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How To: Shorten a URL

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If you’re on Twitter you have probably selected a link similar to http://tiny.cc/xphnk which redirects you to the much longer URL https://apicciano.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2010/07/20/e-books-outselling-hardcover-books-at-amazon-com/. You may ask yourself — how is this done? Well look no further!

There are many free web services that will take your lengthy URLs and shorten them for you. This not only allows frees up more characters for your Twitter post, but generally makes it easier to cut and paste URLs into emails, text messages, chats, etc…

Some of these services out there are:

To use Tiny URL as an example, you would simply paste the URL that you wish to be shortened into the big box then select ‘tiny!’. Once the shortened URL is generated you can use it however you’d  like and also monitor stats.

How To: Add a new user to your blog

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Want to add a user to your blog? No problem, just follow these 5 steps…

1. Log into the Dashboard of your blog.

2. Navigate to the Users tab located in the left navigation bar of your Dashboard and select ‘Add New’. (The Users tab is located between the Plugins and Tools tabs).

3. Enter the member’s username (this can be found on their profile page).

*Please note- Only Commons members can be added to a blog.

4. Enter the member’s email address.

5. Set the role of the new user to: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor or Subscriber.

A bit about the WPMU member roles:

  • Administrator – Somebody who has access to all the administration features.
  • Editor – Somebody who can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
  • Author – Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish posts.
  • Subscriber – Somebody who can read comments/comment/receive news letters, etc.

That person will be sent an email asking them to click a link confirming the invite.

*New users will not need a new username or password to log into the blog — once they log into the Commons they will have access to the blog under ‘My Blogs’ on the top navigation bar.

Upgrade Changes For Groups

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Greetings to all Groups on the CUNY Academic Commons! As promised, @boonebgorges has delivered a major upgrade to the Commons which leads us to the inevitable question, how will these changes affect us? Well, I am here to help you better understand our new group features and how to use them.

Group Wire —> Updates & Replies

As I’m sure most of you now know, where once there was a group wire now there is no more. Some of you may have had your Settings>Email Notifications set to receive an email when a member posted to the wire and while that option no longer exists (see *UPDATE below), it has been replaced with something very similar… only more customizable — Updates. This is much more similar to Facebook than the Wire and I will demonstrate via these screenshots below.Group administrators and moderators can post an Announcement to the Group Page, which can be used to quickly connect information to the entire group. Group members can “Reply” to any update, much like leaving a “Comment” on Facebook. When someone replies to a conversation you are involved in, you will be sent an email notification. Replies are no longer limited to Forums — yay!

*UPDATE 5/6/10 –  developer @boonebgorges has just Added an “email to members” checkbox to the BuddyPress group activity stream. This means that administrators and moderators now have the option to push out a specific announcement to all group members via email. Thanks Boone!

@Mention System

There is also another way to include particular members via email notification. You may have noticed in both the screenshot from Facebook and the Academic Commons that a “friend/member” was hyperlinked in the update. While the “tag/@mention” process is done somewhat differently, it has the same effect — it links others to the profile of the individual while notifying the individual of the mention via email. This @mention system was first implemented by Twitter, but has been adapted by Facebook and now us!

If you are trying to reach out to specific group members, simply put the @ symbol in front of their username and it will send a notification to their email address. This is a great way to bring members into conversations that can otherwise be easily overlooked in the frenzy of Web2.0 information overload. Don’t know a member’s username? Just go to their profile page and their @handle will be listed directly below their name.

Filters

The Buddypress upgrade has also made it easier to navigate through Groups via the new filterable Recent Group Activity stream where you can choose to view: Updates, New Forum Topic, Forum Replies, New Group Memberships, Wiki Edits and my personal favorite… No Filter! The main landing page for groups is No Filter, so members can see everything at a glance. If you prefer to view group activity without necessarily being logged into the Academic Commons, there is also the option of subscribing to the group’s RSS Feed.

Reply, Reply, Reply

Another great thing about the new Reply feature is that it’s not limited to Updates. I can welcome members to a group and organize conversations in ways that used to be impossible — as seen by my reply below to a New Group Membership.

Being able to reply to a specific comment or activity allows the conversation to continue in a structured way and hopefully makes it easier for members to keep track of different conversations throughout the Commons.

If you have a request or suggestion for your group please let us know.

(Profile and Settings) Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

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So you signed up for the CUNY Academic Commons with your full name and required CUNY email, but you would prefer to be called Susie instead of Suse ( <–insert funny Seinfeld quote here–> )… or you would prefer to display your yahoo email address for members to contact you. This video from Screen Toaster will guide you through the easy steps and will also show you how to change your email account where you receive notifications through the Academic Commons. If you don’t want to view the video, you can also just follow the easy steps below.

If you want to change your display name and email address:

screencapture

1. Select: My Commons> My Profile> Edit Profile

2. To change your display name, re-write your preferred name in the ‘Full Name (required)’ field

3. To change your display email, re-write your preferred email in the ‘Email Address’ field

4. Select Save Changes

*Note, this will not change the address where you will receive notifications through the Academic Commons.

To change the email address where you recieve notifications through the Academic Commons:

screencast2

1. Select: My Commons>  My Settings> General

2. Re-write your preferred email account in the ‘Account Email’ field

3. Select Save Changes


 

…Voila!

How To: Upload Group Files

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**UPDATE 5/15/2011** An exciting new feature called “Docs” has been added, allowing you to write and edit collaboratively with members of your group. In order to avoid confusion with Docs, we’ve changed the old “Documents” tab to “Files”. All the files you uploaded to your group in the past can be found on the new “Files” tab on the left side of your group’s page.

Whether you want to post a related article, power point presentation or a record of minutes from a meeting, the “Files” tab can help members share information and collaborate. Tag your file with a category to easily access minutes, syllabi, or whatever you upload. Want to learn how to upload your files?

Just follow the instructions from the video below… or click here to view in HD.

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