Mattermost: Workplace Messaging

Mattermost is an open source workplace messaging system similar to Slack. Mattermost is organized around a discussion paradigm that keeps all related discussion contributions together on a single timeline, but still allows for replying to individual contributions. This can easily keep dozens and dozens of discussion fragments out of your email inbox.

This is a TRU service, is hosted on BC and/or Canadian servers and therefore satisfies BC and Canadian privacy legislation.

What to use it for

Use Mattermost when you want quick and easy team chat. It is invitation-based so is great for communicating with colleagues and other individuals who don’t have TRU computing accounts.

Much of our workplace communication occurs through email. There is a complexity that happens with email though, when multiple people are involved in a conversation with multiple replies. Very quick the original email splinters into several different threads or chains of the conversation making it difficult to follow or refer back to.

There are other advantages to Mattermost:

  • Teams can be set up very quickly. Teams are simply the organizing construct in Mattermost. A team is created, a team administrator assigned and the administrator can then “invite” anyone they wish to the team space.
  • Within the team space any number of channels (or discussion rooms) and be set up. They can either be open to all team members or private to a specific group of members.
  • Files can also be attached to messages.

Some of the things teams and educators on campus like about Mattermost are:

  • Very little overhead
  • Very simple interface reducing support and learning how to use the tool
  • Team members from on campus or off-campus can be invited. Some teams use Mattermost to facilitate discussions between their students/faculty and industry people, research partners and so forth from outside the institution.

What TRU Faculty have to say

Faculty comments needed.

Please leave your comments below or contact the Learning Technology and Innovation group (learntech@tru.ca) if you are willing to do a testimonial about your experiences with this tool.

How do I get started?

The basic unit of Mattermost is called a Team. A team could be a class, a research group, department, etc. Contact learningtech@tru.ca to request a team. Please provide the following information: Your name and email (will already be in the email request), your desired Team name, and a shortened version for the url. (For example the “Learning Tech team url is https://matter.tru.ca/learning-tech.)

Following your request, we will create the team, send you the team ‘invite link’ and give you ‘team admin’ permissions for your team.

As team administrator you will be able to invite other users to the team, configure team settings, and create your desired Channel structure.

What other tools does this work with?

Mattermost has an integration with TRU’s BigBlueButton server. BigBlueButton is a web conferencing system designed for teachers and students. Look for the video camera icon at the top of a channel for a channel-based session or click on a user’s picture to select a more private BigBlueButton meeting.

We are also experimenting with Hubot chatbot technology. We’ll let you know when we have Hubot available for general usage.

What support is available for this tool?

We find that most people don’t need any support beyond the initial setup. Also, see the questions, notes and tips below. Never-the-less, please feel free to contact us at learningtech@tru.ca if you have any questions.

If you are a documentation sort of person you can find easy Mattermost end-user documentation at: https://docs.mattermost.com/guides/user.html

Other questions, notes & tips?

Following are a few helpful tips to get you going.

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