The Modules


A Manhattan classroom consists of up to 17 separate areas called modules. Each module represents a slightly different way to communicate with your students.


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 communication:

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: Handouts/Notices, Lectures, Self-tests, Internet Resources, Podcasts, and Grades

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 posted.

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 communication.

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 team.

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 interests.

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.