Here are a few tips for using the chat. First check your Zoom settings. The host can allow attendees to chat with no one, with the host only, everyone publicly or everyone publicly and privately. So make sure you have it set accordingly to best serve your purpose.
Think of the chat function as a way to keep participants engaged. Suggest that questions be dropped in the chat, especially if you have a large group. You can also encourage participants to add their perspective on the topic being discussed in the chat for everyone to see. This allows for more opportunity for engagement between cohort members.
If you are facilitating a section and what participation from the cohort, use the chat as a place to share individual answers to a question. Participants can share at will or ask participants to prepare their answer and then counting down, have everyone hit <return> to share at the same time, not before. This way no one can see what others have answered and it eliminates bias towards perceived answers as right or wrong.