How To Connect to MSU's IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Server for 'Virtual Office Hours'

After the first few weeks of the semester, I'll be holding "virtual" office hours as well as my regular office hours. This is for the convenience of students who cannot make it during my regular office hours (note: for my regular office hour schedule, see the Syllabus for your course; they vary from semester to semester).

Of course, you can still always email me for any help you need. You can also telephone me at 973-655-7305, during my regular office hours.

But 'Virtual Office Hours' may be more convenient for you, if you are at home, or in a Computer Lab, or not near a phone. It's up to you.

Here are the "bare-bones" directions you'll need for our"virtual" office hours. It would be a good idea for you to print out these directions, so you can consult them while on-line.

From an MSU computer lab.

A. Using the mIRC client

1. Find MIRC32. It may be under

"Start-Programs-Applications-Classroom Applications", or something likethat.

2.. Double-click on the mIRC icon to open it up.

3. You'll see a little screen inside the larger mIRC screen. This is the "welcome" screen with the photo of the programmer who made it up. Find the little box at the upper left corner of this little box and click on it to find "Close". Careful not to close mIRC altogether (i.e. don't go to the upper left-hand box of the LARGE mIRC screen behind this little one).

4. You'll be presented with a screen that says "mIRC Setup." Make sure that CHSS is highlighted. This is the server -- the one we will all be connecting to.

[NOTE: if you're using mIRC32 (or any other IRC client program), make sure the port for is 6667. This is important -- because, if you are using the Java applet on a Web browser, you use port 8080 -- the address is:]

That is because the little Java applet that acts as a very basic interface with our CHSS2 IRC server is on port 8080.

B. From Any Web Browser (NetScape Navigator, MS Internet Explorer)

Type in the following URL:

When this page loads, click on the graphic that says "Conference Board". This loads a Java applet (a little program that runs on the Web) that provides you with a very basic IRC client.

From here on, directions for "basic" IRC use are the same for either the dedicated IRC client mIRC or the Java applet client (mIRC and other dedicated IRC clients have many more commands, but we will not be using them here)

5. Now enter your "Real Name", "Email" address, and "Nickname".

For "Nickname" please use your real first name, or real first name and first initial of your last name, whichever. Forget the "Alternate" box. So, if your name is "Fred Smith", please make your "nick" fred or freds.

6. Now click on the "Connect" button.

If you connect successfully, you'll see a message to that effect. It'll look something like this: Message of the Day -

Welcome to CHSS Chat

End of MOT/D Command.

-- something like that.

You'll also see a little screen which gives you a choice of "channels." CLOSE this screen.

From Off-Campus (e.g. from home)

You can use the Java applet interface exactly as described above, once you are connected to the Internet.

If you want to download mIRC -- it is free -- go to the mIRC Home Page or to Tucows or, and look for your operating system (Mac or PC, Windows 3.1 or Windows 95/98, etc.). Then download mIRC.


NOTE: These are general IRC commands. They'll work on all IRC clients, like mIRC, and (most of them) on our bare-bones IRC Java client that runs on the Web browser (not all clients support all IRC commands -- mIRC supports most of them).

You'll need the simplest of commands. ALL COMMANDS BEGIN WITH THE FORWARD SLASH, /.

You'll enter your commands on the bottom line, so make sure you have a cursor there. If you don't, put the mouse there and click to create one.


     /join  #channelname


USUALLY I'll just have one channel going -- #officehrs. Just join in!

NOTE: If we are having a virtual class, you'll know what channel to join by which of my classes you are in: #wl is "World Literature"; #vn is "Vietnam War"; #mel is "Middle English Literature"; #ch is "Chaucer"; #int is "Internet for English Majors"; #fc is "Freshman Composition"; #spl is "Social Protest Literature"; #gh is "General Humanities," and so on.

Once you have done this,  you are in!

You can "emote" with the command      /me  , as in

     /me feels like sneezing.

Everyone reads

(yournick) feels like sneezing.

You can leave the channel while staying on the server with

     /leave #channelname

You can leave the channel AND disconnect from the server with


You won't need any more than this! If you do, ask during class and I will help you.

"See" you in our virtual office hours! | | last modified 13 Sep 99