Keywords: Slack, communication, collaboration, messaging, education, pedagogy
Slack is a new kind of messaging platform that facilitates communication and collaboration between instructors, graders/teaching assistants, and students within a class. What’s different about Slack is that communications for different classes can be centralized and compartmentalized into individual groups called teams. Within each team, messages can be segmented into either topic-based forums called channels or private messages called direct messages. It’s not just about messaging, Slack’s desktop and mobile interfaces both facilitate the sharing of files as well, like images, PDF's, documents, spreadsheets, and in particular computer code. Furthermore Slack allows for integration with many apps, including collaborative tools like DropBox, Google Drive, and GitHub. In this presentation, I’ll outline the benefits of using Slack in the classroom for both instructor and students, present thoughts on how Slack can help foster a more inclusive classroom, and outline potential pitfalls to avoid when first making the transition to Slack. Bring your laptops!