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#02-Instant Messenger

February 11, 2002

Instant Messenger is a free utility that allows you to chat with other people on the Internet. I happen to use AOL’s instant messenger, but programs are also available from Microsoft and Yahoo.

LTA Credits

Thomas C. Laughner
Notre Dame University


I discovered Instant Messenger several years ago when I realized that 90% of my students were using it to talk to their friends and family. I now give out my instant messenger name along with my phone number, e-mail address, and office number. There are many ways this utility can be used:

  • Online office hours. This allows you to hold your office hours in the evening when students most need help or are likely to have questions.

  • Preparation for class discussion. Allowing students to begin the process of thinking through questions that will be used in class discussions permits the instructor to accommodate diverse learning styles.

  • General availability. If your students are working off-campus or across campus, using instant messenger allows them to contact you with questions in a much more convenient fashion.

There is some concern that making yourself available via instant messenger means having less time for the other aspects of your job. Simply informing your students when you will respond to instant messenger inquires or having multiple logins, with only one that is made available to your students, allows you to protect your time.



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