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Maintaining privacy in non-Canvas Slack workspaces

Take these steps to assure student privacy when using Slack outside of Canvas

When using a Slack workspace directly with students as opposed to a workspace within Canvas—such as when your desired Slack workspace would include students from multiple sections who aren’t enrolled in a common section in Canvas—it is important to take steps to maintain student privacy. Consider the following steps to maintain student privacy when using Slack outside of Canvas. 

Make the workspace private and invite students 

Set the workspace access to hidden rather than invite-only. For privacy, do not choose open access.

Once you are ready to begin you should invite students to your workspace. You can download students’ email addresses from Canvas or Axess to make the process easier.

Set channels as default

You will probably want to create new channels, such as the suggestions in "Ways to use Slack with your class." As you create the new channels, they will be available to you but not all members of the workspace will have access to them. If you plan on using a channel with the entire class, we recommend you set channels as default before students join your workspace

If your channels shouldn't be default for all members, or if they join before you get a chance to set each one to default, you will need to add students to each channel

Remove students who have dropped your course from the workspace

Check Axess after the add and drop dates for the quarter and remove students who have dropped the course but are still in your Slack workspace.

Using a course workspace over multiple terms

We don’t recommend reusing workspaces over multiple terms because it requires instructors to carefully manage who has access to the workspace to protect student privacy. If you choose to reuse a Slack course workspace, consider the following recommendations.

  • Remove all students from the workspace at the end of the term: Even if students are members of a private section-specific channel, the #general and #random channels will display membership of the entire workspace.
  • Make new term-specific channels and restrict those channels to students in that term: Students shouldn’t be able to see past or future conversations of students who are in different cohorts.

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