It’s Time to Start Slacking With Your Online Courses!
Are You On Slack?
If not, don’t worry…I was recently introduced to it myself. But I love it! Nate and I use Slack to collaborate with our team here at Fly Plugins. We use it to communicate many important decisions, share ideas, strategize, and plan our activities.
But, perhaps you don’t know what Slack is yet…so let me back up just a bit.
What is Slack?
I’ve heard it explained that Slack is IRC on steroids. If you don’t know what IRC is, it’s basically an online chat tool. Slack is not only a chat tool, it’s a collaboration tool. Basically you can create “Slack teams” which allow communities, groups of people, or team members to join through a specific URL or invitation.
Within your teams, you can then create Slack channels which are the equivalent of “chat rooms”. Some companies create separate channels for departments, and some businesses create channels that are topical.
You also have the ability to create private groups or send direct messages to other users. Slack allows you to share files and everything in the conversations is searchable. Oh, and you can also use emojis…you know, the important stuff. 😛
Slack has become extremely popular since its launch and it boasts dozens of integrations. One of my favorite integrations is the Giphy integration. Nate and I will at times waste the better part of an hour sending random goofy Giphys back and forth to each other.
Recently we caught wind of a Slack integration for WP Courseware. How cool is that?! Although we didn’t develop it, I’ve taken the integration for a test drive and it works great!
The setup is super easy!
- First, if you are not on slack you will need to sign up. Once you are setup with a team URL, you are set to go. Feel free to create a channel and invite some team members to your team.
- Next, install and activate the Slack Plugin from WordPress.org.
- Then, install and activate the Slack Addon. (Just a quick tip incase you are O.C.D. like me…When you download the zip file from GitHub, it’s typically the “master” file which appends the name of the file with “master”. It really doesn’t matter, but I like to install things as they are intended. I simply unzip the file and rename the folder, removing the “master” text and then re-zip the file. Then I use that file to install the plugin.)
- In the WordPress admin panel click Slack–>Add New.
- Give your integration a title. This is simply for you to reference the integration between Slack and WP Courseware.
- Next you need to get your service URL.
- Sign in to your Slack home page – https://YourSlackSubDomain.slack.com/home. (Don’t forget to include “home” at the end of the URL.)
- Click “Menu–>Configure Apps“.
- Click “Build” in the upper right hand corner.
- Click the “Make a Custom Integration” button.
- Select “Incoming WebHooks“.
- Select a channel that will receive the incoming messages.
- In the “Integration Settings” section, copy the WebHook URL to the clipboard.
- In your WordPress admin panel, paste that URL into the “Service URL” field in the Slack Integration screen.
- Add the channel that you’d like the notifications to appear in. For example, you may use a channel such as #general.
- Type in the “User Name“, which is essentially the name of the bot that will post the notifications in Slack.
- You can then add a custom icon. You can get a comprehensive list of icons here. For example, you could use something like :mortar_board: which shows a graduate cap.
- Next, select which events you want to be sent over to Slack. Currently, you can send notifications based on completed units, completed modules, and completed courses.
- If you are ready to go live with your notifications, be sure to select the “Active” checkbox.
- Click save and thats it!
Time to test it out!
To ensure the integration has been setup correctly, it’s a good idea to run a test. First, make sure you are logged into Slack. Next, jump into one of your courses and complete a unit. You should immediately be notified by Slack of this activity:
- Slack has mobile versions for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- Slack has desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- If you need help, Slack has guides that will walk you through all of the functionality.
- And you can always check out all the integrations on the Slack app directory.
How are you using Slack? Do you have any cool or unusual integrations, tips, or tricks? Let us know in the comments below!