ServiceheiCHAT

Instant messaging service for students and employees of the University

With heiCHAT, the University Computing Centre (URZ) offers all employees, instructors, doctoral candidates and students an instant messaging service based on the Matrix communication protocols. This service allows for encrypted and data-protection-compliant communication in real time via chat and audio/video calls.

You do not need to register to use this service. You can log in with your Uni ID.

The web client website and a mobile or desktop client can be used for communication.

In practice, chat rooms can be used by a virtually unlimited number of participants. Audio and video calls can be made between individual accounts. For audio and video conferences with a larger number of participants, the conferencing service heiCONF is available.

Target group

  • Students
     
  • University employees
     
  • Doctoral candidates
     
  • Instructors

Use

heiCHAT is a service for students, employees, instructors and  doctoral candidates  of Heidelberg University.

  • Communication via the Matrix instance is transport encrypted. You also have the option of activating end-to-end encryption in rooms and direct chats.
  • Data-protection-compliant communication in real time via chat and audio/video calls
  • Use with your Uni ID
  • Web client or desktop/smartphone application element

Students

  • Facilitation of communication and collaboration in e.g. working groups, without needing to give out personal contact information

University employees

  • Functions like chat and video calls for uncomplicated consultations with colleagues
  • Beneficial application for digital teaching: heiCHAT enables instructors to employ interactive teaching activities as well as hold Q&A chats with student and allows students to autonomously organize group work.

Access and requirements

  • The web interface and a mobile or desktop client can be used for communication.
  • You do not need to register to use this service. Login takes place with your Uni ID.
  • To use this service on a smartphone or with a desktop client, we recommend the open-source client element. You can download and install these clients from your respective app store or via the element website.

Technical information

The system is comprised by a server based on the Matrix communication protocol which can be connected to via a client, like, for example, the open-source element. This matrix instance is a server operated by the University Computing Centre This means the data will be saved in the Heidelberg University Computing Centre. There is no connection to the global Matrix server network ("Federation").

  • For chat communication, all element clients have been successfully tested.
  • For using VoIP, the web client and the desktop client (element) have been successfully tested with various browsers and with the operating systems Windows, macOS and Linux (Ubuntu), respectively.

Since the service is continually being improved, we request for your feedback via email, it-service@uni-heidelberg.de, if you experience any limitations or problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Table filters

Table

QuestionAnswer
QuestionAnswer
Are my messages encrypted?Communication via the Matrix instance is transport encrypted. You also have the option of activating end-to-end encryption in rooms and direct chats.
Where are my messages saved?

This Matrix instance is a server operated by the University Computing Centre This means the data will be saved in the Heidelberg University Computing Centre.

Can I contact other members of the global Matrix network?

No, we are not part of the global federated Matrix network ("Federation"). You can only communicate with authorized members of Heidelberg University.

I successfully logged in. Why can't I chat with anyone or create rooms?

To use this service, you have to agree to the Terms of Service and the processing of your personal data.
When you first log in, the server administrator “@administrator:matrix-im.uni-heidelberg.de” will invite you to the room "Server Notices". After accepting the invitation and clicking on the provided link, you will be brought to a site with the Terms of Service and the Data Protection Policy. Please read them carefully, and to confirm your understanding and agreement, please click on “Einverstanden” (Agree).

Why can't I create a public room?

In order to ensure that conversations remain secure and are only read by those who should read them, only closed rooms are allowed on the University's Matrix server. Private rooms cannot be found through the search function, so you can invite users and determine who enters the rooms.