Online Collaborative Space Build Guide for Slack


This article explains:


Slack provides persistent real-time chat for teams as its core feature. Approved integrations can be added to extend Slack's core feature to support other facets of collaboration. For example, the VT Slack Service is integrated with Zoom to provide video conferencing capabilities.

Using this guide, you will be able to leverage Slack as an Online Collaborative Space for your team.

How to get started with Slack

Create a Slack channel for your team

  1. Select the "+" symbol beside Channels in the left panel

  2. Select Create a channel

  3. Enter the Name of your channel

  4. (Optional) Enter the Description (purpose) of the channel

  5. Determine if the channel will be public or private
    • Public: Anyone at Virginia Tech can view and join the channel
    • Private: The channel can only be viewed or joined by invite. A public channel can be made private later. However, the reverse is not true. You cannot make a private channel public.

  6. Click the Create button

  7. In the Add people window, you can search for members or groups individually or send the email to a shared email account accessible to all members.

  8. Once all of the members have been selected, click the Add members button.

File Sharing

  1. To share a file, select the Attach file button illustrated by a paper clip in the Message box.

  2. Under "Add a file from...", select Your computer.

  3. Select the file you want to upload.
  4. Click the Open button.
  5. Your file will appear in the Message box. Add any additional text and click the Send button.

Meet Online

VT Slack is integrated with VT Zoom for online meetings.  To launch an online Zoom meeting, perform the following steps within Slack.

  1. Open a channel using the directory on the left and click the Channel Name that appears in the top left under the search bar to get that channels details.

  2. Click the Start a Call button

    Note: If you are using the browser interface, make sure you allow the Slack pop-up in your browser.

    • You may need link your Zoom account to Slack. If you see a message in the thread with a button labeled Authorize Zoom, be sure to click that and follow the on screen prompts to log in and connect your accounts

  3. You will also receive a notification from Zoom asking to launch your Zoom meeting in a browser window.

  4. If prompted, log into Zoom with your VT Login credentials (VT username and VT secondary factor)
  5. Your Zoom meeting window will launch.  Others in the channel will see that a meeting has started and will be able to join your Zoom meeting.

Your new Slack Online Collaborative Space is now ready to go!


How can I collaborate with my team using Slack?

The short videos below from Slack provide a good general overview.



Slack Quick Start Guide

Basic tips for using Slack

Time: 1m 22s

Slack Channels

Share ideas and make decisions using channels

Time: 1m 14s  

Searching in Slack

How to find items stored in Slack

Time: 0m 52s

Conversations in Slack

How to connect with coworkers effectively in slack

Time: 2m 26s

Collaboration Strategies using Slack

In the section, we will explore some collaboration strategies with Slack.

  1. Automate collaboration tasks. Slack has made a big push into “bots,” algorithms that can automate menial tasks. Use bots to do tasks such as polling/surveys, task assignment, team celebration, and link organization. To view available bots, click on the ‘+’ sign next to Apps in the menu, then view the Bots category. To install a bot, click on the bot.
  2. Expand your Slack team collaboration capability with integrations: Collaboration with various teams comes in all shapes and sizes. Slack provides the capability to add applications (e.g., integrations) to your Slack instance. These provide the capability to expand your collaboration when you want it, in a way that makes the most sense to your team. To add a Slack app, click on the ‘+’ sign next to Apps, then once you have found an App, click on the App.
  3. Group Messages verses Channel Chats verses Direct Messages. When having a conversation within Slack, an important strategy is to understand when that conversation should be in a Channel, Group, or Direct Message. If the information is for the entire group, then it should be posted in the Channel by typing the message in the text box. If you only need to speak to a specific member of the group, use a Direct Message. You can add a Direct Message to someone by clicking on the ‘+’ sign next to Direct Messages and typing their name. If you need to have a quick conference with multiple people, you can create a Group Message by clicking on the ‘+’ sign next to Direct Messages and typing all of the names you want added to the group.
  4. Managing threaded conversations with side threads. A channel can have multiple conversations going one at once. A good strategy for managing multiple threads is to use side threads. Side threads only exist in channels and are a great visual way to encapsulate conversations within a channel. To create a side thread from a comment, mouse over the comment and click on the Reply in Thread button. A panel will appear to your right where you can start typing your threaded comment.