Welcome to The CUNY Academic Commons, Version 1.1!

CC-licensed photo by Leo Reynolds

We’re happy to announce that version 1.1 of the CUNY Academic Commons is now live!

All upgrades to the site are important, but this one brought an especially large number of new features and revisions. The Community Team will be blogging about these changes over the next week, but we’d like to start by providing an overview of the upgrade:

Latest Version of WordPress Now Running
WordPress underwent a major upgrade of its own since our last major update. Moving our own installation to the latest version means that we can take advantage of new features and plugins, opening up a range of new possibilities on our own site.

Digest Options for Email Notifications
We have enabled a new plugin, co-written by our own Boone Gorges, that gives members new options for receiving email notifications of group activities. Members can now choose to receive notifications by email in a weekly summary, a daily digest, new topics only, or all posts as they are added to the site. Members can also choose not to receive email notifications at all. These preferences are easily accessible from the home pages of groups or from one’s member profile page (go to Profile > Edit Profile > Settings > Notifications).

Beautiful New Blog Themes
We recently purchases a license for a set of beautifully designed WordPress blog themes crafted by WooThemes. Those of you who run blogs on the Commons now have a host of gorgeous new themes to choose from. If you haven’t changed your theme in a while, go to Dashboard > Appearance > Theme to select a new theme. Do keep in mind that these themes may require some additional customization; look for theme-specific customization menus in the dashboard after you activate a theme, and please contact us if you have any problems.

Easier Updating of the Homepage Slides
This is an admin feature only, but it affects the homepage of the site. A newly installed plugin, created expressly for the Commons by WordPress mavens Ron and Andrea, will allow us to change the slides on the homepage of the site much more frequently (the previous process was cumbersome). Look for us to use that space to feature content on the site in a much more timely manner.

New Activation Email
We want to make sure that new members get off on the right foot, so we have edited the email message they receive after they sign up. That message now points them to members of their college who are already on the site, a list of important links, and a selection of support resources that they can check out. If you have other suggestions, please let us know.

New Blog Plugins!
Members have requested that we add new plugins to the site, and we are glad to do that as long as they are safe. With this update, we have added the following WordPress plugins: widgetize google, google maps embed, Media Element HTML 5 player

A Kinder, Gentler, More Mannered Commons
We’ve altered some of the default language of our platform to make it more appropriate to our work. Members of groups no longer have to be “kicked and banned” — they can now simply be “removed” from a group. And friend requests will no longer be “rejected” — rather, they can be declined. We trust that these changes will result in a more polite Commons that will make the rowdy days of the Commons-as-frontier slowly disappear from memory (I’d love to throw in an Al Swearengen quotation, but that seems impossible now. Sigh).

Group URL Changes
A few group administrators noted recently that although they had changed the names of their groups, the URL of their groups did not change along with it. We have rectified this situation by adding a plugin that allows group admins to change the URL of their groups.

This is just a broad overview of some of the many changes we made to the site with this upgrade, which included 20 bug fixes, 37 feature additions, and 1 support issue. For a full range of changes made to the site, please consult the 1.1 milestone on our ticketing system.

And please stay tuned for more blog posts highlighting some of these changes in more detail.

Update:
Here are additional posts about the upgrade:

Commons 1.1 (Development Blog Feature Release Summary)

Upgrades to the Group Feature for Commons 1.1

Commons 1.1.1 (Development Blog Feature Release Summary)

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