Group work is a pain in the ass. There is the exchanging of phone numbers and email addresses, the accepting and sending of friend requests on Facebook, attempting to remember everyone’s names, and finally there is the trial of setting up a time to meet.
I for one hate group work, but being an adult and attending university is not about doing what you want. It is about doing what needs to be done.
For your next round of group work I recommend trying Slack. There is a free version, perfect for the spending conscious student. Slack will provide you and your group members with one location for all of your collaboration and communication needs. Conversations can be organized by topics, projects, or whatever your group decides will lead you towards a productive project. Open channels can be created, providing a transparent view of everything that is going on within the group. All previous conversations are searchable for quick reference. Slack also includes direct messaging and direct two-way calling. Documents can also be shared and edited within Slack, and you can customize your notifications for maximum group productivity. Additionally, Slack is available on both iOS and Android, eliminating the need to worry about who has what brand of phone, as you try finding something that works for everyone.
As with most apps these days there is the free version and the paid version. With the free version of Slack you get the following features: searchable message archives, 10 apps or service integrations (for a list of these apps head to slack.com), native apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows desktop, two-person voice and video chat, 5GB of storage for the team, and two-factor authentication. With the standard and plus versions you get even more features and more storage. However, as students these extra features are just that, extra features with a price tag that is more trouble than it is worth.
So, the next time you are dreading a group project consider using Slack to keep your team on track.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 23, February 28th, 2017.