Thinking of using Instant Messenger for a class?

Having used instant messenging with work colleagues and particularly fellow researchers for years I have been thinking of using the medium for interacting with students in my classes. I was therefore interested in ‘The Professor as Instant Messenger’ article by Kathryn Wymer in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. She ran into unexpected reluctance from most of the students.

I did use Microsoft Instant Messenger (IM) briefly in a class a couple of years ago near the final assignment deadline. Only about 20% of the class used IM and most of those had embarassing user names as reported by Kathryn. However I did have several most useful interchanges where I helped students with coding tips. The only snag was these instant chats usually occurred after 10 pm at night when I had accidentally left myself logged in beyond ‘office hours’ with my special class IM account!

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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