Teaching with Slack

Hey I’m Joshua Batty from the school of Industrial Design and this semester I have been using Slack as a central hub to facilitate learning and communication with my group of honours students. I decided to use Slack in order to cut down on the flood of emails coming into my university email account and also share learning resources with my students in a centralised place. The benefit of this is that links and documents are accessible months after they were shared and not lost to the sink hole of gmail. This is helpful when a link that has been posted earlier in the semester is referenced during a group discussion. In under a few seconds everyone in the group can locate and view the referenced link or file. The speed and accessibility to resources that slack offers has vastly changed how learning is undertaken already for both my students and myself.

JoshAnother really great feature that we have been using is the Google hangout extension. If one of my students can’t attend a group session because they are interstate or overseas then we have been able to start a Google hangout session from within our slack channel. This way they can still attend the class and participate in the group discussions about this weeks topic. We have also been using it on occasion outside of class times when a student needs clarification or advice on research that would be hard to do through text alone.

There are many many many extensions available to integrate within Slack with Google hangouts being just one. Before getting to excited and carried away I think it’s important to use and understand just a few to avoid getting overwhelmed with possibilities. It reminds me a bit like when I first got an iPhone. I probably installed 50 apps in the first week that just ended up sitting on my phone cluttering up screen space never to be used again. Nowadays I try and hone in on just a handful of productivity apps and tools at the start of each semester and then evaluate which ones to continue forward with once the semester has finished. At this stage I honestly can’t see myself going back to email and will continue to further integrate Slack into my learning and teaching activities at RMIT.

(Account provided By Joshua Batty).

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