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Communication Tools: What's What...

... and when to use it!


Email is the University's primary communication method; as a member of the University community, you will be given a Cardiff University email address when you register to use the network. Find out more about accessing your email

Communicating Online: Email

Instant Messaging (IM)

Instant Messaging (IM) enables you to exchange messages with another person in real-time. Messages are sent and received immediately.

It's a very informal communication channel - it doesn't replace email but offers a quick and flexible way to contact people without clogging up their inbox or disturbing them with a phone call.

Use IM for quick requests and questions, checking availability for a telephone call or face-to-face meeting at that time, sharing links or a quick chat.

Communicating Online: Instant Messaging


Share ideas, opinions and links using Blogs – and get quick feedback.

A blog, or weblog, is a website, usually maintained by an individual or small team with regular entries including commentary, descriptions of events, with links to other sites. It's a place where readers can comment directly on the entries posted.

With the web evolving into an increasingly social environment, blogs are especially useful to academia as a means of sharing ideas both with open and closed groups whilst at the same time eliciting feedback quickly and efficiently.

They're essentially for personal publishing and so are not well-suited for collaboration. They could be used for consultation, discussion and idea generation.

Communicating Online: blogs


Author content collaboratively with wikis.

A wiki is an online journal but unlike a blog is designed specifically for collaborative authoring.

While a blog tends to focus on a set of entries written in chronological order like a journal, a wiki is a powerful collaborative drafting tool. It can enable people to work on projects as vast as an online encyclopaedia or on something smaller such as a to do list for a project.

With a more open approach to authorship, the content of a wiki can change constantly as it benefits directly from the insight and specialist knowledge of a large group of potential authors.

The content of a wiki changes constantly and so is not a good place to store content or master documents.

Communicating Online: Wikis