Slack is an online messaging platform that allows you to create private workspaces where you can conveniently organize conversations, share files, and search conversations for answers. Designed to replace the need for email, it’s a tool that is very popular in industry and at companies with a distributed workforce. Students who have been introduced to Slack during their summer internships or for courses at Harvard are increasingly using it to organize their clubs and extracurriculars.
Slack is now automatically integrated into your course Canvas site; you can activate by clicking on it in the navigation menu that runs down the left side of your Canvas site and following a few quick directions. A how-to guide is available here; if you encounter any difficulties activating Slack, please contact Academic Technology for the FAS.
Why should I consider using Slack in my class?
- It is familiar and friendly to students. Many students have used messaging platforms, and the format is more natural for conversation than Canvas message boards.
- It’s asynchronous. Students can post and respond to each other from any timezone, and can pick up conversation threads whenever they are ready to engage with the class.
- It aggregates conversations and information. As an instructor you can see all of the conversations from the class and all sections in one place. And students can opt in to the channels they need, such as the channel for their section or group project.
- It can bring students together. Students can post course related news stories and resources as they come across them.
How can I use Slack?
The Bok Center has prepared instructor- and student-facing guides to using Slack in your course environment:
- Faculty-facing resource. How can I set up a workspace for my class? What kinds of functionality are available to me, and how can I use them well? Can I integrate Slack with other apps that we use in my course?
- Slack tips for students. How can I use my course's Slack environment to interact with my instructor(s) and peers? To complete group projects? To help me learn?
For more customized guidance on creating a Slack environment for your course, please contact our Learning Lab team.