online Chat & Smiley Faces


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