slack interface


This resource will overview Slack, a team collaboration tool that can help you manage group-based assessment tasks. We will define some key terms, explain how to navigate Slack’s interface, and provide some tips on how to improve your use of Slack.

What is Slack?

Slack is a combination of a team collaboration tool, productivity tool and instant messaging application. It is cloud-based, and has all the required features to facilitate the communication and productivity required of group-based projects and assessments including team chat and file sharing. Rather than using emails or your social media accounts to communicate with your group members, you can communicate and work with them in a space dedicated to the project you are working on.

Slack provides supports for multiple platforms, including Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Linux.

Slack’s homepage can be found at


What can you use Slack for?

Slack is used to facilitate communication and productivity in teams.

At university, you can use Slack to communicate with group members in group-based assessment tasks.

Creating or join a team in Slack

When you join or create a team on Slack, you create an account specific to that team. This means you can have multiple accounts on Slack with the same email address.

Create a team

To create a team, type in your email address and click the green ‘Create New Team’ button on the homepage of Slack. Follow the prompts to create your account for this team.

Join a team

To join a team, the administrator for that team will need to send you an email invite. Click on the ‘Join’ button in the email and follow the prompts to set up your account for the team.

Glossary of terms


A channel on Slack is like a chat room for your team. You can create multiple channels for specific purposes within a team domain on slack.

A channel can either be public channel, where every member of the team can view the contents of the channel, or private channel, where only invited members of the team can view the contents of the channel.

Direct Messages

A direct message on Slack is a private message between two group members.


A mention on Slack notifies a team member of a particular message. This is a good method of notifying someone to ensure that the message sent is received and read by the relevant individual.


Slackbot is a virtual assistant tool provided by Slack. Slackbot will respond to general, preset help enquires right there in the chat. You can ask a question or use keywords in a message to prompt an answer.

Slackbot can also be customised to provide specific answers. For example, you could set Slackbot to reply to the question ‘What is the Wi-Fi password?’ with the password for your team’s wi-fi.


A starred item will appear in the ‘Starred Items’ list for easy access. You can star important messages or files so that you can access them easily in Slack.


A team on Slack is a collection of users on a particular domain.

Team Domain

A team domain on Slack is the URL you use to access your team. It will look something like https://[yourteamdomain] You will have a new team domain for each team you join.

Navigating Slack


Top Menu

The Top Menu on Slack contains the ‘Call’, ‘Settings’, ‘Details’, ‘Mentions & Reactions’, ‘Starred Items’ and ‘More Items’ buttons, as well as the Search Bar.

  • The ‘Callslack phone button allows you to call a particular member when you have selected them from the Direct Messages list.
  • The ‘Settingsslack settings buttons contains options that vary based on whether you have selected a channel or a user. If you have selected a channel, it includes options to mute or leave it amongst others. If you have selected a person, it contains options to view their profile or to invite them to a channel, amongst others.
  • The ‘Detailsslack menu button will open a pane containing details about the channel or private conversation, including pinned items or shared files.
  • The ‘Mentions & Reactionsslack at button will open a panel containing a list of mentions and reactions related to you.
  • The ‘Starred Itemsslack star button will open a panel containing a list of items you have starred.
  • The ‘More Itemsslack menu dots button will contain options to view your team directory, all the files that have been shared and more.
  • The Search Bar can be used to find particular messages and files. Simply type in a keyword into the search bar and Slack will locate messages or files that relate to that word.

Side Menu

The Side Menu on Slack contains the Team Menu, a list of Channels and team members (which appears under Direct Messages) on Slack.

  • The Team Menu is accessed by clicking on your team’s name in the top left-hand corner. It contains options to manage your profile and preferences, to invite people to the team, and to change the settings of a team.
  • The Channel List contains all the channels that have been shared with you. Click on a channel to view its contents.
  • The Direct Messages section contains a list of team members. To message a team member privately, click on their name in the list.

Tips for using Slack

  • Use the correct channels: Slack allows you to create an unlimited amount of channels, but make sure to think carefully about whether to create a public channel or a private channel. A public channel is good for general conversations that every team member should be privy too. A private channel, on the other hand, is more appropriate for sensitive or confidential conversations.
  • Make use of mentions to make important announcements: Slack has several mentions designed to notify all team members or those in a specific channel.
    @here could be used to notify all available or online members in a channel.
    @channel is used to notify all members who are in a channel.
    @everyone is used to notify all members in the team.
  • Learn to use the search bar: Located conveniently on the top right-hand corner of your workspace, Slack provides for a universal all-in-one search bar. This helps you to conveniently and easily search for anything, including messages and files. You can even narrow down your search by using special keywords or refining it by the sender or date.

Further resources