Tag Archives | uses

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

 

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

just-publics-550x414

 

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

How Groups Can Use the Commons

Groups on the Commons

The Academic Commons is a great place for CUNY groups, so we thought we’d pull together a list of some of the ways that groups can use this space to collaborate. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything. And please feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments, too.

Type of Groups

Any member of the Academic Commons can create a group (here’s how). If you’d like to create a group, there are three types to choose from:

Public Groups

With a public group everything the group creates is visible on the Commons: the group page, member list, announcements, and forum posts. No permission is required to join a public group. Public groups can also enable group blogs and set different roles for members.

Private Groups

In a private group certain elements of the group are not visible to those who are not members. Only members can see the member list, announcements, and forum posts. The group does appear in the list on the Commons Groups page, but non-members can only view a simplified version of the group page. You must request membership to join a private group.

Hidden Groups

A hidden group is invisible on the Commons to everyone except for group members. The group page, member list, wire, and forum posts are all hidden from the public.

Once you’ve created your group, here are some ways your group can use the Commons:

Communicating between group members

To communicate to all members of a group, administrators and moderators can post group announcements and check the box beneath the text field to email the update to all members. Members can reply to group updates. In a public group, the activity on the group’s page will also be visible to anyone; in a private or hidden group, group activity will only be visible to group members. *Please note- If a group changes from private to public, prior annoucements will no longer be accessible to group members.

The forum enables all members of a group to start and engage in conversations on any given subject. Members can attach files and subscribe to specific topics.

Groups may also wish to create a blog and use blog posts and comments for group communication. By default Commons blogs are visible to all, though you can adjust the blog’s privacy settings. Individual posts may also be so that only those who know the password can view them.

Host a blog or website to share information about the group’s work

All Commons members can create a blog on the site, and any group member can be added to the blog as a content contributor. The Commons runs on the WordPress blogging system which is easy to update and customize. Groups and members can also create static pages on their WordPress blog, just as on a standard website.

Posting meeting minutes and other documents

Groups may wish to use their Commons space to archive meeting minutes or other pertinent documents. One way to accomplish this is to use the group’s forum. Minutes can be uploaded as a forum post or attached as a file. Commons forums accept most common file types as attachments, for example, Word docs or PDFs.

To learn how to add documents to blog posts, click here.

Collaborative editing

Group members may wish to collaborate on documents, resources, etc., and the Academic Commons wiki is a great space for that kind of collaboration. Groups can create as many pages on the wiki as they’d like.

All wiki pages are currently visible to all Commons visitors. If you’ve created a wiki page and would like to have it linked from the main wiki page, please let us know.

With the Commons 1.2 release, group admins can now enable “Docs,” a powerful new tool that allows groups to collaboratively write and edit documents. Docs is a simple way for groups to work together on creating documents and store them within the group. The collaborative documents can be tagged, commented on, and and searched through by keywords. To learn more about this new feature, please click here.

The Academic Commons is designed to be flexible, so you can tailor your use of Groups to meet your members’ unique needs. If you come up with creative uses that we didn’t mention here, please write to us at support@cunycommons.zendesk.com.

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