I just got done trying something a little different in our online classrooms. We usually haven't allowed are students the option to chat privately with each other just because they may not be paying attention to our lesson if given the opportunity to chat with one another. I then decided to be brave and allow this.
I taught a lesson on solving system of equations by graphing and had students chat privately about three questions I posed to them before I actually began teaching the lesson. I wanted them to work cooperatively to come up with some ideas together and possibly teach each other something new.
I thought it worked very well. Most of the students were surprised at my suggestion but I think they enjoyed the opportunity to communicate with somebody else even though they were not in the same room they were discussing the same thing.
This may seem very miniscule compared to a regular classroom because this was something I encouraged everyday in my regular classroom, but it is still an unknown territory for our online classrooms. I am excited about trying some other things now that I can have my students chat with each other privately! I also think it made the lesson more engaging!