Creating Your Group

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:

animated gif showing how to create a group

How to Create a Group on the Commons

Follow the online instructions to create your group.  You will need a name and a description to get started.  When you’re all set, click “Create Group and Continue.”

Now you’ll need to make to decisions.  Do you want to enable the discussion forums for the group?  Do you want your group will be public, private, or hidden?   Do you want a group site associated with the group?  Don’t worry, all these settings can be changed a later time by clicking on “Manage.” (This option is only available to admin(s) of a group.

Circled in red are group settings that appear when you click on Manage.

A bit about the member roles:

  • Administrator – Somebody who has access to all the administration features.
  • Editor – Somebody who can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
  • Author – Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish posts.
  • Subscriber – Somebody who can read comments/comment/receive news letters, etc.

A couple more things:

  • Create a group avatar. You can leave the default image or upload one of your own.
  • Create an easy to remember “” short link for your group.  By default, your short link with be
  • Select members to join your group.

Finally, celebrate! You’re now the administrator of a new group on the Commons!

Getting your Group Up And Running

Listed below are some suggestions that might help you get your group up and running.

  • Join the Group for Group Admins, a meta-group for group administrators and moderators to meet and discuss group management, share tips on different tools, and stay up to date with the Commons team on current and future changes on the site.
  • Find an avatar for your group.
  • Write a succinct statement of purpose.
  • Decide whether your group will be public, private or hidden. Click here to understand the implications.
  • 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. Click here for more information about group permission levels.
  • Understand your tool options. Groups automatically come with forums and files,  but admins can optionally turn on Docs, Social Paper, and create a Group Site to provide additional ways for members to interact.
  • If you decide to have a group site, determine its visibility. For example, a private group could have a public site. Click here for more information on how to adjust blog privacy levels.
  • If you decide to have a group site, determine what permission members should have. If they are assigned to be contributors, they can write posts, but these posts will only be published upon your approval. If they assigned editors or authors, your approval is not needed. Consider including some explanation on the site, so members understand what they can do. You might want to invite members to post on certain topics. Click here for more information on adding new users to a site.
  • If appropriate, consider creating a Twitter account for your group. If you have a group blog, consider using a twitter plugin to automatically tweet group blog posts.
  • Think about ways to attract members. Do you want to invite people to join? You might want to check out who belongs to a related group, or who is on the same campus, etc.

Joining a Group

Select ‘Groups’ from the main page.

Search for the group by name or use the Order By tool to sort by Last Active, Most Members, Newly Creative or Alphabetical.

After you’ve found a group that interests you there will be two options. You can either select the ‘Join Group’ button next the group name if the group is public, or select ‘Request Membership’ if the group is private. Joining a public group gives you immediate access to the group and group abilities.  A private group will require the group’s moderator or admin to approve your application.

Maintaining Your Group

As the group creator and administrator you have control over individual member’s roles and abilities. From the top of the main page select ‘My Groups’ and then your group. This brings you to the group’s page. On the left you will find several links including ‘Members.’ Select ‘Members’ and you will be brought to a list of each member of your group followed by various actions. ‘Kick and Ban’ will eject a member from your group and prevent them from rejoining. ‘Promote to Mod’ will grant that member Moderator’s rights while ‘Promote to Admin’ will grant that member administrator’s rights. You will be prompted to confirm your selection once before the action is complete.

Managing Notifications


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