Instructional Continuity on the Commons

The quickest and easiest way to get a course up and running on the CUNY Academic Commons is to use a Commons group. Learn more about instructional continuity at CUNY here:

For more information and quick guides for teaching online, you can also visit GC Online.

Teaching with a group allows instructors to share course documents in the group library, host threaded discussions in the group forum, and send emails to all group members.

Group can be hidden, private to group members, or publicly visible and open to all members of the Commons. If the Group is “Private”, all documents, forum posts, and other group functions are not visible or accessible if users are not logged into the Commons.

When viewing a Commons Group, all group activity will appear on the main “Home” page.  This activity feed will aggregate group forum posts, doc editing stats, files uploaded, and member information. The gray menu on the left facilitates navigation to the various group areas.

This page offers a brief  overview of a group. Check out additional Commons help documentation for more information on teaching with a group and groups overview, and  comprehensive directions for managing a group.


Group Areas & Functions

  • Home: group landing page and activity feed
  • Forum: threaded discussions (entries sent to group members’ via email)
  • Events: calendar to display group events (can be added by any group member)
  • Files: upload Word docs, PDFs, etc to make available to group members
  • Docs: create a ‘doc’ to share with the group; docs can be edited by any group member but only one member can work in doc at a time (each doc update sent to members’ email)
  • Members: list of members in group
  • Send Invites: invite new Commons user to group via username
  • Email Options: each group member can customize email options
  • Manage: group settings area; change member roles, accept group join requests, edit privacy settings, connect to site, and more


Steps for Setting up a Group

  1. Register/log in to the Commons.
  2. Go to Groups tab and click “Create a Group”.
  3. In the creation portal select Group and fill in necessary information.
  4. Navigate to your new Group. Add syllabus and course readings to files area.
  5. Invite members (students) to join the Commons and the group.
    1. Inviting Students to the Commons PDF Quick Guide
    2. Joining a Group PDF Quick Guide
  6. Create a forum thread to welcome students, provide course information, or start an online discussion.


Steps for students to join your Commons Group

To join your group, students must sign-up and register for the Commons using a CUNY email. Then, they can join or request membership to your group.

For Students joining the Commons:

  1. Head to the CUNY Academic Commons:
  2. Click “Register” in the top right corner.
  3. Complete registration by checking your CUNY Email to activate your account.
  4. Log into the Commons.
  5. Go to the groups tab and use the Group search bar to find your group.
  6. Join or request membership.


Commons Quick Guides (PDFs)