Slack. Trust me on this one, Slack is an amazing communication tool! It’s not another social media thing like Facebook or Twitter, and it’s not a glorified email system either. It’s better.
You don’t just have to take my word for it either. There are many chemists who advocate it’s use too. In fact, I first heard about Slack three years ago in a C&EN news article. As a result of the article, the research group I was working in adopted Slack and it was a game changer!
For those of you who have never used or seen Slack check out this video from their website. In short, it is a quick and convenient way to share information and files that would otherwise get lost in an email inbox.
When I was working in a research lab we would use it to make general announcements, such as the status of repair of shared equipment, ask questions or for help to the either the whole group or select individuals, and we would even use the random channel to post fun items or links to interesting articles. Even though we were all in the same office, it was a key communication tool to make sure everyone got important messages and was on the same page.
A rather unexpected, but perhaps even more important outcome, was that it helped us build a stronger sense of community. No more did someone miss out on group lunch because they were working at their bench when it was getting discussed in the office. People felt accessible, even if they were working from home. It was easy to share information with a subgroup of fellow researchers to give updates on progress or to get help troubleshooting a problem. Slack was our new standard communication method, much preferred over email.
Building community is primary goal for using Slack with our Mechanisms instructors! In our Mechanisms Slack Workspace, there is an introduction channel so that you can get to know others using the app. You may have a general implementation question, reach out to other instructors at similar institutions to get their ideas. There is an ALI channel dedicated to our active learning collaborators to initiate discussion amongst practitioners. You may have found a bug in the app, we even have a channel for you to report that – you’ll be amazed at how quickly we respond to fix problems, if we do not know about it we can’t fix it! We also use Slack to post about the latest updates and features of our apps.
We get it, you feel short on time and resources so why add one more thing like Slack? Because, tough jobs, like being an instructor, are a bit easier when you have a community of like-minded supporters.That’s what we are trying to build.
Join us on Slack! Introduce yourself and say hi to others who have already joined. Let’s start some great discussions and build a new personal learning network! ☺