Technology and NECoPA – Slack and Zoom

Hello everyone. We are working on the final program and should have the program posted soon! When we do, we will announce it on here and point you towards the link. Today’s update focuses on the mode of delivery of the conference this year. There are three services, all of which can be accessed through your browser, that will be used during the conference. Today, I am going to walk through important aspects of two of them: Zoom and Slack.


Let’s start with Zoom. As you might anticipate, the virtual panels will be conducted via Zoom. At this point in the pandemic many of us have pretty extensive experience with Zoom. For the conference, panel chairs will be running the Zoom as hosts and will receive instructions on how to operate the basic functions of Zoom and what they will need to do as chairs. However, one thing that we need everyone to do in advance of the conference: BE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE ZOOM APP ON YOUR COMPUTER. The app can be downloaded here: After you download the client, either for Windows or Mac as needed, be sure to run the installation client to be sure Zoom itself is installed on your computer that you plan to use for the conference.

You may be wondering: why am I being asked to install Zoom? Well, Zoom links for meetings can function in many contexts without the Zoom app through your internet browser. As a result, some people may be using Zoom regularly without ever having installed the app itself. However, the security protocols at the University at Albany require that non-UAlbany users have the Zoom app on their computers for the links to provide access to the meetings. We will have someone running the email and the help channel in Slack to troubleshoot issues during the conference. Which brings us to…


We will also be using Slack to organize the conference. Slack has a variety of features that make it attractive for a virtual conference: you can message users directly in side chats; panel tracks can have dedicated channels for focused conversation, comment sharing, and networking; announcements can be sent conference wide on the fly; information can be organized for clarity and ease of access. Anyway, some of you may not have experience with Slack, so this section of the update is going to walk through the basics. In the coming week or so, you will receive an email with an invitation to join the conference Slack. The email will look something like this:

Invitation to join Slack.

If you click on the “Join Now” button, you will be taken to a space to create a login. Just enter your name and create a password for yourself to use. Please remember your password.

Login creation screen.

From there, you may see a screen that asks about opening Slack. If so, you may simply use your browser to open the Slack for the conference. You will then land a Slack page that looks like this:

NECoPA Slack landing page.

We are still, of course, adding conference materials to the channel. When you arrive, the program pdf will be pinned to the welcome channel and you will be able to download it. As you can see, the left hand side of the screen offers all of the channels you will need for the conference. Channels 04 through 06 will be dedicated to panel tracks and will include the time, Zoom link, author, and presenter information for each panel in the track pinned to the channel. You will also be able to send private messages to anyone in the conference using the direct messaging function. Any trouble you run into in the conference, you can post a message in the “01-help” channel and someone from the NECoPA team will help you. The “help” channel will also include some basic tools for using Slack to help you get the most out of it.

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