The CUNY Academic Commons provides several options for hosting courses. A “course” on the Commons can either be a group, a site, or both, called a linked group-site.

Commons Groups: A group offers a private or public space with varying functionality. In a group, faculty and students can post in a Forum (and have threaded discussions), upload documents to a common Files section, collaboratively edit Docs, post Events to a common calendar, and access shared, collaborative Papers.  If the Group is “Private” documents, forum posts, and other group functions are not visible or accessible if users are not logged into the Commons.

Learn more about Groups on the Commons here.

Commons Sites: Course sites offer a range of publishing options for faculty and students. Sites can be private (visible to site members only), semi-private (visible to Commons users only), or public. On course websites, faculty can make the course syllabus and assignments visible to students in a dynamic format (with links and multimedia). Students can also add content by posting and/or commenting on their peers’ writing.  Course sites can have “pages” for static content (Syllabus, course information) and “posts” for dynamic and multimedia content. Faculty can customize course site menus and add widgets and plugins to expand site functionality.

Learn more about Sites on the Commons here.

Linked Group Site: “Group Site” pairings can work well for classes where both public and private spaces are desired. By connecting a group to a site, professors can email students through the Commons and  users can receive updates when posts are added to the course site. airing a private group with a public site can allow faculty to make certain documents available only to members of the class, while also allowing members of the class to publish for a broader audience on a public course site.

If the group and site are “linked”, when a student is added as a member of the course group, they will be automatically added to the course site.

Learn more about Linked Group-Sites on the Commons here.


What are other Instructors using?

In the Courses list, you can see if a course is using a group, site, or both (on the right). This list also displays whether the site or group is public or private. Read more about Privacy Settings here.




How do I get started?

You can create a new group, site, or linked group site by clicking the “Create a New Group/Site” button (green) when viewing the Sites and Group lists on the Commons.



The Creation Portal (image below) explains the differences between groups and sites. More information about the differences are below.