As we start the first week, here are some ways to you use Slack that will make class run better. Please apply them or ask questions over Slack if you have them. Make sure you’ve already read the syllabus, the Class Reading Activity (CRA) post, and logged into Slack before reading this post.
Each channel in our Slack workspace is for a particular kind of conversation. The CRA channels should be self explanatory — the work of those activities gets posted there. Here is a list of the other channels, and what we should use them for:
- #announcements will serve as a place mostly for me to post official announcements of blog post links and general class information. All of the posts here will come from me.
- #general will serve for general conversation about the course. Feel to use this channel for quick communication.
- #random is a place to connect ideas from outside of classes to our work. Don’t assume everyone is going to see it, but #random is a good place to let us know about a news story, book, or movie that you’ve seen that you think others might like.
- #help is where anyone can ask questions in a public way for me (or anyone else) to answer. I usually pay close attention to this channel so that I can answer things quickly, but everyone should feel free to jump in and help if they know the answer (example: “I know Pete changed that due date, what was it?” .. “He changed it to Friday; you can find it on the blog”). I just created this channel today, so when you’ve read this, can you click the Channel button on the left side of your Slack screen and join that channel please?
- Other channels will be created later for the major assignments and other unexpected directions that the class might take.
Direct Messages (DMs)
You can directly message me or anyone else the course via DMs. In order to do this, click the plus symbol next to “Direct Messages” in the left hand tool bar and search for the person. This is especially helpful when you are collaborating with someone on an assignment. It’s also good if you have a quick, short question for me about something. I get DMs to my phone, and try to answer them relatively quickly M-F between 9am and 3pm. Outside of those times it might take a couple of hours or half a day. If you have a complicated question, it’s better to email me (pete at kennesaw dot edu). If you’re DMing me a question pause for a second to consider whether other people would benefit from the answer too; if so, put it in the #help channel. You can also put several people on a DM message chain, creating group chat.
Using the @ feature
If you want to tag someone, respond to someone, or get their attention in a public message (in a Brainstorm message, for example), click the @ sign and start typing their user name. Slack should give you a list of people in class matching that user name. My user name on our workspace is @DrPete. Remember: there’s a difference between DMing someone and @ing them — DMs are private and @s are public.
Slack allows you to add a reaction to any message in any of the channels. There are LOTS of emoji looking options; feel free to be creative and inventive. I usually use the space invader one (for lots of reasons, feel free to ask in class) or the big green checkmark one to denote where I left off grading/checking things in. It’s really useful for me if you add a reaction to announcements I’ve sent (any emoji choice you want) to let me know that you’ve seen and understood something. Especially for time sensitive information, it’s useful for me to see how quickly people are seeing information.
If you have not visited the settings in Slack, you may not be getting notifications when I post things. You don’t need to get a heads up whenever anyone writes anything into our workspace (that would be crazy), but the settings allow you to get desktop or phone notifications for a range of different things. The best things to get instant notifications are: anything posted to #announcements, anything posted to #help, and anything posted that includes your @username or @everyone .