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Messaging with Students

Interactive communication tools

The tools we use for communication seem to change daily, but the basic etiquette and functionality stay fairly consistent from tool to tool. GoQuest provides an opportunity for teachers to foster proper communication skills and strategies with students. Check out the Student's Messaging page to learn about messaging from their experience. We recommend utilizing a student contract before implementing the messaging system. A sample contract is in the Resources below.

Creating a Thread

Messages or threads can be utilized for a variety of reasons. It is important to remember that the message board is public to your class. It is not segmented by group. ALL students under a specific teacher can see it.

  • Mass communication with the entire class
  • Sharing of ideas
  • Discussion
  • Sharing of resources with hyperlinks
  • Sharing of resources with file attachments (students can upload too!)

Begin by going to the Messages menu. Then click on the icon to begin a new thread (far left).

This will open up the composition area of the message.

Here you have minimal formatting. You can insert hyperlinks, and you can attach files. Consider the possibilities of what you can do with that.

Extension idea

Locate an activity in the activity search that you would like everyone to view.

Find a short video on YouTube and download it to your computer locally.

Write directions that tell the students how to use the two resources, and ask 1-2 questions students will respond to. Make sure they are not simple yes/no questions. You want to initiate a discussion.

After the discussion goes on for a little while (you determine that time), add another message that sends out an activity for the students to do. Use the file attachment option, or other resources at your disposal. If your file attachment is a word doc, students can type, save, and resubmit in their response to the thread.

Monitoring a Thread

Messages are visible on the Teacher Dashboard at all times - providing easy access (not detailed access). To see the thread and respondents, click on the message in the Recent Class Messages box.

When you first open the message, you will need to use the arrow at the left to expand the actual message board to see all respondents. GoQuest flags new messages with a blue highlight.

To respond to a student, click the reply arrow on their message. This provides you with the usual composition tools.

Note that you also have a delete x. That can be used for inappropriate or unnecessary posts.

Changing your view

There are times you will be in the message board because you are interacting with students. Other times, you may be trying to quantify the experience to provide a grade of some sort. If you need to change your view, on the far right of the actual thread, there are message view tools.

The default view is the chat icon on the left.

Using the person button provides a view by author

Using the clock button provides a view by date

Is it worth the effort?

Absolutely! The flexibility of the tool alone, should be enough to make it tempting to use. But we also want you to consider what students need in the future. According to the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, Communication and Collaboration are skills we should help students develop. They state that students should: 

Communicate Clearly

  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
  • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions
  • Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade)
  • Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact
  • Communicate effectively in diverse environments (including multi-lingual)

Collaborate with Others

  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
  • Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
  • Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member

Communication and Collaboration - P21. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from


Collaboration Expectations and Contract

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