Cat Facts
Animated GIFs
& Digital Community

Zach Whalen | Associate Professor, ELC | @zachwhalen

Community

A group of people with a shared sense of purpose, values, goals, or attitudes.

Digital Community

Paul Baran, "On Distributed Communications"

What is Slack?

Web browser

Mobile

Desktop

Slack is

  • Instant messages
  • Chat rooms ("channels")
  • File Sharing
  • Emoji
  • Integrations

How we used Slack in DGST101


Slack channels in the client.

DGST101 modules on DGST101.net.

Did Students use Slack?

Total Messages
4,874
Messages by Students
3,574
Average Messages Per Student
30.8
Cat Facts (/catfact)
25
GIFs (/giphy)
559

Did it work?

Yes:

When students made it their own

But also No:

Some students used it rarely or never

Lessons Learned

Slack is Pretty Good At:

  • Immediacy
    Quick responses, a sense of shared presence
  • Backchannel
    Discussion and reactions during class
  • Group Coordination
    Ad hoc channels, group messaging, document sharing
  • Playfulness
    /catfacts /yo /giphy
  • Agency
    Students finding intrinsic motivation to join a peer group by recognizing their own place within that community

Slack isn't Great At:

  • Iterative Collaboration
  • Long conversations with multiple threads
  • Foregrounding Essential Class Information
  • Authoritative Broadcast Messaging

Conclusion

Slack is not Magic