Archive | Getting More from the Commons

Tips and Ideas for ways to leverage the rich functionality of the Academic Commons

Teaching Graduate Classes

reynolds_6240510587_29b5a8c594_zThe Commons is widely used as a LMS for graduate courses. Professors typically create a group (usually a private one) and invite their student to join the Commons (if not already a member), and then to join the class group. This can be done in a single step.

WordPress Sites

A WordPress site can be linked to the class group and be used to publish reflections, research, and findings. Private group sites can be used to publish syllabi, writing assignments, and course reflections. Public group blogs can be great to communicate outside the classroom, showcase research, and publish articles. Students can also create their own WordPress sites to work on projects, and posts from these sites can be syndicated onto the main group site by using a plugin.

Groups for Graduate Classes

Groups work great with classes, and professors typically take advantage of forums, announcements, files, docs, reply by email, email notifications, and privacy settings. Class members can work collaboratively on projects using Docs feature. If working in a sub-group, members can form smaller groups to facilitate private collaboration.

The Commons Wiki

The Commons Wiki can be used to develop class knowledge bases. Many wiki pages have been co-authored by class members. For an example, see the “Kitchen Sink/Kitchen Table Utilities” page. And of course these knowledge bases live on after the class is done.

The following example is from the Digital Praxis Seminar:

digital praxis

 

Research

cerg3The Commons can be a place for research collaboration and reflection, and a repository for research findings, where researchers assess and publish findings, satisfy grant expectations, and keep the momentum going for further studies.

Groups provide great functionality for collaboration, and group Web sites provide ways to archive articles, and satisfy grant requirements, publish findings, aggregate resources, and posts assessments.

Examples include:

RD

  • CERG – Childrens Environments Research Group

 

 

 

 

Departments and Committees

5406340912_233e1d5663_zA growing number of departments and committees find the Commons a great platform to manage business, distribute files, discuss issues and plan initiatives. Group “built-in” tools include:

  • forums – where members can start new topics, or participate in discussion threads;
  • docs – where members can collaborate on a private wiki;
  • file uploads – where members can add to file repositories that everyone can access;
  • group announcements – where admins and moderators post timely announcements for the whole group to read

Groups may want to break down into smaller working groups, to interact, share resources, conduct administrative duties, and communicate with members in private. Everyone can be notified via email (depending on personal email notification settings), and the Commons provides a convenient “Reply by Email” functionality – you don’t need to log in to the Commons – you can reply from the comfort of your inbox.

Departments or committees may also want to link their group to a WordPress site and make it either public or private – this provides another way to handle various tasks, announce policies, and solicit opinions.

  • Campus “Commons” sites. An example of this is The Lehman Teaching & Learning Commons – “a space for Lehman’s faculty, staff, and graduate students to join in conversations and activities about their Lehman experience.”

lehman-commons

 

Publications

pressparts_2068053922_089bb3225a_zThe Commons is increasing becoming a publication platform for academic journals. The Commons team works closely with the publishers to find suitable WordPress themes and plugins, coordinate domain mapping, and troubleshoot issues.

Our open access publishing platform comes with a built-in social layer. The Commons front page can be used to advertise new journal issues, list blog posts, and provide a discussion platform that keeps the conversation going via comments and tweets. Your My Commons page aggregates journal articles, comments, and news about upcoming issues once you “follow” the site.

Editors can use groups on the Commons to collaborate on new issues and share reflections on manuscripts.

Contact our team to learn how the Commons can support your publishing project.

The growing number of academic journals now hosted on the Commons includes:

Journal of American Drama and Theatre (JADT)

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Founded in 1989 and previously edited by Professors Vera Mowry Roberts, Jane Bowers, and David Savran, this widely acclaimed journal is now edited by Professors Naomi J. Stubbs and James F. Wilson. JADT publishes thoughtful and innovative work by leading scholars on theatre, drama, and performance in the U.S. – past and present. Provocative articles provide valuable insight and information on the heritage of American theatre, as well as its continuing contribution to world literature and the performing arts.

 

European Stages

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For almost a quarter of a century, from 1969 until 2013 the journal Western European Stages provided one of the most detailed and comprehensive overviews of the season-by-season activities in this major part of the theatre world available anywhere in any language. From 1981 onward, parallel coverage of Eastern Europe was provided by its sister journal, Slavic and East European Performance, edited by the late Professor Daniel Gerould. …

The European continent has undergone radical changes during this quarter century. When WES was founded, Eastern and Western Europe were two quite distinct political and theatrical spheres. With the disappearance of the Russian control in the East, the rise of the European Union, and the rapid increase of productions combining the artists from a variety of countries, east and west, this cold war division today is largely an historical memory politically and theatrically. Thus, in 2013, these two journals combined their activities to reflect this more integrated continent, and metamorphosed into European Stages. We hope that the new, merged resource will continue to provide English-language readers with the most comprehensive source available on current theatre in this most important area of such activity.

 

Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy

jitp

The mission of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy (ISSN 2166-6245) is to promote open scholarly discourse around critical and creative uses of digital technology in teaching, learning, and research. Educational institutions have often embraced instrumentalist conceptions and market-driven implementations of technology that overdetermine its uses in academic environments. Such approaches underestimate the need for critical engagement with the integration of technological tools into pedagogical practice. The JITP will endeavor to counter these trends by recentering questions of pedagogy in our discussions of technology in higher education. The journal will also work to change what counts as scholarship—and how it is presented, disseminated, and reviewed—by allowing contributors to develop their ideas, publish their work, and engage their readers using multiple formats.

We are committed first and foremost to teaching and learning, and intend that the journal itself—both in process and in product—provide opportunities to reveal, reflect on, and revise academic publication and classroom practice.

 

Theory, Research and Action in Urban Education (TRAUE)

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Theory, Research, and Action in Urban Education (TRAUE) is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal published by doctoral students and recent graduates of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. This journal is one of very few that features original work by emerging scholars. TRAUE also serves as a forum in which youth, public school students, educators, community groups, and parents debate issues of educational practice and policy.

We publish articles, reviews, policy briefs, and notes from the field that critically and politically engage with issues of equity in urban schools and communities. We value theory, research, and action that is political and undertaken in collaboration with schools and communities. Our mission is to develop and share tools for imagining and enacting sustainable, systemic educational and social equity. Submissions to this journal should advance social and educational equity, have a strong theoretical grounding, and be well written with fully developed ideas.

 

ROOM 4108 – Online MALS student journal

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Room 4108 is named for the room where we got our start. There, one late afternoon at the beginning of fall semester 2013, students from the Masters Program in Liberal Studies got together in order to brainstorm about the kind of online journal we would like to have. Interdisciplinary! International! Intellectual! Inclusive! Inspired! But the Liberal Studies that made those grand visions realistic, also made them difficult to realize. We were too busy being all those things to write about them. Room 4108 was named in honor of those grand visions and its mission is to realize them. Liberal Studies is remarkable for the diversity of its students. Room 4108 is our group portrait.

 

Moment – Une Review de Photo

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Yes. Moment: Une Revue de Photo is out…complete with its own imperfections.

How did this happen? Well, I always wanted to create a photography magazine. I thought editing a magazine was like managing a photography-gallery. Except, and mea-culpa if I am wrong, that a photo-magazine…lasts longer than a exhibit in a gallery. There is a sense of eternity in having hard copy.

Here I am in Cusco, Peru with my friend Mario Guevara, who is a professional writer and editor of a wonderful magazine called Siete culebras (seven snakes). Mario suggests to me that we create and publish a photography magazine. “You send me photos and money and I will create the magazine.” Of course I am flattered by his suggestion, but how can I do this? No se nada sobre revistas. J’e ne se pas.

I meet many photographers who encourage me, among them is Lorrie Palmer from Positive Focus. Everyone is enthusiastic about the project, but publishing a magazine requires funding. I looked for financiers and I find them…they are my friends and colleagues…Alizabeth Towery, Angel Amy Moreno, Paul Robinson, Carlos Henderson, Eva Kolbuszand Leo Theinert. They provide the funding … and we finally used a French name…Moment: Une Revue de Photo. …

 

 

Initiatives

open accewss

The Commons is often used to promote cross-campus and campus-based initiatives. Examples include:

  • Open Access @ CUNYThis site was created by a team of CUNY library faculty interested in highlighting and advocating open access scholarship across the university. It holds resources, promotes discussion and events, and brings scholars together.
  • GCDHI – the Graduate Center’s Digital Humanities Initiative uses a group, a group blog, and the Commons Wiki.
  • Zines at Brooklyn College – a great site that provides information about Zines in general, and information about the college’s collections.
  • Carribbean Commons – a public blog that “…announces Caribbean Studies CFPs, events and publications of interest to those in the Northeast US. It also archives information from the CE Seminar….”
  • CUNY Hybrid Initiative The CUNY Hybrid Initiative is an open resource for professors new to online teaching and who are planning to create and teach hybrid courses, as well as experienced online professors wanting to refine their practice.
  • John Jay Online-Digital Teaching Seminar 2016-17 – This is a private group featuring a year-long series of seminar sessions to support online pedagogy at John Jay College. Note that only members can access this link.

There is no set formula, but many initiatives include a WordPress site (and its discussion capabilities), and/or a group (either private or public). Often a group Web site is attached to a group, and admins provide group members various editorial permissions. Here’s one example of an initiative that used a public website to attract attention within CUNY and beyond:

Jessie Daniels – Just Publics

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Any questions? Please email the Community team: support@cunycommons.zendesk.com .

Conferences/Events

Planning a conference? The Commons offers great tools to help with publicity, organization, and registration before your conference. And during the conference, your website and groups on the Commons serve as social hubs, where participants can meet and discuss issues, access information, post presentations, and aggregate tweets.  And once the conference is over, the social network you’ve created provides a way for people to stay connected and keep the conversation going, as well as a space to archive what went on.

Getting Started

  • Create a WordPress site on the Commons. Here you can centralize all information about your conference, publish agendas and presentations, advertise, and provide a place where members can blog and comment on other posts. You might want to select a theme with a slider that will showcase presentations and create a buzz.
  • Post it on the Events Calendar
  • Optionally, create a group or a number of groups on the Commons. This can help with organization, provide an addition place for discussion, and launch a permanent space for like-minded colleagues to meet. Groups can provide a powerful social layer to your conference. Tools include discussion forums, announcement boards, file uploads, docs, email notifications, and reply by email functionality.
  • If you have a group and a blog – consider attaching them for better integration. Learn more about groups and group blogs.
  • Optionally – get a “CUNY.IS/[yourSiteName]” quick link for your conference site or group (or both). These easy-to-remember, short URLs help make the information about your conference easy to find.
  • Use the Announcements group to Call For Proposals, and for publicity and reminders about your conference.

Map your Domain

Does your conference already have its own domain name? Or does your department or program have a place where events typically reside? No worrries. You can map that address to your site on the Commons. This provides a great way to take advantage of the great functionality available at the Commons while still maintaining a connection to your traditional domain. Users can either type in your domain’s URL or the Commons URL to access the conference site.

The Commons is open to faculty, staff, graduate students, and graduate alums (we do make some exceptions and create some temporary accounts). If your conference audience does not fall into these categories, you can still use the Commons, but keep in mind that Non-Commons members cannot join groups. They can view your conference’s public site and post comments on posts and pages, but they will not be able to subscribe and create posts.

 

Curious to see how it worked out for others? Check out these past CUNY events:

Bronx Ed Tech Showcase

bronxedtech

 

 

Lehman, Hostos and Bronx Community College use the Commons to host their annual Bronx EdTech Showcase. The site gathers proposals via online forms, posts agendas, showcases presentations, provides directions, and archives past conferences.

 

The CUNY Games Festival

Another great example of how the Commons can be used to host a conference, The CUNY Games Festival used its site to publish its program, recognize sponsors, archive presentations, link to live streaming, provide directions, food and lodging information, and a blog for reflections and wrap-ups. The Commons homepage had a slider promoting the festival, with links to the site and registration page.

games

 

The Commons lets you create a free website for your conference, and offers a bunch of add-ons that may help both before, during, and after your event. Hope to see your event on the Commons!

Personal Sites or “Blogs”

cc-licensed photo “Evening” by flicker user aloucha

cc-licensed photo “Evening” by flicker user aloucha

Members can have as many WordPress “sites” on the Commons as they want. We have over 1,300 sites on the Commons, many are dedicated to academic group collaboration or professional partnerships. These fall under different use cases. This page deals with personal sites (or “blogs”) – one person posting her/his thoughts, research, articles, poems, images…

We offer domain mapping if you choose to purchase your own domain name – your site will be hosted on the Commons, but your URL will be your own.

Examples of Personal Sites:

Tony’s Thoughts – where the Anthony Picciano, professor and executive officer of the Ph.D. program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, reliably publishes his thoughts every day, many times focusing on pedagogical issues and current events.

Shehzad NadeemAssistant Professor of Sociology at Lehman College, uses a Commons blog as a portfolio site.

Orienting Statements – Perspectives on Black Music of the Americas by Dean S. Reynolds, a Ph.D. candidate in Ethno-musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center shows how someone can use a Commons site to gather resources and write incisive, personal blog posts. He also uses the site to post his CV and Bio.

Helldriver’s Pitstop – Because your foot shall slide in due time. One of our oldest ongoing blogs Helldriver’s Pit Stop is written by an Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College. By turns a music review, a personal diary, and an ongoing meditation on the nature of blogging, the blog recently forked in two directions: “What I’m Listening To” and the “Payphone Project.”

hell driver slide

 

 

 

 

Ways to Use the Commons

curves_15722867557_45c18967b2_zCUNY Academic Commons members use WordPress sites as blogs, portfolios, and CVs. They manage and publish academic journals, plan and conduct conferences and events, and post content to various initiatives.

They use groups simplify collaboration, centralize data, and foster collaboration. A group layered with a WordPress site can put a public face on private collaboration or research.

There are many ways to use the Commons to radiate your content, and we provide customized access to Google Analytics to track success rate. We also support “non-standard” customizations, for members who want to take their websites in new directions. For more information, see our Hosting Partner Handbook.

We hope you review our set of collaborative tools and check out the use cases below to see what’s possible on the Commons!

Issue Tracking

If you run into an issue on The Commons, you can report it by using one of the following two methods:

(1) The simpler method is to email us at support@cunycommons.zendesk.com.

(2) Experienced users may prefer to input the issue and track its resolution on CUNY Academic Commons on Redmine.

redmine

Our Redmine site (pictured above) requires the creation of a separate login account if you want to post. If you have GC account, you can use that to log in. If not, please write to itservices@gc.cuny.edu to create an account.  Once there, you can report an issue, request new WordPress plugins and themes, suggest site improvements, etc. The login is not required if you simply want to browse through all the projects the Commons Community is working on, including bug fixes, new features, support, documentation, outreach, and publicity. Our workflow is on open display.

 

10 Things to Do

ready-set-go

New to the Commons?

10 Things To Get You Started

  • Take the Tour and find out how members connect with colleagues, share ideas, and collaborate.
  • Join some groups or start a group of your own. Collaborate via forums, BP Docs, and file sharing. Participate from the comfort of your inbox using our robust reply-by-email feature.
  • Read some blogs or start one of your own to share interests and passions, facilitate departmental administration, advertise events, or publish research findings.
  • Browse the Commons Twitter page and filter tweets about CUNY six different ways.
  • Adjust Your Privacy to control your information’s visibility and the ways you get site notifications.
  • Follow Us on Facebook and Twitter to stay current with new posts, projects, and threads.
  • Get Help from a variety of resources or Send us a message by clicking the Help tab in the top upper right hand corner.  We welcome ideas on how to make the Commons better and your ideas contribute to our development priorities.
Thank you for joining the CUNY Academic Commons. If you need further assistance, email us at support@cunycommons.zendesk.com

Our Tools

mindmap_3122892780_8288951fd3_zAvailable to every member, our set of collaborative tools include:

  • Groups – you can join or start any number of groups and take advantage of the following functionality: (1) group forums – where members can start new topics, or participate in discussion threads; (2) group docs – a ways to collaborate on documents with group members – kind of like a private wiki; (3) file uploads – create repositories of data for members of your group to access; (4) group announcements – admins and moderators of groups post timely announcements for the whole group to read; and (5) group blogs, which extend group functionality and provide a way to publicize group work, either privately or publicly.
  • WordPress Sites – the Commons members can create an unlimited number of WP sites (aka “blogs” or websites). We have over 800 themes and 200 plugins that will help you create a unique websites. Our new Hosting Partner Handbook outlines the various non-standard customizations available, and includes procedures and guidelines for domain mapping requests, customized themes, new plugins, and site migrations.
  • My Commons – a personal homepage that highlights the network of friends, groups, and sites you develop on the Commons. Explore content relevant to you and stay current with your connections by establishing friendships, joining groups, and following WordPress sites that you find interesting.
  • Profile/Portfolio/CV – use the Commons to establish an online presence. We provide a sophisticated system to maintain member profiles, with easy-to-use widgets to list publications, education, positions, academic interests, RSS feeds, etc.
  • Notification settings – handle how you want to receive email notifications – right away, once a day, once a week, not at all… We have granular settings that help tailor the way you stay in touch with Commons groups and friends.
  • Reply by Email – When you receive an email notification from the Commons, you don’t have to log on to the Commons to reply. You can reply from the comfort of your email in-box.
  • Messaging – Write and receive private messages to and from any member of the Commons
  • Personal Announcements – let our community know what’s happening. The Commons provides a space for everyone to post latest news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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