How do I message my students?

Student Messaging on hiatus from 30 August

On August 30 our student messaging system will go into hiatus. We created student messaging on a really quick timeframe to help you and your students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in doing so, we re-used a lot of the functionality from our tutoring system. Since tutoring is coming to an end, we also have to turn off student messaging so that we can reassess this feature and decide if we should build it out properly.

We hope you and your students made use of this feature. Did you test it out? If you used Student Messaging or would like to use it in the future, we'd like to know. Should we work on improving it and bring it back for you, or are there other features you would rather we work on instead? Email us or respond to our survey on COVID support initiatives (coming in September).

Can I still send Reactions through Live Classroom? Good question! Yes, if you're using the Live Classroom feature to send Reactions to your students, you can still do this. You will no longer be able to "chat" with students via the tutoring button, but they can still see your Live Classroom Reactions from the notification menu.

We've made it possible for teachers to directly communicate with their students using the Grok platform. This is a simple guide for how to get started.

Giving and Receiving Help

As a teacher, you can now directly message your students inside the Grok platform! We’ve expanded our existing tutor messaging system to allow any verified teacher to chat with students at their school. This means you can now:

  • create a new chat thread with a student to offer help, or
  • reply to a question that a student has asked.

Here's what this could look like:

In this example, a teacher (Embrie) has claimed the tutor thread and sent a message to the student (Coryn).

Quick Getting Started

To get started, you'll need to jump into Red View for a particular student problem. You can get to Red View from a number of places, for example:

  • clicking a student progress bar in the Dashboard,
  • clicking any diamond shaped Live Classroom problem activity marker.

For more detail on Red View, see our FAQ on how to view your students' work.

Once you are in Red View for a particular problem, you can send a message with these steps (more on this below):

  1. Click on the Tutoring button to pull up the chat window.
  2. Start a new chat thread, or claim the existing thread.
  3. Type your message and hit Send.

In this next section, we'll go into more detail about how the messaging system works:

Create a new chat thread
Claim an existing thread
Add notes to a thread
Hijack a thread
Release a thread
Who can see your information

Create a new chat thread

If the student has not previously interacted with another teacher or tutor, or asked a question you can create a message to offer help with this problem. Add your message text and hit Send to create the chat thread:

When you create the thread, your full name is shown to the student, marked as a (Teacher), along with a Gravatar icon (if you have set one up, or a generic icon if not).

You will also automatically "claim" the thread which reserves it for you, and will prevent it showing up in the list for our Expert Tutors. (More on this below.)

❗If your screen shows a navy blue bar at the top of the page, you are in personal learning mode -- not tutoring mode. When you create a thread in this mode, you can ask our expert tutors for help with your own learning!

Claim an existing thread

If a thread already exists (for example, the student has asked for help with the problem) you can try to claim the thread in order to send a message:

Once claimed, you are able to send and receive messages with the student.

Add notes to a thread

You can also send a note to a chat thread, which is visible to other tutors or verified teachers for this student. Notes show up in yellow, and allow you to ask questions or leave notes that the student can't see.

You can add notes to any chat thread, even if it was claimed by another. This is a great way to ask another tutor if you can jump in and message your student. Here's what a note looks like to other teachers and tutors:

Hijack a thread

If you need to jump in and answer a question for a thread that is claimed by someone else, you can hijack the thread. This means pushing the red Hijack button, to claim the thread for you:

Our expert tutors will typically ask (with a note) before hijacking a thread, in case a reply is already being drafted by the thread owner.

A staff member will typically hijack a thread if we've received a report of misuse of the chat system by a student. Other teachers and tutors are unlikely to hijack the thread without asking.

Release a thread

You can release the thread manually if you'd like to hand over tutoring to another teacher, or an expert tutor.

The system will also automatically release the thread after a long period of inactivity, or if you go offline altogether. This means that students might be answered by an expert tutor after you've interacted with a student.

If you'd like to avoid another tutor giving help, just leave a note. :)


Students receive live notifications for messages whilst they are actively using Grok, but not once they go offline.

These appear in the top right hand side of the browser window, on any Grok page.

Here is an example notification where the student has sent a message in a thread that you have claimed:

Clicking on the "View it" link will take you to the Red View for the student problem, and open the chat thread window for you, ready to use.

If you are helping more than one student at a time, these notifications will stack up so that you never miss a message.

Once you are offline, the messages disappear -- you won't be notified of messages that happen when you are away, even when you return to the platform.

❗Yes, we're aiming to improve the notification system (but this will take a little time).

Who can see your information

Your messages can only be seen by:

  • Our Expert Tutors engaged by Grok (who already interact with the students).
  • Grok staff members.
  • The student themselves -- note they will see your full name, with (Teacher) appended, like
  • Other teachers who are also verified with the student's institution.

These users can all see:

  • Your full name, with (Teacher) appended.
  • An icon -- either a Gravatar (if you have set one up associated with your primary Grok email address) or a generic icon, if not.
  • The text from your message.

Notes are not visible to the student but are visible to other teachers, tutors or Grok Learning staff.

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