Slack is a messaging platform and my courses will be using Slack as our primary form of communication this semester.
All updates about the class, meeting links, Q&A about assignments, etc. – the vast majority of Slack communication – will happen via Slack.
This isn’t a change brought about by teaching online. Even in the semesters when my courses have met in person, we’ve used Slack.
- Via email, you should have received an invite link to the class Slack. Use that to join.
- Have any issues joining? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get assistance.
- Add your preferred name and a profile photo; as your professor, I have a strong preference for using an actual photo of your face for this account. 🙏🏻
- For any other accounts I ask you to sign up for, this is not a requirement, but it really helps me in Slack.
You can use Slack in your web browser, as a desktop app and/or on mobile devices. I have no preference here – do what works for you. What’s important to me is that you see the notifications I post in Slack and participate. A couple of things you should do to make this possible:
- By default, Slack notifies you for a variety of things; you can configure the Slack notification settings to suit your needs.
- You should also make sure your time zone is properly set in Slack
- Finally, you can turn off all notifications either manually or by setting a notification schedule. I highly recommend setting a default schedule so you don’t get notifications at 2am.
- Bonus: This means that if you send me a DM at 2am, I also won’t see it until after my Do Not Disturb hours. 😴
Getting the most out of Slack
One of the many perks of Slack is that everyone from the class is there – that’s so much better than just emailing me directly because your colleagues may have the same question or – so awesome – may have the answer to your question. For this reason, I recommend that you default to posting in a channel (either #general or the channel for your course) if you have a question. You can always use
@christian in your message to make sure I see it, even if you post it to a public channel.
👉🏻 There are, of course, times when it makes sense to DM me directly. Please DM me at any time and don’t take the above to mean I don’t want you to DM me.
There are some additional things you can learn to do in Slack that will help you get the most out of it.
- Format your messages. Slack includes the ability to make text bold, italic or to make lists; learn more. Also, especially relevant for this course, you can create and share code snippets in Slack.
- You can add emoji reactions to any message in Slack. Learn how. I especially appreciate a thumbs-up to class announcements so I know you’ve seen it. 👍
- Send DMs…to yourself. You can make notes to yourself here. I use it to set myself reminders or save links I want to share to the class at certain times.
- Speaking of reminders, Slack has a built-in reminder system. See the Slack Help Center for instructions on creating reminders.
- Want info on more Slack features? Check out these 19 tips. ✳️
MICA’s guidelines for online etiquette (PDF, 102 KB) definitely apply to this space. Conversation may be casual (I definitely use the occasional emoji myself 😁), but it should always be appropriate and respectful.