Digital communication in a course, and in a professional team, can be tricky. Email can quickly overwhelm a group with repeated message, irrelevant reply-all, and a significant overhead in busy-work. Native Blackboard Learn discussion forums can also make it difficult to share files, snippets of code, and breaking out into private discussions. In the last few years, Slack has been conquering the field of professional team communication. It has also been used in online courses. A few more examples: political science course, digital history. There are many reasons why Slack is being adopted, but I will list the top 7 reasons.
- Slack discussions happen in one place and can be divided into Channels for specific topics. Users can be assigned to as many (or as few) channels as needed. A balance is kept between clarity and complexity. The discussion maintains transparency and users can effectively identify relevant messages.
- Slack integrates with important systems like GitHub, Trello, and many others. Full list is available at https://slack.com/integrations
- All content can be searched through one search control.
- Files can be easily shared.
- Code snippets render well and are easy to share (very important in computer classes).
- Team discussions can be quickly switched to private discussions.
- Slack is fun on any device.
Learn about Slack on Lynda.com
You can now place a link to your Slack workspace in Blackboard Learn as well as invite your class through this REST API integration. In addition, you'll know which students in your class have already joined Slack and who needs a reminder.
System administrator instructions:
(please note that you can specify your own REST Application ID, if you want to have multiple levels of access. This allows you to have the instructor create a dev account, give you an App ID, then you link that instructor Blackboard ID to the REST Application ID. This means you don't have to grant any permissions or configure our REST Application ID)
REST Application ID: cc908933-00d0-4143-87be-47aee29ed984
LTI domain: apps.dataii.com
LTI URL: https://apps.dataii.com/bb/slack/
Minimum Bb version: 3000.1.0
Instructor Control Panel:
Slack analytics in a Winter 2018 course:
For computer courses sample code snippet formatting in Slack:
What can you integrate in Slack?
To use a custom system role for the REST API user you'll need 3 privileges:
Administrator Panel (Organizations) > Organizations > Edit > Enrollments
Administrator Panel (Courses) > Courses > Edit > Enrollments
Administrator Panel (Users) > Users Administrator Panel (Users) > Users
If one of your students is in the course, you'll see a 404 error for this user. That's because system users cannot be looked at with api. That's sort of bug/functionality.