I participated in a real time chat with two other people from another class. We were placed in a group to complete an assignment using Google Slides. We used the chat feature in Google Slides to communicate as we were working. Real time chat capabilities make group communication online much easier. We also communicated some through emails, which took much longer to get questions answered and anything accomplished. The real time chat allowed us to work together and discuss as if we were all sitting in the same room together. Real time chats do have some disadvantages though. When too many people get involved, it can be difficult to keep track of the conversation and who is responding to who. It is also difficult to gauge emotions through online chats. It can be very easy to misinterpret someone’s intentions. Our group found the use of emoticons to be helpful in this aspect. We were able to convey that we were trying to be helpful and friendly when giving constructive criticism or feedback. I also found that it can sometimes be difficult to keep everyone focused and on track when communicating in real time.
I think real time communication is very effective in online settings, but I do think we have to take the time to teach our students how to communicate and use those tools correctly. Especially with high school and younger students, I think it is important to have guidelines for students to follow in real time chat settings.