It took me a long time to find a good tool to communicate with students, in class or after class.

I am teaching design studio and design studies. Both classes have a high demanding on communication. Unlike Dropbox, Blackboard or any other sharing platforms, SLACK is not simply about upload files and storing content yet it also has the document sharing function.

Compared to Facebook, SLACK is a good environment to engage and communicate with students without too much “noise”. Other than delivering course outlines and teaching materials, students and I use Slack mainly for interaction. They can easily get feedback by dragging to upload.

We also use it for in-class activities so I can start a topic for students to explore online. Everyone can share interesting findings and ideas for a quick discussion.


image00Screenshot of sharing findings from my design study class_laptop and mobile phone

Once one student is writing and posting their ideas, remarks and thoughts online, everybody can read and respond in their own pace. I can also compiling and posting web references, videos and articles for my students regularly because it’s so easy to do without influencing my workflow.

It also create a way for student collaboration which is essential for design studio. Students can create a private chat to have a group discussion, sharing ideas and doing concept development. They can also post their ideas into public channels and ask feedback from each other.

However, personally, I feel SLACK itself is not perfect in terms of student submission. Sometimes I have more than one student submit and I would get notifications from my mobile phones. If I open them from my mobile phone, it would be difficult to locate them from my computer. Even the information about who delivered and who did not is not that easy to find out. I need to search their names one by one.

A good solution for this is to borrow other platforms. Slack can integrate with a variety of apps. For submission, I use google drive and Dropbox yet I still integrated slack for notifications. Once students upload their work, I will get a notification from slack. I also have Slack linked to Asana, which is a project management app. Similarly, I got notifications if someone in my team complete certain tasks.