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GradForms Messenger FAQ

What is GradForms Messenger, in a nutshell?

Messenger is an app for your Android phone or tablet which allows teachers to keep in touch with students and parents, wherever they are. Each student and parent signs up for an account on a webpage that is personalized to the teacher, where they can send and receive messages.


Why use Messenger?

Most teachers use email to communicate with students outside of the classroom. There ends up being a lot of clutter, which Messenger can alleviate by keeping communication with your students separate. Best of all, you can access Messenger anywhere, as well as receive notifications when you receive new messages. Set it up once, and let the messages come to you in a safe and secure manner.


What is GradForms?

GradForms is a tool for teachers and yearbook coordinators to collect information from students and parents by setting up rich, interactive forms. One of the features of GradForms is Message Center, a module for communicating with students and parents in an instant-messaging style. With Messenger, we are bringing this module as a standalone app to your Android phone or tablet.


Do I need to worry about GradForms to use Messenger?

Absolutely not. Although you need a GradForms account to use Messenger, you don’t need to know anything about the rest of GradForms (that is, unless you plan to make advanced customizations). Messenger is a standalone app, but if you do have the time to learn about GradForms (we have a step-by-step tutorial for that), we believe that you will enjoy using Messenger even more.


What about yearbooks?

GradForms was originally designed for yearbook coordinators. It has since incorporated many features that other teachers may find useful in the classroom. Messenger is primarily designed for the latter, though there are creative ways to use it for yearbooks. For example, you can coordinate with parents when collecting parent dedications for the yearbook with this app.


Why do I need to create a GradForms account?

Creating an account lets us keep track of schools and teachers, and lets you access your messages from any device. Your GradForms account gets you access to Messenger, as well as GradForms in the browser.


Where do students and parents go to view messages I send them, and to reply?

They go to a webpage personalized for you. For example, if you are Mr. Smith at Concordia, you can set up a webpage called You provide the name, and we’ll do the rest.


Do students and parents need to create accounts?

They need to create a student/parent account under your personalized webpage. It takes less than a minute, and the accounts are not permanent and can be deleted on GradForms. Note that they do not create GradForms accounts, rather just a student/parent account that works only on your webpage.


Is Messenger for students and parents as well?

No. Messenger is for teachers. Students and parents can access your messages and send you messages using a browser on their phone, tablet, or computer.


Why isn’t there an app for students and parents?

It’s not reasonable to ask all of your students and parents to download an app to communicate with you, since not everyone has a smartphone or a tablet. A browser-based interface allows them to use any device to communicate with you. As well, many schools have a no-cellphone policy that lessens the utility of such an app in the classroom.


Is Messenger free?

Messenger is currently free to use. However, GradForms (accessed through the browser) is a freemium product, so if you want to use advanced features in GradForms, you may have to pay a nominal charge depending on your class size. Note that this does not currently affect Messenger; you can keep in touch with all of your students regardless of class size.


Can I send a message to multiple students and parents?

Yes. Just select more than one recipient on the compose screen (or choose “TO STUDENTS” or “TO PARENTS” to message all students or all parents, respectively). On Android 5.0 and above, the number of recipients you have selected will be displayed. On Android 4.4 and below, the name of one of your recipients will be shown.


Can I send email a copy of my message to students and parents?

Yes, if you have selected to collect their email addresses when they create accounts. You can change this in Menu > Registration on GradForms (through the browser). This feature is currently in beta.


Why aren’t my students getting my emails?

It may be in their spam folder. It has taken us a long time to optimize the emails Messenger send so that they won’t be marked as spam, but it still happens from time to time. Note that the content of your emails are taken into consideration (e.g. spam filters love to flag messages with the words “click here”).


Can I read messages offline?

Not through this app. However, if you know that you will be offline for a while (e.g. if you will be taking a flight), simply copy and paste all of your messages into a memo app. Unlike many other message apps, we let you copy multiple messages at once. Just touch and hold on the text of one message, then move the pointers to encapsulate the messages you want to copy.


Can I receive notifications for new messages?

Yes, and it’s on by default. You will receive a notification whenever a student or parent sends you a message.


Does the notifier use up a lot of data and battery?

We are using a push notification system, which should be easy on the battery and your data plan. If you want to disable data use while your phone is connected to cellular data, go to the Settings app > Data usage > Messenger > Restrict background data.


I don’t have my phone or tablet with me. Can I check and send messages using a computer?

Yes. You may use GradForms through the browser at Go to Menu > Message Center. Everything that can be done in Messenger can also be done via the browser. Note that using GradForms through the browser with large class sizes may require you to purchase add-ons.


How do I prevent students and parents from sending me messages?

Go to the Misc. tab, then touch “Turn off replying”.


Can I organize students into classes?

Yes, you can do so in the Classes tab. Then, when you want to send a message to the entire class, just choose the class when you are selecting recipients rather than the students individually.


Can I organize students into classes?

Yes, you can do so in the Classes tab. Then, when you want to send a message to the entire class, just choose the class when you are selecting recipients rather than the students individually.


What's "self-enrollment"?

If you have self-enrollment for a class turned on, when students create an account on your GradForms page, they can declare that they belong in that class. If you have self-enrollment for a class turned off, then you must add students manually in the Classes tab (or in GradForms through the browser).


How do I change how my webpage looks?

This is done through the Styling module in GradForms (through the browser).


How do I change the welcome message on my webpage?

This is done through the Welcome Screen module in GradForms (through the browser).


How can I restrict my webpage to be used only by those in my class and their parents?

You can restrict access by uploading a class list through the Class List module in GradForms (through the browser), then turning on AutoRestrict (in the same module).


Many parents don’t know their son or daughter’s student ID. How can I allow them to not provide one when creating an account?

If you have uploaded a class list through the Class List module in GradForms (through the browser), then just turn on AutoComplete (in the same module). Now, parents can just enter the name of their son or daughter when creating an account, no student ID neceessary.


What if a student or parent has forgotten his/her password?

Passwords can be changed through the Change Password module in GradForms (through the browser).


What if I have forgotten my password?

You can reset your password on the Yearbook Labs log-in page via the browser.


Can I mark messages that I like, or those that I want to come back to later?

Yes, by tapping on the heart icon for the message you would like to mark as favorite. Then, you can view only favorite messages by tapping on the heart outline near the top of the screen.


Do files I send/receive via Message Center in GradForms count toward my quota?

No. You can send and receive an unlimited number of files up to 10 MB each, but they will expire after 30 days. Expired files will no longer be accessible, so be sure to download any file you receive.


How can I receive files from students and parents without them expiring?

You can set up drop boxes using GradForms via the browser.


What about Amazon Kindle Fire tablets?

Messenger can be downloaded from the Amazon Appstore on the following tablets:

  • Kindle Fire (1st Gen)
  • Kindle Fire (2nd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD 7 (2nd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9 WAN (2nd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Wifi (2nd Gen)