Picture of two students looking at a computer screen. Picture of a professor with a computer teaching a small group of students. Picture of a student working at a laptop.

Google Chat


Google Chat or G-chat is a built-in feature of Google mail that allows user to instant message, audio chat, or video chat. It is similar to Skype in many ways, but does not require a separate service or account. Google Chat could be used for hosting office hours in an online class or holding asynchronous discussions with individual or groups of students.

Research findings from faculty and student interviews and surveys have shown that faculty-student and student-student engagement is one of the main challenges in online courses. Providing opportunities for engage through videoconferences is one way to foster communication with and between students.


Please click below for an audio introduction to Google Chat.


Instructions on How to Use Google Chat

Please click here to download a pdf of the instructional guide to Google Chat.

Technical Requirements and Where to Access Google Chat

Participants must have Google mail (Gmail) accounts in order to participate in a Google Chat conversation. Google’s voice and video plug-ins must be installed in order to utilize the video and voice features of G-chat. See the G-chat Instructional Guide for instructions on installing the video and voice applications.

Go to http://www.google.com/talk/ to get started using G-Chat.


Every e-Tool in the e-Toolbox was reviewed by either a UDI Online Project research and design team member, or one or several faculty at five partner institutions who incorporated a specific e-Tool into an online or blended course they taught. Faculty from these partner institutions also requested that students review the e-Tool included in a course or products created through the use of the e-Tool (e.g., documents, videos, audio clips, or other items). Likert scale surveys with open-ended questions were used by respondents.  Feedback from the reviewing UDI Online team member or faculty who used a tool is presented in addition to student ratings when available.


e-Tool Review Results

Faculty e-Tool Review Results
Number of faculty reviewers: 1

A member of the project research and design team has used this e-tool in a course. Google Chat can be used to hold online office hours. It can also be used to hold synchronous discussions. It has built-in video chat features. The only drawback is that students need to have a Google account to log into Google Chat.