I have not heard of using Chat as a back channel, but I think it's a great idea, so I look forward to reading the replies.
As for mobile, the chat tool is responsive and does work in the Canvas Mobile app and mobile web. Thanks.
I think there are some big flaws with Chat that users need to know - it's not like a one-on-one chat system, so there should be no expectation of privacy. We've had instructors interested in using it for a sort of virtual office hour, which is fine, but it does mean there really can't be a discussion of grades - it can only be for non-FERPA-type discussions. We actually try to steer those faculty to using a video call (Webex or BBB) instead - maybe one initiated by a request in Chat or email.
Other than using it like you would use a chat channel during a webinar, we really struggled to come up with a use case for Chat where another tool wasn't more useful (usually video call or discussion board). If navigation was customizable at the account level, we'd probably set it to disabled by default.
Typically, I use the chat feature in Canvas to conduct office hours or to answer any questions students have about the course. For major assignments, I email students ahead of time to let them know I will be online at a specific hour to answer any questions they have. It worked out great for me. I also used conferences or Google Hangouts if I have to share my screen with students.
I am curious to find out how others are using the Chat feature though.
Hi Anthony - I've been struggling also to find a compelling reason to use it, particularly as students can't delete their posts and it seems like it would have to be carefully moderated, turned on and off. As you say, webinar might be more helpful. Still, there are some creative Canvasers in this community who have great ideas...
As a teacher, I never use Chat. For office hours I use Conferences (BBB), and for open questions about the course I strongly prefer using a Q&A Discussion so all students can see the questions, see my answers and also participate in answering classmate questions (I actually award extra credit points to student who answer questions). I have hid the link to Chat in all my courses. Although I was excited by a chat feature when we first moved to Canvas a long time ago, I quickly became disillusioned for all the reasons @abunag mentioned above, and perhaps a few more.
As an admin, so few teachers on our campus use it (I am not sure if any do), that like Anthony I would just as soon turn it off.
You don't seem to be getting much help, or at least many positive responses to your question in here. I will tell you that Chat is a feature that needs a lot of love from the Engineers. Over the years there have been many feature requests for improvements to Chat, but so far it has not made it on the road map.
K-12 we have it turned OFF. @abunag pointed out there are too many flaws to use it safely, especially in the K-12 environment. There have been several ideas posted and the one I was hoping for was https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1647?sr=search&searchId=0de5d265-fc57-4fb3-8475-2bb870467bf4&s... and https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8411-chat-tool-improvements?sr=search&searchId=2b7f10f2-58b1-4... but neither of them made it past voting.
We are giving the Instructional Designers area a little bit of love and just want to check in with you. This will also bring this question new attention.
Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment. Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.