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If you like to communicate in a real time online conversation between users, you could also use the Baobab Chat folder.

All participants must be in front of their computer at the same time (If a common time cannot be found, it may make more sense to discuss the topic within a forum. Then users can contribute in their own time). The chat takes place in a "chat room", a virtual online room also called a 'channel'. Users type their messages, and their messages appear on the monitor as text entries that scroll many screens deep. They can freely send, receive and reply to messages from many chat users simultaneously.

A chat is particularly useful for clarification and sharing opinion. To achieve this, it may be helpful within the working group to agree on an appointment – a specific time – for the chat to take place. The Chat allows for unstructured back-and-forth conversations.

Adding a new chat folder to a working group

To open a chat folder in your working group click on "Manage working group" and select "Folder". In the right-hand section of the work area go to "New".

The "Chat" folder is still selected. Type in the title of your chat and save.

In order display the new folder/s in the left-hand navigation tab, you must refresh Baobab. You can do this by clicking on the F5 key on your keyboard.

Adding a new chat

Select the chat folder for your working group.

Step 1: To add a new chat within the working group, click on the "New chat" button in the action tab. A new chat window opens. Give the chat a title. This field is preselected. Then click on the "Next" button in the action tab.

Step 2: Here you can add a description of the chat. This description is visible when users open the chat. Click on the "Next" button.

Step 3: Now select an author. By default, you are already selected as the author. If you aren't the author, you can now select the working group member who is the author. Add the name of the author in the relevant field. The author will be shown, and you can select them by clicking on their name.

Step 4: Enter the availability period. To do this you can either use the calendar pages or you can type the date in the appropriate field. The availability period determines how long the chat is visible in the working group, and how long it may be searched.

Step 5: Visibility within searches.

Visibility within the search process controls the extent to which the chat may be seen by Baobab users. The various status options are:

a) Visible only for users of that working group: The chat is not visible to other Baobab users. (The chat is visible only to members of your working group).

b) Bibliographical information: All Baobab users can view the author and the title of the chat via the search function. If a user is interested in the chat, he or she may request access by sending a message to the author.

c) Complete: The entire chat can be found via the search process.

Step 6: Allow Recommendation.

Adding a tick here allows the chat to be further recommended to other Baobab users.

Save the chat now. The chat is now visible t all working group members. Using the chat

If users want to take part in the chat, they should click on the "Join chat" button. The chat window will open.

N.B.: If the chat window doesn't open, your internet browser may be blocking pop-ups. You can turn off the pop-up blocker under "Options" in your internet browser. It's also useful to add as a safe site under your internet options.

You can type your text in the lower field. By pressing the enter key or by clicking on the green arrow, you can post your text in the chat for all members to see. The text will appear at the top of the chat window together with your name.

"Active users in the chat" In the right section of the chat window shows which users are currently taking part in the chat.

You can leave the chat by clicking on the X button in the top right-hand corner of the chat window. You will then see the "Enter chat" option In the work area.

Exporting chat history

If you wish to export the chat history, click on the "Export history" button in the chat window. This can be useful for creating a results protocol. The group's decision-making process can also be tracked by members who were unable to take part in the chat.