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A Connected Group + Site

The Commons makes it possible to create a connected group and site in one process. This process is broken down in two steps: first a group is created and then a connected site is created. To find out more about Connected Group and Sites, click here.

Step One: Create The Group

There are two ways to get started creating a group. In each case, you need to be logged on to the Commons.

  • On the Commons home page, click on the “Groups” tab and click the “Create a Group” button.

  • Hover over your avatar in the upper right hand corner, select “My Groups” from the drop down. Then select “Create A Group.” See the process below:

The first step is to create the group. Once you click the Create a Group button, you should see the The Commons Creation Portal.

All requests to create groups, sites and connected Group and Site are funneled through the Commons Content Creation Portal. Here you can easily see what each one does and select the option that is most appropriate. In this case, we want to create a Connected Group + Site, so click on the button circled below:

 

Creation Portal

 

Once you click the Create a Group + Site button, you should see the following screen:

 

The Details Tab

Group Name: This is the name of the group. This can always be changed, but please note that if the URL of your group will not change. The group URL will be formatted using the group name as you first entered it – https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/groups/{original-group-name}

Group Description: The description will appear on the group front page. It can always be changed. It should be a succinct statement of purpose. If your group is public, it will be what users read and decide if they want to become a member.

Metadata: In order to better understand the purpose of the group, the Commons collects some basic data about it.

  • Is it for a certain campus or campuses?
  • What is the primary purpose? Choices are: Teaching, Committee, Conference, Department/Program/Center, Personal, Publication, Project, Portfolio, Working Group, Community of Interest, or Other
  • Is it for teaching? If so, the Commons will add it to the “Courses” tab. We’d like to know:
    • What Disciplinary Cluster does in fall under? Choices are: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Professional, Other, Not Applicable
    • What Semester? (spring, fall, winter, summer)
    • What Year?

Click on the Create Group And Continue button and you will be taken to the Setting tab.

 

 Settings Tab

Group Privacy: You need to decide if your group should be public, private, or hidden. Click here to understand the implications.

Group Invitations: You need to decide who can invite members.

Email Subscription Defaults: When members join the group, what email notification setting should be the default? (This setting can be changed by the new member. See more about this here: Understanding Email Notifications)

 

Click on the Next Step button circled above to go to the Photo tab

 Photo Tab

On this tab you can add a photo that will be displayed on the front page of your group. You will have an opportunity to crop the image to better fit the space.

Step Two – Create or Clone the Connected Site

Now that the group is created, we go on to:

  • Create a New Site  -OR-
  • Connect An Existing Site -OR-
  • Clone an Existing Site

Depending on your choice, the pathways diverge.

Create A New Site
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Create a Group + Site

Site Domain: This is the web address of your site. Once your site is created, you cannot change it. It cannot contain spaces or special characters and must be in lower case. Sites on the Commons are subdomains and will have “.commons.gc.cuny.edu/” appended to them. If your domain name is already in use, you will receive a message to choose a different domain name. If you own or intend to buy a domain name, the Commons can map your site to that domain name.

Site Title: This can be anything you like and can be changed anytime using your WordPress Dashboard.

Metadata: In order to better understand the purpose of the site, the Commons collects basic data about it. By default, these field are populated with the value of your group’s metadata, but you can change them if you wish.

  • Is it for a certain campus or campuses?
  • What is the primary purpose? Choices are: Teaching, Committee, Conference, Department/Program/Center, Personal, Publication, Project, Portfolio, Working Group, Community of Interest, or Other
  • Is it for teaching? If so, the Commons will add it to the “Courses” tab. We’d like to know:
    • What Disciplinary Cluster does in fall under? Choices are: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Professional, Other, Not Applicable
    • What Semester? (spring, fall, winter, summer)
    • What Year?

Site License: All content should be licensed appropriately so that it can shared by others under conditions determined by the content creator. The Commons uses CreativeCommons licenses. The Creative Commons provides a variety of different licenses that affect whether others can use the content, modify the content(with or without attribution) or use the content for commercial purposes. The site creation process contains a wizard to help you select the correct license for your site. The default license allows content consumers to share or redistribute your content with or without modifications as long as they attribute the content to you and that it is shared for non-commercial purposes.

Site Privacy Options: Site privacy settings determine how visible/searchable your site will be. You can make it visible to the entire Web or confine access to a single individual as well as other options between these two extremes. Commonly, sites under construction are made visible only to admins, and then later opened up using different options.

 

Site Layout

The Commons offers Site Templates that are designed to get you up and running fast. These layouts are tailored for different purposes. If you don’t see a template that matches what you want to do, use the default template. It is a plain vanilla layout with no presets. In all cases, you are welcome to change to any themes installed on the Commons.

Group + Site User Roles

Also, do you want members of your group be able to post to the group site?

Click on the Finish Button and if you have filled out all the required fields, you will receive a success message, with a link to your new site and group, as well as a button to start inviting others to join your group and connected site.

Connect An Existing Site

If you choose to connect your group to an existing site, you must be an admin of the site and that site cannot be connected to another group. The sites you can connect are displayed in the dropdown. In the example below, “A Site For Teaching” is selected:

Clone An Existing Site

If you choose to “clone” an existing site, you need to be aware of the following:

  • To clone a site, you must be an admin of the site. If you are not an admin, contact the admin and ask for permission. S/he can either clone it for you, or make you a temporary admin and you can do the cloning.
  • All content (i.e. pages and posts) created by admins of the site will be copied over
  • Content created by non-admins (e.g. student work) will not be copied over
  • Admin content will be attributed to the original author, but original authors will not be automatically added as admins of the site. After the cloning process ends, you will be the only admin of the site. You can of course add add members (admins, authors, contributors, etc.) as you see fit.
  • Site theme, plugins, menus, settings will be copied over so that the site looks the same, although non-admin content will be missing
  • The cloned site will have a different URL
  • The cloned site will have a different name
  • The cloned site will have the same license as the original site, but may be changed after the cloning process, if needed.

In the example below, “A Site For Teaching” will be cloned and you will need to provide a new domain name and new site name:

After you click the “Finish” button, you will see the following:

Congratulations

Please note that althought you have successfully followed the steps to create a group and a connected site, there are a number of custom settings that are available. As an admin of the group, these can be accessed by clicking on Manage, circled below.

How To Manage A Group

Once you have created a group, you and whoever is also delegated to be an admin will see the “Manage” option in your group’s sidebar, circled below.

All the settings for your group can be adjusted here.

Details: Most of this information was what you entered initially on group creation. You can change it all here. There are three additional settings:

  • New Topic Email Address – You can start a new forum topic via email without being logged in. See more about Reply by Email.
  • Quick Links – CUNY.IS quick links make it easy for members to access your group. See more about Quick Links.
  • Notify group members of changes via email – if you make changes to the group infrastructure, do you want to notify your members?

Settings: These are the same options you set initially. These can be changed any time.

Photo: You can add a group avatar here or change it.

Members: Here you will see a list of your members. You can change their permissions or remove their membership. Click here for more information about group permission levels. Swamped? Delegate… Add additional admins to your group. Or add some group moderators. Admins will have the same permissions as you. Group moderators will be able to do a subset of the things you are allowed to do, including the ability to send announcements to the rest of the group.

Files: Members can upload and download files from your group. Here you can add file categories that provide convenient storage schemas. Think of them as your group file directories. Find out more about Files.

Group Site: If you have a site connected to your group, you can “uncouple” it, change its site privacy settings, or change member settings. If you don’t have a group site, you can add one here or couple it with an existing Commons site. Find out more about Group Sites.

 

Digital Research Tools: Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a robust directory containing an ever-growing list of research tools, searchable by category or keyword. You can enable or disable this option here. Find out more about DiRT.

Forum: Here you decide whether or not your group should have a discussion forum. The default is yes. Find out more about Discussion Forums.

Social Media Accounts: Does your group have social media accounts? If so, you can add them here. Icons will appear on your group home page.

External Sites: Enter RSS feed URL’s for sites you would like to attach to this group. Any future posts on these sites will show on the group activity stream.

Delete: Here you can delete your group.