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USING THE TEAM COMMUNICATION TOOL, SLACK, TO MANAGE LARGE-SCALE RESEARCH DATA COLLECTION
In the 2017-18 school year, my department, the International Data Evaluation Center (IDEC), collected data on over 43,000 first grade students, from almost 3,000 schools across the United States for the Reading Recovery (RR) early literacy intervention. Managing this process is more than just making sure you have clean data. For example, every year we must keep track of all schools, districts and teachers that are participating. At the end of each school year we must run over 7,000 reports for RR stakeholders. We also need to be able to keep track of who has and has not paid for our services. So, over the years weve developed some tools to help us manage all of this. Some of these tools were centralized on intranet sites available to all team members while other tools were small, ad-hoc, pieces of computer code. While all the IDEC staff could access and use the intranet sites, not all had the required knowledge to use the ad-hoc pieces of code. So, in December of 2017, we began experimenting with the team collaboration tool called Slack. Slack has a feature built into it called Slash Commands. In this paper we discuss how weve used Slash Commands to begin centralize all the various tools we use to manage the data collection process and how they have made complicated tasks that use to require computer code and technical knowledge as simple as issuing a command in a chat window.