For a number of years I’ve been using Slack with students on both the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. As a new academic year begins, here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years – whether you are a lecturer considering integrating Slack into your teaching, or a student considering using it in a journalism project.
First things first: why Slack?
Slack is a professional chat app used widely in the media industry to organise projects. It has a number of advantages over other options for communicating between colleagues, whether that’s chat apps such as WhatsApp, or traditional email. These include:
- The ability to take control over opting in or out of communications (rather than being endlessly ccd in on unimportant messages)
- The ability to have ‘office hours’ and customise notifications based on your priorities and availability (rather than getting notifications for all communications)
- A particularly powerful search functionality for finding documents or messages from previous communications
- The ability to set yourself reminders
- Automation of aspects of work, such as alerts
When it comes to teaching and learning there are two obvious selling points: firstly it empowers students to manage their own communication (with attendant benefits for mental health).
And secondly, it teaches them how to use an important industry tool. Continue reading