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Conversations FAQs for Staff





Are mentors and mentees notified when their other half sends them a message via Conversations?

When pairs are on the platform they will be able to quickly see if they have a new Conversations message by looking at the notification icon in the menu bar. 

In addition, pairs will receive an email notification to their personal email address with the subject "You have a new Conversations message from ____!" with the name of their match in the title. To limit the number of notification emails mentors and mentees receive, we will not send email notifications for 45 minutes after sending the first notification. This will allow mentees to send multiple messages during class and for pairs to have an active discussion without being overwhelmed with email notifications.

Will Conversations appear on all mentee/mentor pages or just on the Current Lesson page (eg. Calendar, Lessons, etc.)?

Conversations will appear on all the new pages of the platform that mentors and mentees use. They can use it on Lessons, College List, and any future pages that are built.

When you add content to Conversations, will it stay there forever?

Yes. Conversations will be a continuous scroll experience. As you scroll “up” through your conversation history, your past conversations will load. 

How will mentors and mentees be able to find previous messages in Conversations?

There will be a search icon that will let you quickly find references in your messages within Conversations. For example, searching for “museum” would pull up the messages where the pair discussed a museum.

What can mentors and mentees exchange through Conversations?

In addition to written messages and emojis, mentors and mentees can also attach and share the following file types: Word, PDF, PowerPoint, jpegs, etc.


Will Conversations count as participation?

Yes. Conversation messages will all count as participation.

Which is the priority for our pairs to complete? Lessons or Conversations?

The priority will continue to be completing what is on Lessons. Staff members should manage towards their pairs completing the weekly lesson as the main priority.

Can we turn Conversations off until mentees complete their Lesson?

No. Completing the Lesson is the goal in class and the flow of class sessions should continue to be designed and implemented with that in mind. Conversations is designed to be a flexible space for staff and pairs to use as needed. This can be a powerful communication tool for pairs inside and outside of class. There are several options in which Conversations could potentially be a structured part of the weekly class experience. Example: Staff will encourage students to complete their weekly Lesson first and then use the remaining time to connect with their mentor in Conversations. The age of the students and the amount of time for the class may influence the strategy for that staff member. We will provide a variety of use cases in future training materials.

What if the mentor happens to be logged in and conversing with the student during class?

If the student has completed their weekly Lesson, then conversing with the mentor can be encouraged. If the student has not completed their weekly Lesson, then the staff member should direct the student to finish their assignment before engaging in Conversations. In NYC, staff members often help students focus their attention on the lesson instead of texting back and forth with their mentor. In addition, coaching can be provided to the mentor thanking them for their enthusiasm, explaining the goals of the class session, and, if appropriate, giving them a specific time within the class session where they can log in and converse in real time without compromising the objectives of the lesson.

How are we training staff members to coach mentors to write in Conversations?

Staff members will be trained to let their mentors know that Conversations is a flexible space for communicating with their mentee. 

How are we training mentees on what to write in Conversations?

The Program Design team will be providing a mini-lesson for staff to teach in the classroom when Conversations go live as well as a short “Welcome to Conversations video” that will be appropriate for both mentors and mentees.

What will it be like the first time a mentor or mentee uses Conversations?

The Platform team will debut Conversations with one message already present for every user. When the mentor or mentee logs into the platform after the release, the message icon will appear with one new notification in the toolbar on all pages of the platform. Upon opening Conversations, the mentors and mentees will see a message that will say, “Welcome to Conversations. This is a new tool to exchange messages as a pair. Want to learn more? Click here.” 

Are there specific expectations for the frequency with which mentors and mentees use Conversations? Should the staff member be encouraging use or following up with pairs that are not using it frequently?

We encourage pairs to use Conversations to build a healthy relationship. Encouraging the mentors to use the tool on a weekly basis, without holding them to specific requirements, could be a great way to get mentors into this relationship-building habit. 


Where on the platform can staff members see Conversations content and what it looks like?

Snapshot displays both Lessons and Conversations participation over the last three lessons. In addition, Flipbook is a simple way to read all of the content that mentors and mentees write in Lessons and Conversations.

How will staff members use Conversations in their pair support? Are staff members expected to monitor all conversations for safety and to inform pair support?

Staff members should be monitoring all Conversations messaging for safety and to inform pair support. The best tool for reviewing unread messages will be Flipbook. 

How are attachments monitored?

The staff person will be able to click to open the attachment when reviewing the conversation in Snapshot or Flipbook.

How will alerts work?

Keyword alerts continue to work as normal. Read up on Keyword alerts here.