Slack – A Communications Tool for the UK HE Digital Community

Background

The advisory group for the IWMW 2017, IWMW 2018 and IWMW 2019 events used the Slack communications tool in planning the events. Our experiences of the benefits of the tool for use by the wider community led top the establishment of the HE digital Slack group which is intended for use by those with responsibilities for supporting institutional digital services in the UK’s higher education community.

A master class session on “A Communications Infrastructure for the UK HE Digital Community” held at the IWMW 2017 event explored communications channels which could be used by the community between IWMW events.

The HE Digital Slack group has subsequently proved popular by members of the community.

Getting Started

For those who have not yet registered on the HE Digital Slack channel, you should visit https://slackpass.io/he-digital and self-register.

Once you are registered you can visit the HE Digital Slack group either by using a web browser or by installing a dedicated Slack application.  The interface on an MS Windows platform is illustrated.

In order to gain familiarity with the service you may wish to join the #random channel and post a welcome message there.

Summary

In April 2023 the HE Digital Slack group had 629 members (up from 465 in October 2019). The group hosts a number of channels including the following:

 ChannelSummaryNo. of members
1#accessibilityTo discuss aspects of Digital Accessibility inc http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/852/contents/made  76
2#content-strategyInspired by Sarah Fisher’s workshop at IWMW 2018, this channel is for people who work with CONTENT to discuss STRATEGY  126
3#designDiscuss great examples of design from the sector. Share what you see.190
4#devopsCoding, infrastructure, systems, Docker, VMs, new tech, etc  95
5#eventsTalk about events relevant to the UK HE Community. Input into events, Suggestions for events, Feedback from events.648
6#front-end-devFor discussing and sharing all things related to front-end web development  99
7#generalThis channel is for team-wide communication and announcements. All team members are in this channel.653
7#governance_and_mgtThis is the channel to chat about themes relating to governance and management: “Management is responsible for running things, and governance is responsible for running in the right direction.”647
9#introductionsTo introduce yourself. If you want to. No pressure153
10#iwmw2017To generate conversations around the IWMW 2017 conference. What have you liked about the conference in the past, what would you like to see this year?552
11#iwmw2018All about the IWMW2018 event. If you have ideas for speakers, topics or the event itself please post them up. If you’d prefer you can also DM any member of the Advisory Group. You can find us all here: http://iwmw.org/iwmw2018/advisory-group/89
12#iwmw2019To plan and promote the IWMW 2019 conference at the University of Greenwich in London (25-27 June 2019) http://iwmw.org/iwmw2019/347
13#jobs_opportunitiesTo share any jobs or professional opportunities, e.g. training  122
14#randomA place for non-work-related flimflam, faffing, hodge-podge or jibber-jabber you’d prefer to keep out of more focused work-related channels.649
15#searchTo discuss search options e.g. Google, Funnelback etc and also other aspects of search such as SEO and analytics 109
16#showcaseWhere you get to show off your splendid work  45
17#training_and_devChannel to talk about training and development. Approaches, Tools, Opportunities and Lessons. That should be plenty  55
18#ux_publicFor all things UX.  91

Note on addition to these channels a number of channels which have a regional focus are available and will be officially promoted shortly. The channels typically start “#regional-region” e.g. #regional-london.

“Slackchat” Meetings

Ahead of IWMW 2019 the event advisory group hosted a number of ‘Slackchat’ meetings which focused on a specific topic and took place for a an hour.

The following Slackchat meetings took place to support the planning of the IWMW 2019 event:

  • Contributing to IWMW 2019” on Monday 21 January 2019 from 15.00-16.00 – see blog post.
  • What Do YOU Want From IWMW 2019?“, held on 11 December 2018 – see blog post.

The following Slackchat meetings took place to support the planning of the IWMW 2019 event:

  • IWMW Slackchat: Contributing to IWMW 2020” on Thursday 24 October 2019 from 15.00-16.00 – see blog post.