There are a number of ways to set up a private chat online without having to give away any personal details, but one of the simplest and best ways of creating a backchannel discussion room is through TodaysMeet. This is a great tool for the classroom or for giving seminars where participants can join in on the discussion by asking questions, providing links, giving comments, and so on. Here is how it works:
- Go to TodaysMeet and give your room a name by typing in the box labelled ‘Name your room’. This will give you a link starting with http://todaysmeet.com/ and ending with your room name. If the room is unavailable, a red ‘X’ will appear next to the URL.
- Set a limit to how long the room will be available by clicking on the dropdown menu labelled ‘Delete your room in’. You can choose anything from 2 hours to 1 year. Click on ‘Create your room’ to start the discussion.
- On the left side of the screen is the chat message box and on the right is the a box asking for your name. Type in your name and click on ‘Join’.
- Type in your message. All messages are limited to 140 characters. Click on ‘Say’ to send it.
- At the bottom of the ‘Listen’ box, there is a short link to send via Twitter, a link labelled ‘transcript’ and one labelled ‘projector’. Clicking on transcript will give you a URL that you can share the entire conversation with someone else. Clicking on ‘projector’ will give you a centred column view that you can display the ongoing conversation onscreen. Click on ‘Full view’ to go back to the conversation view.