Prerequisites:

  • Ability to download the Microsoft Chat software onto the computer you are using (i.e. internet connection, web browser, ability to write new files on your computer, and 3M available disk space)
  • Connection information from your facilitator such as the name of the chat server you will connect to and the name of the chat channel/room to go to.
  • Basic keyboarding skills

Purpose:

To communicate online with other participants and facilitators

Instructions:

System Requirements and Cost

Microsoft Chat is a free software application that runs under Windows 95/98/2000 or Windows NT 4.0. In addition, Microsoft recommends you should also have the following:

Downloading and Installing Microsoft Chat

Microsoft Chat uses the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol. To use it, you need to download the Microsoft Chat software for users. Note that this is not the same system as AOL chat, or MSN chat, or a chat you use inside of a web page!. If you are using these, you will not be able to attend class and talk to your colleagues because they will be using a different system. Instead, please download the Microsoft Chat software using the instructions below.

The file you need to download is 1.8 MB and is called MSCHAT25.EXE. It is a self-extracting archive. We recommend that you print this page, so you can follow the instructions below on this web page while you are using the download site. Download this software from:

MSChat 2.5 - http://download.microsoft.com/msdownload/mschat/2.5/x86/en/MSCHAT25.EXE

  1. A dialog box will pop up asking you where to save the mschat25.exe file.
    1. Select and write down the location on your computer to save the file to so you will be able to find it later. The location it suggests should be fine. Keep the file name "mschat25.exe".
    2. Then click on the Save button. It should take about 10 minutes to download if you are using a 28.8 Kb/sec modem.
  2. Find the mschat25.exe file on your computer and install it.
    1. Double-click on the mschat25.exe to install the Microsoft Chat application.
    2. It will ask you to confirm that you want to install Microsoft Chat. Click Yes.
    3. Then it will ask you to accept license terms. Read and then click Accept.
    4. Then it will ask you where you want to put the Microsoft Chat files. The location it suggests should be fine.
    5. Click Yes when it asks you if it is ok to create the Microsoft Chat folder.
    6. Click Ok to finish.

Connecting to a Chat Server using Microsoft Chat

Next you'll want to connect to your class chat server so you can start talking to other people.

First, establish your connections to the Internet using a modem or network connection. You must be connected to the Internet before you can start chatting.

Then launch the Microsoft Chat program. Now that you have installed Microsoft Chat, you can launch it using the Windows Start button. From the Programs menu, choose Microsoft Chat. If it is not there, use the Programs menu to get to the Internet Explorer menu, and then choose Microsoft Chat. It should be in one of these two places unless you decided to install it somewhere else.

If you get the messages "A device attached to the system is not functioning" and "The cchat.exe is linked to missing export COMCTL32.DLL:initcommoncontrolsex," you have an older version of Windows 95 and need a new comctl32.dll library. Please ask your facilitator for help with this. Instructions for getting an updated copy of the comctl32.dll library are in the README file (near the bottom) that comes in the Microsoft Chat folder.

Now you will see a Chat Connection dialog box. If the Chat Connection window does not appear, you can use the File menu and select New Connection to make the box appear.

On the Connect tab, you will need to enter the name of the server hosting the chat. This information should be provided by your facilitator. The server name shown here is just an example. Remember not to use any spaces in the server name. Note that if your chat server uses the default port number for chats (like 6666 or 6667), adding a port number is not necessary; Microsoft Chat will use these port numbers by default.

You will also need to enter the name of the chat room (channel) you will be using. A chat room is the same thing as a chat channel. Again, this must be provided to you by your facilitator. Please delete the text that says #Microsoft Chat following the Go to Chat Room: text. Instead, put a # followed by the channel/room number your facilitator gave you. There should be no space between the # and the number. Example: #1. Many chat rooms need to be preceded by the # sign. The room named #1 is a different room than the room named 1. So it is important to write it correctly or you may end up in a different room than your colleagues.

Next you will need to configure the Personal Info tab. Click on the tab to make it active (bring it to the front).

You can ignore the Real Name field. Enter your first name or first name and first initial of your last name in the Nickname field and your e-mail address in the next field. The WWW Home Page and Description can also be left blank.

When you click on Okay the program will attempt to connect to the server. You may see a welcome window reporting on the number of users, channels, etc. You can choose to uncheck the box at the bottom of that window if you do not want to see that information. If there is already someone in the chat who has your same first name (the name you used in the Nickname field), you will need to change your Nickname and try to log into the chat again. A good way to change your Nickname would be to use your first name followed by the first initial of your last name.

Chatting in the Chat Room

Now that you are connected to a server, and are inside a room, or channel, you can begin chatting. You should see a window like this:

Notice that the tab with a speech cloud indicates which room, or channel, you have joined. (This is shown with a blue arrow above.) You must also be sure to use Text Mode. (This is shown with a red arrow above.) If you use Comic Mode, you will be sending gibberish along with each message you enter in the chat. If you happen to be chatting with a class that is only using Microsoft Chat, then you can choose to use the Comic Mode.

To begin chatting, type a message in the small box at the bottom of the chat window. When you are ready to send the message you can press the enter or return key on your keyboard. You can also click on the Say button at the right side of the message box. (This is shown with a yellow arrow.)

If no one else is in the chat room, you can still test that your chat is working by "talking to yourself". The text you type into the small box at the bottom of the chat window will be displayed in the larger "conversation" window above, once you press enter or return. Then you know you are chatting successfully!

Whispering in a Chat Room

If you want to say something in the chat room that only one person sees, it is called "whispering." To whisper, you must select someone other than yourself from the chat user list on the right hand column of your chat window. Click once on the person's name to select him/her. Then type in the text you wish to send to them. Finally, click on the Whisper button to send the text. (This is shown with the purple arrow.)

Caution: A casual aside now and then during a class chat/discussion is fine. You will want to avoid having long discussions in the whisper mode during a chat because you might miss the information you came there to learn. You may use the chat tool anytime outside of class chats to talk with other participants.

Switching to Another Chat Room on the Same Chat Server

The chat server has many different rooms/channels you can chat in. We will use this to have different small groups work together in different rooms. To switch and chat in a different chat room:

  1. Leave the current chat room. To do this, use the toolbar at the top of the chat window and click on the door icon with the arrow pointing left (leaving the door). This icon is the fourth icon on the left.
  2. Enter the new chat room. To do this, use the toolbar at the top of the chat window and click on the door icron with the arrow pointing right (entering the door). this icon is the third icon on the left. Then enter # followed by the room number you want to enter. Example: #2. There should be no space between the # and the room number. Then click on the OK button.

Chat Etiquette

If you have not used a real-time chat tool before, a good reference for proper netiquette when "chatting," is Chatiquette.

Common Chat Abbreviations:

Just for fun, here are some typing shortcuts from the ChatNet User's Appendix.

brb  be right back  ppl people
btw  by the way  gmta great minds think alike
afk  away from keys  ic
I see
lol
 laughing out loud  k
okay
rofl
 rolling on floor laughing  bbl
be back later
cya
 see ya  <eg>
evil grin
imho
 in my humble opinion    


Symbols (emoticons) used to show facial expressions:
 :) or 8)  smiley faces
 :( or 8(  frown
 :P  sticking out tongue
 :/  halfway between a smile and a frown
 :{)  person with a mustache smiling
 :*  a kiss


A person's name in brackets indicates you are hugging them; i.e. hugging Mary would be {{{{{{{{Mary}}}}}}}}. The more brackets you use, the bigger the hug.

Permission for printing the ChatNet User's Manual was given by:
 
ELS, Inc.
5200 NW 43rd Street, Suite 102-323
Gainesville, Florida 32606
Fax: (352) 375-5679 Info: (352) 375-0558 E-mail: elstech@elsinc.com