Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Software Engineering Division
Communication is one of keys for classroom teaching and project management. To help provide better communication, three things are desirable: (1) Prompt communication. For example, in a class exercise, if a student comes up with a good solution for coding implementation, it is desired that the student can share the example with the instructor and other students in a simple and quick way. (2) Group communication. Course projects and senior design projects require an easy, prompt, and convenient method to communicate beyond face-to-face meetings. (3) Forum. Similar to well-known stack overflow, students want to have an online forum to get their questions answered, like “virtual office hours.”
We, as instructors to computer science and computer engineering courses, apply an online tool, called Slack, to provide better communication to our students at XXX University. Slack enables a convenient way for instantly messaging, centralizing notifications, discussing solutions, sharing information, and collaborating work. Moreover, the free version of Slack allows ten thousand searchable messages, ten applications and integrations, and one-to-one video calls, which is sufficient for classroom teaching, course projects, and senior design projects. So far, there are more than ten million daily active users for Slack, and 65 of the Fortune 100 companies use Slack.
We apply Slack to teach two computer science courses, two computer engineering courses, and two senior design projects during Fall 2019. We explore Slack in the following five perspectives: (1) Sharing information. In each course, we created a Slack workspace and used a dedicated channel to provide class announcements, important class notes, and examples from students during class exercises. (2) Answering questions. Similar to forum, students can post their questions in Slack and get answers from the instructor, the teaching assistant, or other students. (3) Collaborating projects. For course projects or senior design projects, a channel is used for project discussions, progress reports, and file shares. For example, in one course, 27 students use Slack to share their “weekly scrum,” instead of using class time. (4) Providing examples. In the Web Design course, we use Slack as an excellent example to show concepts or implementations, such as HTTP, front-end pages, and WebSocket. (5) Promoting helping each other. Slack makes conversations between students more visible to instructors, so that we can encourage students to help each other and recognize students who contribute more to the courses.
To measure the effectiveness of applying Slack in our teaching, we plan to conduct several surveys at the end of Fall 2019 semester. We will ask students their opinions about five perspectives in the above and get comments or feedback on the impact of Slack on their learning. We believe that Slack serves as an excellent online tool for improving the communication between students and instructors and among students in a project.
Chen, C., & Chen, Z. (2020, June), Applying Slack to Help Teach Computer Science and Computer Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34158
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015