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This page is intended to support administrators and instructors in the degree programs participating in the 2023-2024 Slack pilot.

Slack Pilot for Online Degree Programs

Slack can be used for course-related group or individual communication, building community, student group collaboration, and sharing professional information like job postings or networking opportunities. Slack is currently available for courses within the following online programs:

  • LPS Online (SAS)
  • Master of Health Care Innovation (PSOM)
  • Master of Regulatory Affairs (PSOM)
  • MS Animal Welfare and Behavior (PennVet)
  • MS Nonprofit Leadership (SP2)
  • Penn Engineering Online (SEAS)

What is Slack?

Slack is a group and individual collaboration platform. It can be used for text-based chats, or to share images, videos, and files from your device or cloud storage. Slack integrates with Canvas and automatically creates a workspace available to all users enrolled in the course. Students and instructors can all connect to the course workspace to communicate individually or as a group.

Within the course workspace, you can create one or more channels. A channel is a conversation thread about a specific, ongoing topic. Most channels are public, meaning that anyone in the workspace can view and contribute, while others are private to certain users. For example, you might create public channels titled #study-hall or #job-postings, where anyone in the class can post related content. Private channels could be used for students to collaborate on a project with only certain group members. Users can subscribe or unsubscribe to individual channels based on which conversations they wish to follow at a given time.

A huddle is a real-time video or audio chat with other workspace members. You can also create a canvas (not to be confused with the Canvas learning management system), which acts as a digital bulletin board for collecting and sharing multimedia content.

In Slack, you can also send direct messages to an individual, which is useful for communicating information that is confidential (such as grades) or only relevant to a specific person. Note that our instance of Slack is not HIPAA-compliant. Please do not use Slack to share HIPAA-protected information.

If you plan to use Slack in your courses, please contact your main program coordinator or administrative director. If you are unsure who to contact, reach out to onlinelearning@upenn.edu so we can connect you with your program’s resources.

Implementing Slack

Select the option below that corresponds to your needs:

For additional questions about using Slack, please contact onlinelearning@upenn.edu.

For technical support, please contact slack-tech@lists.upenn.edu.