Version 1.15 Released: Streamlined Creation for Groups and Sites

As the CUNY Academic Commons grows faster than ever, and is used by an increasing number of community members for a diverse range of projects, our latest release makes it easier to set up new spaces for collaboration and sharing. Today we are introducing a Creation Portal that will be a one-stop launch point for our three types of spaces — Groups, Sites, and connected Group + Sites. The portal guides members through the process to help them choose the best option for their needs and get the most out of these powerful Commons tools.

The Creation Portal continues our work to improve the Commons for teaching, research and scholarship. 1.13 introduced an invitation system to streamline the process of adding new users. 1.14 provided site templates for the most common use cases and bundled popular plugins into easy-to-activate packages. 1.15 makes it easier to launch the kinds of spaces that fit user needs and introduces a new metadata schema to increase discoverability of activity across the Commons. With all of these improvements, new members can more quickly develop projects on the Commons and more readily find and follow work on the Commons relevant to their interests.

Keep reading for more information about the new features of Commons 1.15.

Creation Portal

Clicking on a Create link at the top of the Group or Site directories will bring logged-in members to the new Creation Portal. Here’s where to find the button in the Site directory:

The portal provides a quick comparison of the tools available on the Commons to help users choose what will best serve their needs. It simplifies the creation process and clarifies the option of the connected Group + Site configuration that allows members to link a group and site together to harness and integrate the functionalities of both spaces. Click for full documentation on creating a Group, a Site, or a connected Group + Site using the new portal.

creation portal commons screenshot

Directory Information

The new creation process offers an improved and streamlined design, while adding a few important items. Creators will now be required to select the Campus and Primary Purpose associated with their new Group and/or Site. This information will be used to better organize and surface teaching and other innovative uses of the Commons in the future, and will help the Commons team better understand and support varied uses across CUNY.

Creators who select “Teaching” as Primary Purpose will also be prompted to choose the relevant academic term and year, as well as the disciplinary cluster within which their course fits: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Professional, Other, or N/A.

screenshot extra teaching fields

Spaces identified as teaching-oriented will be added to the Commons Courses directory, making it easier for students and faculty to find their courses and to explore the range of teaching-related projects on the Commons. The course directory will, over time, become a showcase for a wide range of student and faculty work across the CUNY system.

Groups and sites that have been marked as public and private will appear in the directory, though the content of private groups and sites will not be visible to non-logged in members who are not part of those spaces. Admins also have the option of removing groups and sites from public view in the directory.

Other Features

  • Analytics: Users can now more easily integrate Google Analytics with a Commons site to improve their tracking and understanding of its traffic. Read the documentation here for more on setting up both Google Analytics and the Commons integration.
  • Leave a Multi-Author Site: There is a new option under “My Account > My Sites” in the toolbar menu or under “My Sites” in the Sites Directory tab to leave a site one no longer wants to be associate with their Commons account (documentation here). Here’s the My Sites option in action:

overflow menu screenshot gif

  • Group Notification Controls: Users can now control whether group members are notified of new posts on an associated Site on a post-by-post basis. There is a “Send to Group” checkbox to toggle on or off when hitting the Publish button.

With all of these new improvements, Version 1.15 of the Commons makes the process of using the Commons to teach, to share research, and to connect with others across the CUNY system more intuitive and effective. We hope you enjoy these new features and we invite you to send us your feedback as you begin to explore them.

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