A Manhattan classroom consists of up to 17 separate areas
called modules. Each module
represents a slightly different way to communicate with your
A classroom should never use all sixteen modules. As the teacher, you can choose to use whatever modules are
appropriate for your course at a particular time. One way to
approach an understanding of the modules is to consider who
can add a message to the module, and who can read those
messages. Let's consider these lines of
One to many - from teacher to students
There are many situations when you simply want to make
some message, file, audio recording, movie, other information or learning materials available
to your students. Several modules provide this capability:
Self-tests, Internet Resources, Podcasts, and
Only the teacher can post messages to these modules.
Students can read the messages, but cannot add new messages
in these modules, or reply to messages that the teacher has
One-to-one private communication
Manhattan's Post Office module essentially is
an email system open only to members of the Manhattan
classroom. It is intended for one-to-one private messaging.
A student can write to you with a personal request, for
example, or you can send a student a private message about
their grades. Students can also send each other private
messages using the Post Office.
Just as in ordinary Internet e-mail, you can also send a
Post Office message to more than one person, so strictly
speaking it is not only for one-to-one communication. In
fact you can send a Post Office message to everyone in the
class, but there are better tools for that type of
Many-to-many public forums
Manhattan's discussion groups include the Class
Discussion, Student Lounge, and Anonymous
Discussion modules. Anyone, student or teacher, can
post a message in these areas and the messages can be read
and replied to by anyone in the classroom.
The teacher can also divide a class into teams for the
purpose of collaborating on projects. Two other modules,
Team Discussion and Team/Teacher
Discussion, support this team work. Messages you post
to these areas are seen only by other members of your
While not a forum, the People module allows
members of the classroom to share personal information
about themselves, such as a photograph, their email
address, and a narrative describing their background and
One-to-many, then one-to-one private communication
In a traditional classroom the teacher may hand out a
homework assignment to the class (one-to-many), and then
engage in a private dialogue with each student as they hand
in the work and the teacher responds with feedback.
Manhattan's Assignments module facilitates this
process within the online classroom.
Only the teacher can post a new Assignment, and that
assignment can be read by all of the students (one-to-many
communication.) However beyond the initial assignment, all
messages are private, one-to-one communication between the
student and teacher.
Manhattan's Surveys module allows the teacher
to design and deliver a survey to students in the
classroom. The anonymous responses are collected by the
teacher for analysis.
Synchronous Chat: many-to-many and more
And then there's Chat. All of Manhattan's other
modules are asynchronous communications tools.
Students do not need to be sitting at their computer logged
in to their Manhattan classroom in order for you to send a
message to them via the Class Discussion module, for
example. You can post the message when you happen to be
logged on, and your students will read it, and maybe
respond to it, the next time they happen to log on.
Manhattan's Chat module is a synchronous
medium. You can only chat with others if they are logged
on, and in the Chat module, at the same time you are. In
most cases, the short messages typed while in Chat will be
seen by everyone in the room (many-to-many). However
advanced users of Chat will find they can have private or
team conversations with the tool as well.