• BuddyPress: One Plugin, Five Communities

    Smashing Magazine, September 26, 2012

    examines five BuddyPress implementations, including the CUNY Academic Commons:

     ”The Commons is in the lucky position of having a lead developer who is one of the core committers to BuddyPress. … As BuddyPress’ core becomes more stable and lean, the team at CUNY will be able to build even more custom plugins and functionality, which can be used in the Commons and disseminated to the wider community.”

  • Openness, value, and scholarly societies: The Modern Language Association model“ 

    College and Research Libraries, December, 2012

    Kathleen Fitzpatrick lays out the MLA’s plans to ensure public access to the group’s published works, and includes a nice mention of the CUNY Academic Commons and the collaborative effort to build networked communities designed to help members connect, collaborate, and share.

    “We understand MLA Commons as one key to the new value proposition for scholarly societies, in which members join the association less in order to receive its communications than to participate in them, to be part of the conversation, and to have their work circulated with the work being done in their community of practice.”

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Openness, value, and scholarly societies: The Modern Language Association model

College and Research Libraries, December, 2012

Kathleen Fitzpatrick lays out the MLA’s plans to ensure public access to the group’s published works, and includes a nice mention of the CUNY Academic Commons and the collaborative effort to build networked communities designed to help members connect, collaborate, and share.

“We understand MLA Commons as one key to the new value proposition for scholarly societies, in which members join the association less in order to receive its communications than to participate in them, to be part of the conversation, and to have their work circulated with the work being done in their community of practice.”

MLA to Launch Scholarly Communication Network– October, 2012– In her Library Journal article, Meredith Schwartz reports that the Modern Language Association, under the directorship of Kathleen Fitzpatrick, is building its MLA Commons based on “Commons in a Box” software.C-Box, as @kfitznotes:

“… is working toward a federated commons-of-commonses … developing greater connections across scholarly societies as well as with universities and other higher education organizations.

BuddyPress: One Plugin, Five Communities  Smashing Magazine, September 26, 2012.  Siobhan McKeown examines five BuddyPress implementations, including the CUNY Academic Commons:

”The Commons is in the lucky position of having a lead developer who is one of the core committers to BuddyPress. … As BuddyPress’ core becomes more stable and lean, the team at CUNY will be able to build even more custom plugins and functionality, which can be used in the Commons and disseminated to the wider community.”

The Commons Wins a Sloan-C Award for Effective Practice– July 9, 2012 — The Sloan Consortium has announced that the CUNY Academic Commons will receive an award in effective practices in online and blended education at their 5th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning, July 25-27, in Las Vegas.“The CUNY Academic Commons: Social Network as Hatchery” was one of six winning practices recognized for a number of criteria, including “innovation and replicability” and the ability to advance “the goals of access, learning effectiveness, faculty and student satisfaction, and scalability.”
THEME SONG FOR OUR TIME: SLF, OWS, CUNY AC” – January 8, 2012 - Larry HanleyBabylon Is Burning – A serendipitous moment, with Stiff Little Fingers’ “Alternative Ulster” playing in the background, an email about OccupySFSU on the screen, and a popup tweet announcing “Commons in a Box,” allows Hanley’s sharp eyes to focus on alternate worlds.  Coming out of The Troubles in Belfast, the 1977 the punk lyrics are angry, but resist nihilism: “Grab it, change it, it’s yours/Get an Alternative Ulster/Ignore the bores, their laws.” The Occupy movement also displays a “desperate hope” to hack together an alternate world.  And the CUNY Academic Commons’ decision to view “application development as collaboration” and participate in the larger Open Source community allows for “new modes and intensities of participation.   Punk imploded the distance between stage and audience, performer and fan.   Open-source encourages similar erasures.”

Some might equate this kind of refusal with chaos or irresponsibility.  CUNY Academic Commons (CAC) instructs us otherwise.  CAC began with a similar refusal. Recognizing a need for community within and across CUNY’s 17 campuses, CAC chose the model of a “social network” over a “static archive.”  This decision, however, was really a decision about ends and means.

CUNY Plans to Share Social Network Tools That Break Down Silos” – December 13, 2011 – Tanya RoscariaConverge - Roscaria provides a detailed history of the CUNY Academic Commons and clearly articulates the need for federated “Commons” sites. The Commons In A Box provides for:

…a constellation of collaborative common spaces that will help scholars, academics and people working at nonprofits do their work. If someone’s a member of two different commons like CUNY and MLA, that person should be able to have their information in both spaces without typing it twice…

Death Knell for the Paywall” – December 2, 2011 – In its weekly podcast, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM)  at George Mason University’s Digital Campus featured  “Commons in a Box” as one of three projects that are taking on corporations and developing their own educational technology.

…a free (funded by the Sloan Foundation) academic social networking system of blogs and wikis that will be built by non-dropouts from the CUNY Academic Commons…

MLA Parternering with CUNY in Important Scholarly Communications Initiative: Commons in a Box” – Nov 28, 2011- Jason Baird Jackson -Associate Professor of Folklore and American Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.Jason Baird Jackson sees the potential of partnering directly with universities in the development of tools, protocols, strategies, and projects in the scholarly communications:

This project brings together the open source tools already being used by CUNY Academic Commons and will make them available and easily installable at other institutions. For the MLA and its 30K+ members, these software tools will be the basis for MLA Commons.

Commons in a Box” & the Importance of Open Academic Networks” – Nov 28, 2011- Audrey Watters – Inside Higher Ed- Audrey Watters reflects on the CUNY Academic Commons’ “Commons in a Box” grant, and notes how open paradigms emphasize a community’s shared ownership of a project, and “work” for academics:

…open source versus proprietary technology isn’t the only thing at stake. Nor is it simply that Commons in a Box supports an open ecosystem versus a “walled garden.” It is that latter piece that seems particularly noteworthy, however, as the project is part of a larger movement on campuses to open up academic scholarship itself — not just through (open source) social networking but through open access…

Creating New Academic Networks With Commons in a Box- Nov 22, 2011- Jennifer Howard – In the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campusblog, Jennifer Howard reported that the Commons has received a Sloan Foundation grant to develop an open-source software project to help other institutions set up social networks for their members.

…CUNY Academic Commons will work with the Modern Language Association on a pilot project to create an “MLA Commons” for its more than 30,000 members … to help promote members’ activities…

100+ Amazing Sites Powered by WordPress and BuddyPress”- ThemeShock - June, 2011 – In their section called “Clean by Structure,” the authors praise CUNY Academic Commons for its careful organization and clean, three-column interface:

…designed to support faculty initiatives and build community through the use of technology in teaching and learning…

Using WordPress as a Library Content Management System – June 2011 – Kyle Jones and Polly-Alida Farrington – In the American Library Association’s Library Technology Reports, Jones & Farrington “deliver a richly illustrated, practical guide for using WordPress as a tool for managing digital content, from basic set-up to customization with plugins.” Their section “Roll your Own Social Network,” cites the CUNY Academic Commons as

one of the most successful BuddyPress projects in education.

Mashing Up the Institution: Teacher as Bricoleur – The Radical Teacher, 2011- Larry Handley explores how technology can either reinforce centralization, standardization, and rationalization, or open up “new spaces and practices of creativity, knowledge, and communications.” He cites the Commons as an example of how networks can be hacked together for learning rather than profit:

…the faculty at City University of New York have recently used WordPress, an open-source blog engine, to create the CUNY Academic Commons, a virtual platform for scholarly exchange and teacher collaboration shaped by interests and engagement of faculty.

15 Go-To Places for WordPress and BuddyPress – WPMU.org, 2011- Siobhan Ambrose The CUNY Academic Commons was commended for its BuddyPress work:

As well as releasing a number of significant BuddyPress plugins, they also post regularly with BuddyPress Tips and Hacks. As a large BuddyPress network they produce some insightful and useful content that you should be taking advantage of.

The CUNY Academic Commons: Building the Social University” – March 2, 2011 – Kristjiana Gong – In Yale University’s Collaborative Learning Centerblog, Kristjiana Gong describes a meeting with the Commons’ own Matt Gold and Boone Gorges in which the Commons was showcased as a way to build a “social university.”

…transparency in development and support … porous boundaries between users and support at all levels … regular communication … users are engaged in creating a warmer community.

The CUNY Academic Commons: fostering faculty use of the social web – February, 2011 – Matt Gold and George Otte – The authors published a case study in the journal On the Horizon, chronicling the steps they took to develop and implement the Commons.

open and participatory forms of academic social spaces within the CUNY system encourage peer-to-peer learning among faculty members and experimentation with social media in the classroom. As a generative platform for engaging social media, the CUNY Academic Commons is making the professoriate of the largest urban public university system in the world more visible to itself and to a wider public.

February 26, 2011 – Benjamin Allen Campbell over at The College of Education at the University of Florida gave a great shout-out to the Commons, noting how it is:

…a digital hub for the disparate faculty who are scattered around 23 colleges in the 5 Burroughs” and how it “has grown up in a very big way.

The 20 Most Outstanding BuddyPress sites of 2010- December, 2010 – In BPInspireJerome Degl’innocenti recently honored the CUNY Academic Commons by putting it in its list of the Top 20 BuddyPress sites!

The sites featured … each created a strong community, demonstrate excellent custom development and are rich in design creativity.

New College Social Networks, Unlike Facebook, Foster Academic Interaction” – October 10, 2010 – Travis Kaya – In its “Technology” column, The Chronicle of Higher Education featured CUNY Academic Commons and University of Pennsylvania’s Open Learning Commons as premiere “learning communities.”

Universities are turning to social networking to create online learning communities that mix serious academic work, and connections among working scholars…

Internal Social Networks May Help Break Down Institutional Silos – October 1, 2010 – Richard Nantel - Brandon Hall Research’s Newletter/Blog WorkPlace Learning Today featured the CUNY Academic Commons efforts to use social networking to break down institutional silos.

Institutional silos are a reality of all large organizations; whether in academia, the private sector, or government. Internal social networks may help open communications between departments and may improve knowledge transfer.

CUNY Social Network Mixes Scholarship With Facebook-Style Friendship” – September 29, 2010 – Travis Kaya – CUNY Academic Commons was featured in “Wired Campus” column of the Chronicle for Higher Education.

Rather than setting the Academic Commons in stone, the committee [on Academic Technology] decided that it would leave the platform design—and the source code—open for user input, allowing it to evolve over time.

Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle” – July/August, 2010 – Brian Lamb and Jim Groom – In their article in Educause, the authors discuss the future of educational technology and note the accomplishments of the CUNY Academic Commons.

…we offer a shout-out to the jaw-dropping CUNY Academic Commons … which seamlessly integrates the open-source WordPress, MediaWiki, and BuddyPress platforms into an appealing and highly sustainable environment.

WordPress a Better LMS – March 18, 2010 – David Parry – CUNY Academic Commons was one of three examples listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Prof Hacker” column about how to use WordPress as a LMS tool.

This is a really advanced WordPress set-up … an example of what could be done University wide if the instructors wanted to drop Blackboard and commit to a better solution.

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