Go to http://www.slack.com to set up your team.
Most of the features you'll need are probably available with the free version. Note that IHEs can get subscriptions for $12/pp/year per team.
You'll need to give SLACK some information about your team. If you already have a SLACK team, then you'll enter your email address (for new users, this will set up a SLACK account).
SLACK will send you an email with a code to enter. This helps to confirm your email address. They'll also ask for your name (first, last) and username for this team. Hint: You can have different user names for each team you participate in (e.g. be Professor Nelson in one team but Terri in another).
On the page where you are asked to invite people, you'll have the option to allow anyone from domains that you list. If you choose that option, then you can have a sign-up URL. The sign-up URL is a great option for classes! List the email domain used by your students (i.e. their campus email)-- the "domain" is the part after the @ symbol. Then put the URL to join your Slack team on your syllabus, in your LMS (i.e. Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle) or on the blackboard.
By clicking on your username (underneath the team name), you can access a variety of tools.
- Set your status: Several suggested status types are available (e.g. In a meeting, Out sick, etc.) but you could also type in your own status à la Facebook: Tired of grading, Enjoying summer vacation, Back on August 15, etc.
- Profile & account: Edit your information here, including your photo
- Preferences: Links to your online account page. You can customize 7 categories. (1) Notifications: You can determine when & how notifications are received or set Do Not Disturb hours. (2) Messages & media: Customize the presentation of information (applies to all team members). (3) Sidebar theme: Choose your favorite color scheme (applies to all team members; two "accessible" color schemes are provided). (4) Search: Choose which channels can be searched (if you don't want Slack to search all channels). (5) Mark as read: Slack can help you keep track of what you've read and what you haven't yet read! (6) Accessibility options: Zoom preferences and Animated Emojis (off/on) (7) Advanced: Even more options.
- Set yourself to away...: Slack puts a green dot next to team members that are currently logged in. If you choose this option, you can lurk unseen.
- Help & feedback: More information.
Managing your team
Besides inviting (or disinviting) team members, you can change a variety of other things about your team's Slack interface here.
- Team Settings: This will take you to the Settings & Preferences for your team account (on the Slack website). Four tabs are available:
- Settings: Many, many options are available here. Some of the options are only available to paid plans. Particularly useful to the classroom setting are: (a) Team Sign-Up Mode: Distribute a URL to have team members sign-up. (b) Username Guidelines Do you have any specific way you want them to create their usernames? (N.B. Team members can change their usernames later– very helpful for role-playing!)
- Permissions: Choose who has access to what. A link to Statistics about your team is found here.
- Authentication: You can force everyone to reset their passwords. (Paid version only.)
- Attachments: Slack automatically posts an image ("preview") when someone posts a link to a youTube video, URL, etc. Don't want anyone posting links to Wikipedia (or any other website)? You can blacklist specific domains here!
- Apps & Integrations: Slack can link to a lot of other websites and tools. Favorites include:
- Google Drive: Create a team Google drive for collaborative work.
- Google Calendar: You can create automatic notifications for events on a Class Calendar. I had Slack send out a weekly notification every Sunday PLUS another notification 48 hours before an assignment was due!
- Polling apps: if you don't want to limit yourself to multiple choice polls based on emojis, there are a wide variety of free and paid apps to conduct polls on Slack.
- MailClark: This app will allow people to email messages directly to specific Slack team channels.
Customize your team!
- Emojis: Need a guillotine? a syringe? a microscope? or some other emoji? Upload your custom emojis here!
- Slackbot: Create automatic responses to words in posts. For example, if someone types "achoo", you can have Slack respond with "Gesundheit!" :-) I have Slackbot responses for (a) due/due date – provides a link to the course calendar, (b) bonjour – Slackbot replies Bonjour! Ça va?, (c) game bulletin – Slackboat provides information about this course item.
- Loading Messages: Slack has motivational quotes while it loads. Why not change those to trivia related to your course subject? Vocabulary definitions? Other info? Hint: Keep the items relatively short because Slack usually loads quickly.
- Team Icon: Upload an image to represent your team here. (I've used a cocarde to symbolize the French Revolution game.)
Type in your search term or use one of the preset items suggested here. Note that "Mute [channel]" turns off Notifications for a specific channel. It does not close the channel to users.
Three vertical dots
Get quick access to Your Files, All Files, Team Directory, Help, What's New (in Slack) and Downloads.
The Right sidebar provides quick access to channel details, pinned items, member list, shared files and notifications.