Communication and collaboration in ManageBac



Learning objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
  • Understand how to use messages to communicate with the entire class or other teachers.
  • Create collaborative tasks using Google Docs or other online collaboration tools.
  • Utilize online discussion forums in ManageBac.
  • Plan, schedule, and host an online live lesson within ManageBac
Image: You X Ventures. Unsplash, 2019.


Communicating with the entire class

Teachers are able to communicate with the entire class through the Messages tool within the system. Posting messages for the entire class will act as announcements or reminders. Public messages are visible for all teachers who have access to that specific class, students, and parents.
Students are able to comment on the messages sent by the teacher. Parents can view messages but are not able to post.
Teachers are also able to post private messages by selecting the private message checkbox. Private messages are only visible to teachers and message authors. All replies will be private as well.
In addition, teachers have the ability to push notifications of posted message to students' emails and also parents' emails if desired. This is done by simply selecting the checkbox for these options before posting the message.
Messages can be stylized and resources can be included such as videos, images, links and tables. The teacher has access to a tool bar to make these enhancements on the message before posting it.


What does collaboration look like in ManageBac?

Student collaboration is important in a learning environment as it allows students to share ideas, learn from each other, and build on their previous knowledge.
In a blended learning environemnt, teachers may assign groups of students to rotate through different stations. Some of these stations may be while working online.

An example of a collaborative task in ManageBac using Google Docs

ManageBac allows for the intergration of Google Docs into an assigned task. Teachers will be able to create a new task that is collaborative in nature, and select the Collaboration category when creating the task.
When selecting Google Docs Coursework submissions, teachers will be able to include/upload a pre-designed template that students can use to collaborate and complete the group task. All students or specific students can be added to this task.
When choosing to add a new template, you can select to assign this document as a collaborative copy, upload the file, then select the students.
Selecting students allows you to design how the group will look like. You can choose to have the entire class as one group or select specific students to create a smaller group.

Using other third-party tools for collaboration

Teachers may want their students to collaborate using other tools besides Google Docs. Links to a collaborative activity can be simply added to a new task and assigned to the students.
Some examples of online tools that can be included would be Microsoft Office Online (Word, Excel, PowerPoint Online), Mindmaps, Padlets, Nearpod.
Explore more examples of collaborative tools that can be included in a task within ManageBac by reading this article.


Have you ever experienced a powerful learning moment only to be interrupted by the bell? Have you ever wished someone had recorded the audio of a debate or conversation in class? Online discussions are a powerful way to keep an archive of the class and student thought process. If something is written down in a forum, it will still be there when students want to review everything at the end of a two-year course. You certainly cannot say the same thing about most live class discussions.
As part of your blended learning model, online discussions are one of the easiest tools to use. Extend the walls and time slot of your classroom by including discussions held on the ManageBac.

The power of online discussions

  • Dynamic and enduring: An introduction to course concepts and terms held in a discussion will still be available and relevant in the review process. Students are able to revisit their learning progress by re-examining what they said earlier in the course and taking note of the authentic learning they can see for themselves. This is a powerful experience for students.
  • Reshape how students communicate online: Teachers have complained for years about the writing habits students pick up when communicating online. Using ManageBac gives you a chance to help students learn to appropriately communicate in an online setting.

Utilizing ManageBac discussions

Teachers can create a task and select Discussions as a category. Discussions can be linked to a specific unit or can be floating. Teachers can also choose to have the discussions assigned as formative or summative assessments.
Moreover, teachers are able to add resources or links within the discussions for additional details or support.

Synchronous live lessons

Scheduling a Zoom live lesson via ManageBac

If your school has moved into a complete remote learning model or blending Day A in a face-to-face setting and Day B in a remote setting, you will benefit from having the ability to schedule and run a synchronous online lesson.
Teachers can plan their live lessons from the tab Streams and Resources. The default system to schedule and host live lessons is Zoom. However, teachers have the flexibility to use any tool they have access to and then link the meeting within ManageBac.
If teachers are using Zoom, prior to the scheduled live lesson teachers are required to:
  • Have a Zoom account
  • Be logged into Zoom either in a browser or have the Zoom application installed on their devices.

Prefer to use other meeting tools?

When creating the online lesson, teachers will have to select "Other online lesson tools" for the Online Lesson Location.
Once the option "Other online lesson tools" is selected, teachers will be able to copy their meeting link that has been created within another online tool of choice and paste it in the text box indicated in the image below.

Joining online meetings

No matter what tool the teacher chooses to create the live lesson, a green "Join Online Lesson" button will appear in the Streams and Resources tab. Simply click on the button and start your live lesson. Students will also see the same button in their Streams and Resources tab.
In addition, students and teachers will be able to see the scheduled live lesson on their calendars and will be able to join from there as well.