The ability for students and instructors to interact in real-time on an ad hoc basis is important for community building and sense of belonging (and to ameliorate the "I"m out here all alone" feeling of online learners who never "go to class". Also, the only option students have for contacting one another initially is via email. In today's world, email is not the first thing students reach for for communications. They are used to chat/IM. BB IM is woefully cumbersome and out of date. Moodle and Canvas have this built-in chat functionality. Why has this functionality been neglected by Blackboard?
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