How Groups Can use the Commons

The Academic Commons is a great place for CUNY groups, so we thought we’d pull together a list of some of the ways that groups can use this space to collaborate. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything. And please feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments, too.

Any member of the Academic Commons can create a group (here’s how). If you’d like to create a group, there are three types to choose from:

Public: With a public group everything the group creates is visible on the Commons: the group page, member list, activity stream, and forum posts. No permission is required to join a public group. Public groups can also enable group blogs and set different roles for members.

Private: In a private group certain elements of the group are not visible to those who are not members. Only members can see the member list, activity stream, and forum posts. The group does appear in the list on the Commons Groups page, but non-members can only view a simplified version of the group page. You must request membership to join a private group.

Hidden: A hidden group is invisible on the Commons to everyone except for group members. The group page, member list, activity stream, and forum posts are all hidden from the public.

Once you’ve created your group, here are some ways your group can use the Commons:

1. Communicating between group members
To communicate to all members of a group, members can post on the group’s activity stream and check the box beneath the text field to email the post to all members. In a public group, activity stream posts on the group’s page will also be visible to anyone; in a private or hidden group, activity stream posts will only be visible to group members.

Groups may also wish to create a blog and use blog posts and comments for group communication. By default Commons blogs are visible to all, though individual posts may be password-protected so that only those who know the password can view them.

2. Host a blog or website to share information about the group’s work
All Commons members can create a blog on the site, and any group member can be added to the blog as a content contributor. The Commons runs on the WordPress blogging system which is easy to update and customize. Groups and members can also create static pages on their WordPress blog, just as on a standard website.

3. Posting meeting minutes and other documents
Groups may wish to use their Commons space to archive meeting minutes or other pertinent documents. One way to accomplish this is to use the group’s forum. Minutes can be uploaded as a forum post or attached as a file. Commons forums accept most common file types as attachments, for example, Word docs or PDFs.

Documents can also be added to blog posts, as was explained in our last post here.

4. Collaborative editing
Group members may wish to collaborate on documents, resources, etc., and the Academic Commons wiki is a great space for that kind of collaboration. Groups can create as many pages on the wiki as they’d like.

All wiki pages are currently visible to all Commons visitors. If you’ve created a wiki page and would like to have it linked from the main wiki page, please let us know.

The Academic Commons is designed to be flexible, so you can tailor your use of Groups to meet your members’ unique needs. If you come up with creative uses that we didn’t mention here, please let us know in the comments.

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