Slack Discussions

Slack is where this course happens. To benefit from the course, you’ll need to interact with me and your classmates — and this platform gives us a way to do that transparently (so that everyone has access to the same information and can exchange ideas) without further clogging up everyone’s bulging email inbox.

So — take part. Respond to the questions I post. Engage with your classmates. If there’s nothing on the page that inspires you, start your own channel (you get Custom Assignment points for that…). If you contribute to the ongoing creation of a community, you get 10 points every 3 weeks. If you don’t, you don’t.

That may seem frustratingly vague — you, quite reasonably, may what to know what you need to do to guarantee that you’ll get full credit for this course component. I get that.

The goal here is productive and organic conversation — like we’d have in a face-to-face version of the class. In a face to face, class, however, I would not be evaluating, point by point, the quantity and quality of your contributions to class discussions. I know some instructors DO — I just don’t see how to do it without directly blocking that goal of “productive and organic conversation.”

In a perfect universe, I would teach with such power and charisma and you would be so intrinsically motivated by the course content that we would all chat with each other online without the goad of points towards your grade. Maybe we’ll have a semester like that? It would be cool. You have a lot of demands on your time and attention, though — and I understand the reluctance to direct your energy where there’s no clear payoff.

So — there’s no obviously good way to do this. I’m trying this approach. We’ll see how it goes. If it’s obviously not working, I’ll try something else.

Slack is a communication tool that many organizations and businesses use to organize work — it’s also free and less clunky than Compass discussions, which is why I’m using it. Getting familiar with this platform will give you an additional skill: working with a project management platform. (Slack is not the only one, but as with many apps, if you understand how one works, you’ll learn others more quickly.)

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