Slack is a system that is like a combination of instant messaging, email, and forums. We’ll use Slack in the class for annoucements, discussions, and getting help, and I’ll post your grades and feedback via private Slack messaging.

Signing up

To get connected to Slack, visit and sign up using your email address. Do the following:

  • Set your username to be something you like
  • Set your name to be your actual name
  • Set your profile photo to a picture of your face; doing so will help me remember who you are more quickly
  • Check that your time zone is correct
  • Post in #introductions the following:
    • Who you are
    • What program you are in (e.g., MS HCI)
    • Why you’re taking this class
    • The coolest or most interesting mobile, wearable, or Internet of Things technology you’ve seen


Download one of the many Slack apps so that you can stay caught up on what’s happening in class. Remember that this is the only way I will use to communicate with you, so installing one of the phone apps is a very good idea. More information about getting Slack to notify you can be found on this Slack support page, including setting up email notification.


Slack is organized into “channels,” which are topic-specifc areas. I’ve set up a number of channels to start with, and may add some more as the semester proceeds. Slack organizes channels alphabetically. At the start of class, we have:

  • #general: For general questions and discussions that don’t fit into any of the other channels. I’ll also post announcements, including new assignments, readings, and so on here.
  • #inspirations: Post general inspirations and examples of Internet-enabled and wearable devices here.
  • #random: For stuff unrelated or only somewhat related to class. Jokes, funny videos, etc. Be nice.


If you want to ensure that someone (such as me) sees your message, use a mention. You do this like Twitter: use the @ symbol with the person’s username. For example: @dan I'm missing a wire from my kit. When you type the @ symbol Slack will show you a list of people so you don’t have to remember usernames.


Posts are mini-documents that live within Slack. They allow you more-easily edit and format your thoughts, and many of your assignments will be turned in via Posts. Please read how to compose a Post and how to format your Posts.

Direct messages

You can do a direct chat with someone via the Direct Messages menu on the left. This can be seen only by the two people involved in the chat. So if you direct message another student, I will not be able to see it. You can use direct messages to communicate with me regarding confidential class matters such as grades. You will also turn in many of your assignments by sharing a Post directly with me. If you have questions which might benefit other students with the answers, please post them to one of the public channels (and optionally use @dan to get my attention).

More help

The Slack support site has many articles on using Slack. Or you can post a question to #general.