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Have a question about using Slack? Find the answer here! If your question is not addressed below, let us know so that we can add the answer.

Please refer to our Getting Started and Recommended Practices pages for additional information. If you encounter a problem while using your Penn Slack account or course workspace, please contact slack-tech@lists.upenn.edu to receive technical support.

Slack for Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you access Slack through a Canvas site, you won’t need to complete a separate login process after the first time you set up your account. However, you may need to log in if you download the desktop or mobile app. Most members of the Penn community have multiple forms of their Penn email addresses. Your Slack login email is yourpennkey@upenn.edu. You cannot use yourpennkey@school.upenn.edu to access Slack.

Slack has a mobile app that can be used on most smartphones and tablets. To download it:

  1. Go to the location where you typically download apps for your device: the App Store for iPhone/iPad users or the Google Play Store for Android users.
  2. Use the search function to search for “Slack.”
  3. Click “download” or “get,” sometimes represented by a down arrow, depending on device.
  4. Once the app is installed on your device, click it to open.
  5. Click the option to “Log in with email.” Check your Penn email for a verification message and follow the instructions.
  6. If you are using the Duo Mobile app for 2-step verification, you may be prompted to open the app and enter a 6-digit numeric code. You will only need to do this the first time you log in to the Slack mobile app, or if you sign out or switch accounts.

If you access a Slack workspace through its Canvas site, you won’t need to log in separately (after the first time you set up your account). However, you may need to log in the first time you use the desktop or mobile Slack app, or if you sign out or switch accounts. On the Slack desktop app:

  1. Enter your @upenn.edu email (not the email that includes your school name) and select “Sign in with email.”
    Slack sign-in screen with options to sign in with Google, Apple, or email
  2. Check your email for a 6-digit code and enter this code in the app.
    Field to input 6-digit code from email
  3. If you are using the Duo Mobile app for multifactor authentication, you may be prompted to enter an additional code. Open the Duo Mobile app to locate the 6-digit code and enter it in the Slack app.
    Duo mobile screen with example of Slack code

Both the email and Duo Mobile authentication codes expire periodically. If you get a message that the code you have entered has expired, you may need to repeat the login process.

All course workspaces exist within an enterprise account called “Penn Online Learning,” which appears in the top left of your Slack window and is indicated by the logo below:

Penn Online Learning Slack logo

If you have Penn Slack workspaces outside of the Penn Online Learning account, click the logo image in your Slack app or browser version to locate Penn Online Learning workspaces.

Within the Penn Online Learning account, you can access any workspaces you have connected to for your courses. By default, content from all workspaces is displayed. Note that, in this view, you may see multiple channels with similar names. Be sure to look closely at their titles to select the one you need.

Channel menu from Penn Online Learning workspaces

If you prefer to view channels and other content from only one workspace at a time, switch between individual workspaces using the drop-down list that appears below the words “Penn Online Learning” in the web or desktop app (below left), or the expander menu in the mobile app (below right).

Workspace list in Slack desktop app    Workspace list in Slack mobile app

Slack provides many options for alerting you to new activity in your workspace, including notifications in the desktop app, in the mobile app, and/or sent to your email. You can choose to receive immediate notifications for all, some, or none of the activity in your workspace, or only at certain times or situations. Please review Slack’s guide to configure your Slack notifications and use the tabs to select the instructions for your operating system. 

Settings you select in the desktop app or web browser version of Slack will also apply to your mobile device (if using), unless you indicate otherwise. To configure settings in the mobile app that differ from your desktop or web settings, open the mobile app and click your profile picture, select “Notifications,” then adjust your preferences. Specific options may vary depending on the type of mobile device and operating system you are using. You may also be able to adjust your preferences in your device’s system settings.

Each Slack user can individually control when notifications can be delivered. You may manually pause notifications for a temporary amount of time, or set scheduled hours for when notifications may and may not be delivered.

  1. In the bottom left corner of the Slack desktop app or web browser version, click your profile picture.
  2. Hover over “pause notifications.”
  3. Select a time period to temporarily halt notifications, or scroll down to click “set a notification schedule.”
    Profile menu in desktop app with "Pause notifications" indicated, and drop-down option to select length of time or set a schedule   
  4. The preferences window will appear. Select the days of the week and timeframes during which you would like to allow notifications. Notifications will be paused during all other times.
    Preferences menu displaying options for setting a notification schedule.

Any notification schedule you create in the desktop app and/or web browser version will also apply to your mobile device (if using), but this schedule may be overridden by any Do Not Disturb or Focus hours you have enabled in your mobile device’s system settings.

A direct message (DM) is a conversation between yourself and one or more other users in your workspace. Anything that is typed or shared in a DM is private only to the users in that conversation. Instructors, workspace admins, and organizational admins cannot access the contents of DMs that do not personally include them. However, in the event of a serious incident or legal request such as a subpoena, the Slack corporation may release the content of DMs to Penn officials and/or law enforcement, as appropriate. All conversations on Slack, including DMs, should adhere to the standards in Penn’s Code of Student Conduct.

Direct messages are FERPA-compliant. This means that it is acceptable to discuss educational information such as grades in a private conversation between an instructor and an individual student. You may also communicate through other FERPA-compliant tools such as your UPenn email or Zoom, if you prefer.

Direct messages are not HIPAA-compliant. It is not permissible to discuss protected health information in a DM, even if the individual consents. Please use another communication method to discuss HIPAA-protected information.

If you teach in the Master of Health Care Innovation (PSOM) or Penn Engineering Online programs, you can enable Slack from the navigation menu of your Canvas site.

  1. Log in to Canvas and select the course site from your Dashboard.
  2. Click “Settings” from the left side menu.
  3. Click the “Navigation” tab.
  4. Locate the “Slack” item from the bottom group of menu items. Drag/drop or move it into the top group of menu items. Place it anywhere within this top group; these items can be re-ordered based on how you wish them to display for students.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save.”

Instructors in all other programs participating in the Slack pilot must request for Slack to be enabled at the course level. Please contact canvas@pobox.upenn.edu with the course number of your Canvas site and ask for Slack to be enabled.

When you request a Canvas site for an upcoming course, you can choose to have content copied in from a previous Canvas site. If you request to have a previous semester’s Canvas site copied in, and that site had Slack enabled, your new Canvas site will also have Slack enabled. However, you will need to create a new workspace for the new semester’s course.

Access the new Canvas site and click “Slack” from the left side menu to create a new workspace for the course. Any channels you created as default channels in your previous course will be pre-populated in the new one, and network channels will be pre-populated along with their existing conversations and content.