Educational Chat Classification

Working Table

Dafne Gonzalez

Category Purpose Characteristics Moderator's role Example Subcategories



-Practice language,

-learn about and explore web tools,


  -Shared with friends.

-no pre-established agenda

Different threads are going on at the same time.

Each one joins the conversational thread of his/her interest.


Free moderation


Webheads Sunday meetings at Tapped In

-Students practice English during week-ends. (Buth)



(Collaborative) task-oriented chats

Participants get together in a chat to accomplish a real-life task, Participants share a common goal.

There is a need for a product

there is not need for a moderator


the same group establishes the norms, and handles the situation to complete the task in the time they have available

-when week 5 team gathered to plan our strategic plan for the week

-when my architecture students worked to share the characteristics of the different buildings each student had read, and come up with the shared characteristics, which were going to be used in further tasks.

-Students get together online to discuss final project (Buth)

videochat unit


Presentation (Tere)


(Academic seminars) Elizabeth


Presenting material for later discussion, The moderator has prepared the material before hand and of course the topic to be discussed has been previously announced to the audience.

-Program to be presented.

-Guest presenters

-Research results


The moderator
would usually prepare 3-4 questions to consider and
try to keep the cats herded into focus on those
topics, and change topics periodically throughout the
chat time, e.g. 10 min. for discussion of each
question. (Elizabeth)

-Could one chat be intended within one of the subcategories turne into another through the process in-action?

 Should the moderator, keep on track despite side issues that arise, or anticipated questions asked by the audience?

 Sometimes latecomers to the chat do not know the approach that has been set, and are eager to participate, and the discussion may take different roads and not get where it was supposed to.

 What should the moderator do?

-Establish procedure at the beginning- negotiated with participants?

-Inform that the question will be answered later on?

I guess I would then and there evaluate the importance of keeping on track by reverting to my original topic, against the weight of the unexpected query (Rita)



The Eurolanguage sessions (demonstration)

My chat about ESP online unit (demonstration)

Arlyn's chat (Discussion)

Neil Anderson's chat

-Students present final project (Buth)


Presentation followed by questions and discussion



 Hands-on (pot luck) -

Each or some participants bring topic, questions or materials to share and discuss about.


Discussion chats

Presenter brings a question or topic to discuss about

The goal is not to inform, but to educate, that is
"draw forth" ideas or explore a specified topic, based
on information provided external to the chat.




Participants, using the chat, practice a skill or strategy with other participants and the moderator

eg. a given function of a language


very closed-topic chats Moderator usually establishes the rules and turn taking style. Role playing an interview

Practicing reporting genre (Buth)



Less Directed = more freedom More directed  = less freedom

February 20, 2003.             Note: Comments and suggestions made by Teresa, Vance, Elizabeth, Buth, and Rita have                                                                 been  included for reflection.