Groups in Slack

Slack is a platform for collaboration.  Better than trading messages and attachments via email, it allows groups to create teams and communicate through “channels” that users can create as they go. Participants join (or leave) a particular channel as needed; threaded conversations can be linked to Google documents or other shared resources. Slack channels thus reflect the developing sense of a conversation (something like Users can set to be notified of updates to conversations. 

Slack could be used as a synchronous discussion complement to a simultaneous Zoom meeting (better than the un-threaded Zoom chat), or as an synchronous or asynchronous space of it’s own where a class or small group could sustain a conversation over several hours or days.  It’s even possible to launch Zoom calls from within Slack, thus allowing students to move from written to oral conversations as needed.

Learn more about Slack via Linked In.

Pros:  Free (sign-up required).  Better than Zoom chat, because conversations are threaded and can be linked to other documents and resources. 

Cons:  Not integrated with Moodle; Faculty would need to invite (or accept requests) from each student to join the Slack Group at the outset.  

Expert:   Richard Freedman, Ben Le, Andy Janco, Mike Zarafonetis

Peer Review with Moodle Forum

Moodle Forums provide a quick way for students to offer written commentary on each other’s ideas (as expressed in the rorums themselves or perhaps some other shared content they provide within Moodle or via some other platform. Students can start a thread with their work and ask others to reply with comments. Davidson College has created some nice instructions for doing peer review in groups with the forum

(If you are interested in peer review and revision linked to specific passages in a student’s work, you might instead want to use Google Docs, which allows for extensive commenting and editorial suggestions. However, if you have Bryn Mawr students, this might not work as well; Bryn Mawr does not give out Google accounts.)

Expert: Sharon Strauss

Small Group Work in Moodle

Moodle will let you break your class into groups for collaborative work. These groups can then be used for discussion forums, Moodle assignments, and other activities. 

If you plan to have different sets of student groups for different activities, and to use the gradebook, you’ll need to also set up groupings of groups.  UMass Amherst has instructions for creating Groupings.