Tips for monitoring chat for online and in person sessions

Distance Learner BannerIn this blogpost, we’ll be looking at some tips for monitoring a Teams chat when you’ve also got attendees joining in person and online.

The planning of the synchronous activity and what you want your students to be able to do after they have engaged with the activity shapes the purpose of the chat. Ask yourself: what role do you want the chat to have in your teaching session?

For example, do you want the chat to be used for students joining online to communicate their ideas with you? Do you want it to be used for them to chat with each other? Do you want the chat contributions to be communicated with those joining in person?

In addition to that, you want to think about how you are asking your online students to engage in the session. Do you want them, for example, to use the raise the hand function to attract your attention? Or, do you want them to only use the chat.

Once you’ve decided on the role that the chat has in the session, and how you want your attendees to use it, you may wish to follow the advice from Eric Gonzales and Amber Heck (2020):

  1. Set some ground rules
  2. Designate a moderator to monitor chat
  3. Schedule set times for questions during your presentation
  4. When you can’t catch, don’t worry

Setting the ground rules for the chat will depend on the role that the chat has in your session. Make sure that you communicate with your students on how to engage with the activities.

If you can, designating a moderator will really help to field questions from those joining remotely. Even with a moderator though, make sure you check in with them periodically. It might be another student that you ask to moderate the chat.

Building times for engaging with the chat and people’s comments into the planning of your session will really help with ensuring that those attending remotely are able to engage with the discussion and material. Those attending the session in person may not be able to see remote participants’ comments on the chat.

Don’t worry about not catching all of the questions in the chat – after the session, you are still able to access the questions or comments left in the chat. Posting retrospectively in the chat will still allow attendees to access the comments. Attendees are also still able to post in the chat retrospectively as well.


Gonzales, E. B., & A. J. Heck. 2020. ‘Managing the Chat in Online Teaching: What we can learn from live streamers’. Faculty Focus: Online Education. Online: 7th October. Last accessed: 12.10.2020. 

5 thoughts on “Tips for monitoring chat for online and in person sessions

  1. Dr Heather McCreadie

    Thanks Jim,
    I am using this in the physics labs. It is working well. The students at home are interacting with the students in the class. I paired the students and during the session I encourage them to interact with each other, sharing results and discussing techniques used. Students at home are given videos to watch or photos of results and record measurements whilst the students in class perform the experiments and record measurements. There is constant interaction happening. There are two teams meetings open for each student, the large one with all students I am involved in and the one with their lab partner. We use the hand-up function to answer questions or ask for help.I see happy faces all around.

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