VHL Central offers both Live Chat and Partner Chat communication tools. Live Chat is an instant messaging tool that allows you to communicate in real time with your teacher and classmates quickly and easily by using text chat, audio calling and video calling features. Partner Chat uses the same synchronous communication tools that Live Chat uses however, Partner Chat is assignment-based.
With Live Chat and Partner Chat, you can...
- Chat via Text: send an instant message to available classmates or your teacher.
- Chat via Audio: have a real-time audio conversation with an available classmate or your teacher. Audio Chat differs from Text Chat in that you must make a call and wait for it to be accepted call before the Audio Chat session begins.
- Chat via Video: have a real-time, face-to-face conversation with an available classmate or your teacher. As with Audio Chat, your call must be accepted before the Video Chat session begins.
Note: For best results in an Audio/Video Chat session, it is recommended that you have a USB headset with an integrated microphone and a webcam connected to your computer to broadcast video. Please refer to the VHL Central technical requirements document for more information.
Live Chat is available within your course only if your instructor enables the Live Chat feature (and your account has sufficient access privileges). The Live Chat feature is accessible via the Chat widget in the right-hand margin of the screen.
Send a Video, Audio, or Text Chat
1. After clicking on the Chat widget, click on a name in the CHAT list. Be sure that the selected person is online and available.
- Green dot: available
- No dot: idle
2. Use the Chat text field to enter your text message, then click SEND. Responses are displayed in the Chat window. Note: Use the "Test your connection" tool to make sure your computer is properly set-up for a successful chat.
3. Click the green call button (phone icon) to connect with a classmate via audio and/or video. A notification will inform you that your classmate is being called. Note: To withdraw a call, click the CANCEL link.
4. When a call is accepted, your web cam will broadcast live video and audio to your classmate and vise-versa. Note: Your browser will prompt you to allow access to your computer’s microphone/webcam.
Partner Chat activities require you to work with a classmate synchronously to complete a single or several tasks. Within a Partner Chat activity you can see who is online, invite a classmate to work on the activity, prepare via text message, and record your chat via video and/or audio. You will only have access to Partner Chat activities if your instructor enables partner chat for your course and your account has sufficient access privileges.
- If your instructor appointed partners, be sure to arrange a meeting time with your partner.
- Make sure the computer you plan to use has a working headset or speakers and microphone and also has an updated version of the web browser.
- Use the Test your connection tool to make sure your computer is properly set-up for a successful Partner Chat experience.
- Review the setting Share video which, by default, is active or marked with a check (your webcam will broadcast live video to your partner and record video footage when working on a Partner Chat). You can deactivate the setting by clicking the Share video checkbox (only audio will broadcast live and be recorded).
Send a Partner Chat Invitation
1. After opening a Partner Chat activity, select a partner by clicking on a name in the Choose partner list. Be sure that the selected person is online and available.
- Green dot: available
- No dot: idle
2. A notification informs you that your partner is currently being invited. Note: To withdraw an invitation, click on the CANCEL link.
3. When an invitation is accepted, your webcam will broadcast live video and audio to your partner and vise-versa. The assignment is opened in a new window, so you can begin working. See Record a Partner Chat Activity for instructions.
Accept a Partner Chat Invitation
1. When you receive an invitation to partner, a notification is delivered only if you are logged in to your course. Note: The invitation will identify the name of the classmate and will be accessible for 30 seconds.
2. To accept an invitation, click the green button. Note: Click the red button to decline an invitation.
3. After you accept an invitation, your web cam will broadcast live video and audio to your partner and vise-versa. Note: The Share video feature is activated by default. You may opt to deactivate your web cam by clicking the Share video checkbox (only audio will be broadcast and recorded).
4. The assignment is opened in a new window, so you can begin working. See Record a Partner Chat Activity for instructions.
Record a Partner Chat Activity
Before you and your partner begin, we recommend that you:
- Do a sound and video check to make sure that you and your partner can see and hear each other.
- Review the activity directions and if available, reference material links, and activity models (click the play button to review a model). Draft a plan and agree upon individual responsibilities before you begin recording.
1. You or your partner can begin by clicking on the Record button. Note: Click allow if you receive a prompt from your browser to allow access to your system’s microphone and camera.
2. Recording starts immediately, so be sure to begin speaking into the microphone. Note:
- A Record (red dot) icon on the video chat screen indicates that the video recording is in progress.
- A audio recording indicator encircling the recording stop button indicates that the audio recording is in progress.
3. To pause or stop recording, you or your partner may click the Stop button. A visual indication that the recording has stopped will be available to both partners. Note: Repeat steps 1-2 until you and your partner complete the required tasks for the activity.
4. Click the Playback button to review the recording before you and your partner submit the activity. Note: The recording will be played for both you and your partner.
5. To end the review process, either you or your partner may click the Stop button.
6. Based on the results of the review process, you and your partner may submit the activity to your instructor or re-record.
- To submit, either you or your partner may click the Submit button. The completed recording will be submitted to your instructor for both you and your partner. Note: Look for a notification stating that the submission is complete.
- To re-record, click the Redo button. When prompted, click OK to confirm that you want to proceed to redo the activity. Repeat steps 1-6. Note: Previous recordings will be erased. This action cannot be reversed.