Do The Students Get to Communicate with Each Other and the Teacher?

Yes, the live online classroom has a variety of communication tools. There is text chat which is probably the most common form of communication by students unless it is the lower elementary levels. We also have mic and webcam tools. At the beginning of the school year we have orientations to help student learn to use the communication tools in the online classroom. 

Instructors get pretty good at monitoring the questions posted by students while they are lecturing. If the teacher missed seeing a posted question, there is a hand raise tool that rings a bell to alert them of the chat activity.

Typically, instructors allow text chat among students so long as it is on topic. If the chat begins to stray off-topic among students then they will typically remind students to focus. Tools can be turned off individually and if the off-topic chat continues beyond the reminder the tool is turned off for the individuals to help them focus a little better.

Even when chat is on topic, some students are easily distracted by the sensory changes of the updating chat window. For these students, they have the ability to adjust their chat controls so that only their input window shows and then they can toggle back to chat view whenever they want to. The chat also has an auditory bell that can be adjusted to be on or off under the student's classroom profile. Likewise, the webcam window can also be minimized to hide it from the student's view.

Most instructors will set up a mic and chat room within the classroom for after-lesson social time. The average lesson time will typically allow for around ten minutes of this free social time. Though, it is never guaranteed that there will be this extra time. If you prefer your student not to participate in this social time or only participate to a limited degree, be sure to discuss with them what your expectations are. 

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