FAQ


General Questions

Backchannel Chat is a real time chat tool that has been designed for educational use. It has powerful moderation and control features that give great control to teachers.

No, students are not required to create accounts or provide email addresses. We encourage teachers to discuss the issue of online privacy with their students. We do not use any advertising on the site, we rely on our paid users to keep the service running. Please also refer to our privacy policy for further information.

Free chats are stored for around three months. We don't delete our paid user chat rooms. Paid users can delete any chat room from their 'My Backchannels' area. Free users can use the room clear option which can be found on the Transcript menu option, look for the red button.

Backchannel Chat has an app that can work with Schoology, your paid subscription does include the use of this functionality. As schoology doesn't provide us any of your personal information the process for connecting your web and schoology accounts is manual. Please contact us to help.

Backchannel Chat has an app that can work with Edmodo, this is managed by Edmodo and is not related to the web version.

Backchannel Chat did have a Google Apps Marketplace listing which has been temporarily removed while we upgrade to the new authorisation process that Google have enabled. The previous install will continue to work in the short term, but longer term users will need to upgrade to our pending release.

A school subscription provides teacher account management as well as the ability to search and view all of the chat rooms that have been created by teachers associated with the school.

Tools / Features

Backchannel Chat has a basic profanity filter built in. The goal is to catch the obvious uses of profanity and to provide the teacher with the opportunity to address the issue. Any words caught by the profanity will be replaced with ****. Teachers can view the transcript which will show the uncensored version.

Very long. We don't limit the text like twitter, you can post longer messages into the chat. Pressing Shift+Enter will move the cursor to a new line.

The room lock feature will prevent students from adding more messages to the discussion. This can be turned on and off at will by the teacher. More information can be found on our blog post.

Yes, chat rooms can have a password that students must know and enter. This can be setup in the Settings menu. More information and screenshots can be found on our blog post describing this feature.

Yes, each room has a special URL that will only accept students entering via a Google login. This will also prevent students from changing their display name whilst in the chat. More information can be found on our blog post.

Paid users can embed the chat in external websites using the embed codes provided by Backchannel Chat. The embedded chat can be used in one of two ways:

  1. A real-time view of the conversation with no participation. Great for broadcasting a conversation or displaying a transcript.
  2. Allow visitors from your site to join the conversation. Users will be asked for a display name and will appear in the chat as normal students. The teacher must be using the app from within Backchannel Chat to have the teacher controls.

More information can be found on our blog.

  1. Use the Chat Stats menu option, this will list each participant and will show the number of messages the student has added to the chat.
  2. Use the per student transcript. As a teacher click on the gear symbol next to the student name, this will bring up a dialog with a button to download a pdf transcript with all of the student messages. more information and screenshots can be found here.

Teachers can change the display name of a student by clicking on the gear symbol next to the student's name. this will provide a dialog that shows the current display name of the student which is editable.

Paid Backchannel Chat users can send private messages to students, this is done by clicking on the gear symbol next to the student's name. This will provide a dialog that shows a button that will initiate a private message. More information on private messaging can be found here.

No, private messaging is limited to teacher / student conversations.

Yes, Backchannel Chat provides a special teacher code that will enable another teacher to join with all of the moderation controls.

Students can be turned 'Read Only' where they can still read the contents of the chat but not participate. This is preferable over kicking or banning the student. A student can be made Read Only by clicking on the gear symbol next to the student name, then selecting the Read Only checkbox and clicking Update. The same process applies to removing the Read Only symbol. The student name on the right hand side will be shaded red when the student is marked as Read Only.

Yes, Backchannel Chat supports the concept of Public Anonymity - Private Accountability, where student names are hidden from other students but the teacher is in full control and can view the student's response. This feature can be turned on via the Chat Settings menu. More information and screenshots can be found here.

This feature is for paid users.

Backchannel Chat provides a way for students to upload files only with teacher approval. The teacher must first enable student uploads in the Chat settings. The student can then upload the file into the 'staging area' where the file can then be inserted into the chat. The message with the attachment will be shown in orange until the teacher approves it. Teachers can approve the message by clicking on the tick icon that is associated to the message. More information can be found here.

This feature is for paid users.

Tweets can be embedded into a chat by simply pasting the url to the tweet. The auto embedding can be turned off by using the Chat Settings. Other media such as YouTube videos can also be automatically embedded by pasting in the url. More information can be found on our blog post.

Yes, teachers can select the pin icon and have the message fixed to the top of the chat. This is helpful in providing chat instructions to students.

Yes, teachers can use the chat settings to upload a banner image at the top of the chat.

This feature is for paid users.

Yes, If the teacher chooses Backchannel chat has a full moderation mode where every message from a student requires approval before being published to the rest of the class.

More information and screenshots can be found on our blog post.

This feature is for paid users.

Yes, Backchannel Chat has a feature for this. This message amplification is a powerful tool for collecting positive feedback.

More information can be found on our blog post.

Teachers can click on the info symbol of each message to view the students that have 'amplified' the message.

Backchannel Chat has a number of tools to help teachers run virtual office hours. The first is an auto message response, where a teacher can setup an automatic message to be delivered to students if the teacher is away from the chat.

Teachers can also setup an alert sound when a message arrives, this sound will only play if the browser is not the active window.

More information can be found on our blog post.

This feature is for paid users.

The Backchannel Chat Instant Feedback is a realtime response collection tool, teachers can ask a question that is displayed at the top of the screen. The default text is 'Do you understand?'. As the chat progresses students can select click on the yes or no options (or alternate between them). The teacher view is updated to show the number of students who agree or disagree with the statement.

More information can be found on our blog post.

This feature is for paid users.

Backchannel Chat has tools for teachers to create polls. These polls are updated in realtime and can be setup ahead of time and place in the poll staging area where they can quickly be added to the discussion.

We have more information and screenshots on our blog post.

This feature is for paid users.

Teachers control this on a poll by poll basis. A poll can be changed at any time, so it's possible for a teacher to prevent students from viewing the results at first, but later on enabling so that students can view the results.

Backchannel Chat can be configured to close the chat room when no teachers are present. This option is setup in the chat settings.

This feature is for paid users.

Teachers and students can only choose from the selection provided by Backchannel Chat. We believe this is a safe option and to add custom avatars would require teacher approval. This is something that we would love to hear your feedback on.

Yes, paid teachers can configure 'archive sites' which is a special site that students can log into and have quick access to assigned chat rooms.

More information can be found on our blog post.

This feature is for paid users.

Archive site is the term Backchannel Chat uses for a single site that a student can go to view and search chat rooms. Teachers can assign codes to this site to prevent access.

This feature is for paid users.