Community Groups

Introduction

ComSoc Community Groups are online areas where Community members can discuss and share resources regarding a common topic. These groups can be used to organize a team, to plan an event, or just to discuss a common area of interest.

Presently, all groups are private. This means that users must be a member of the group to view its contents. There are two ways which groups can add new members:

  • Moderated Groups - These groups require users to apply for membership to the group. A group administrator must then approve or deny the request. This type of group is ideal for groups which discuss a sensitive topic which should not be open to the public.
  • Open Groups - These groups allow users to join immediately, with no approval required by an administrator. This type of group is ideal for groups open to the public which do not contain sensitive material.

All Community Groups are listed on the main groups page. This page lists some basic information about each group along with a link to join the group. Moderated groups will display a "Request membership" link and open groups will display a "Join" link. When requesting membership to a moderated group, please be sure to give your full name, affiliation, and reason for joining in the space provided. This will help the group administrators in making their approval decision.

Creating a Group

Any Community member may start one or more of their own groups.  If you do not already have a Community account, you can create an account here. To create a group, visit the main groups page and click the "Create a new group" button. In the Create Group form that appears:

Enter your group’s name in the Name field and a brief description in the Description field. For example:

Name: GIMS
Description: Globecomm / ICC Management and Strategy Committee

Choose one of the two membership options: Open or Moderated. As described above, Moderated groups require new members to be approved by you, the group administrator. Open groups allow users to join immediately.

In the "Mission statement" field, enter a general introduction to the group. This message is displayed at the top of the group’s home page - and is visible to members and non-members alike. Non-members will see only the mission statement and no other group content so don’t include any sensitive material in the mission statement if you’re running a Moderated group. The mission statement is a good place to describe what the group is about and to help prospective members decide if they should join.

Ignore the Comment Settings section.

Click Save and you’re done creating your group.

Adding Content to a Group

Both group administrators and group members can create content within the groups they belong to. Groups can contain the following types of content:

  • Events
  • Announcements
  • Files
  • Discussion Forums and Discussion Topics

To create a piece of content, click the green plus icons on the group's home page. These icons are labeled: "Create an event," "Submit an announcement," "Upload a file," and "Start a discussion."

Creating an Event

An event is used to represent some future event - a meeting, conference, or other occasion.

When creating an event, give a brief title of the event in the Title field. There's no need to put the date or time of the event in the title as there is a separate field for this information. In the Body field provide a description of the event, the location, and any contact information or other details. In the Date and Time field you must specify a From Date and Time. If you'd like to indicate when the event finishes, provide a To Date and Time. For example, a meeting on 1/1/2009 from 10am to 3pm would need to be entered as From 1/1/2009 10:00AM and To 1/1/2009 3:00PM. It's possible to create events that spans multiple days as well. The "Repeat" section within "Date and Time" is optional, but can be used to create events which occur regularly.

The "Groups" section within the Create Event form can be ignored.

The "Signup settings" section within the Create Event form is optional, but can be used to allow group members to RSVP to an event. This will allow you to provide an email address that will receive notifications, as well as a confirmation email to be sent to respondents, and a reminder email to be sent to respondents just before the event.

Click the Save button to submit the event.

Creating an Announcement

Announcements are general-purpose postings of some information or news relative to the group.

Enter a brief title in the Title field and the body of the announcement in the Body field.

Click the Save button to submit the announcement.

Creating a File

Files are documents from your local computer uploaded to be shared to the group.

Enter a brief title of the document in the Title field, and a description or comments in the Description field.

In the File Attachments section, click the Browse button to select a local file for upload. You may select files of the types: jpg jpeg gif png txt doc xls pdf ppt pps odt ods odp docx xlsx pptx.

After you've selected the file, click the Attach button to upload it.

Finally, click the Save button to submit this file.

Creating a Discussion Forum (group administrators only)

Discussion forums are areas where online discussion takes place. A forum is a general container for many forum topics. Forum topics are conversations about a specific subject. A group will not have many forums in general as they represent "top-level" topics. For this reason, only group administrators may create forums. Forum topics, and comments within forum topics, can be created by any group member.

To create a forum a group administrator clicks either the "Start a discussion" or "View discussion forums" links on the group home page. Then on the forums page they click "Create a new forum"

Enter a brief, descriptive title in the Title field and a short description of the forum in the Description field.

Click the Save button to submit the new forum. This forum is now available for all group members to post topics in.

Creating a Discussion Topic

Discussion topics are individual conversations within a forum. Any group member can create a discussion topic.

To create a discussion topic, click on the "Start a discussion" or "View discussion forums" links on the group home page. On the forums page, select a forum to post a topic to. If there are no forums listed then the group administrators have not yet created any.

Once you're viewing a forum you will see all the topics within that forum. Click the "Create a new topic" button to post a new topic.

Enter a brief title in the Title field and your message in the Body field.

Click the Save button to submit the new topic.

Users, yourself included, may now read your topic and discuss with each other by clicking "Post a reply" on the topic page.

Inviting Members to a Group

As a group administrator or a group member you may invite friends and colleagues to a group. If the group is moderated and your are not an administrator you will be allowed to invite other members but an administrator will need to approve their membership if they accept your invitation.

Visit the group's home page and click the Send Invitations tab at the top of the page.

One per line, enter the email addresses of those you would like to invite. Optionally enter a personal message in the space provided.

This form will email all the addresses provided. If an invitee does not already have a Community account they will be given instructions for creating an account as part of the process.

Clicking the Send Invitations tab and then the Manage Invitations sub-tab will allow group administrators to view all invitations which have been sent and whether the invitee has accepted or declined the invitation.

Managing Group Members (group administrators only)

Group administrators may manage the group's members. To do this, visit the group's home page and then click "View all members" under the members section.

On the members page an administrator may approve or deny a membership request to a moderated group. There will be an "approve" and "deny" link next to pending memberships.

Administrators can also click the "Admin: Create" link next to a member to promote them to administrator status, or "Admin: Remove" to demote the member.

Finally, administrators can click "Remove membership" to remove a user from the group.

Emailing all Group Members (group administrators only)

Group administrators may email all group members by using the Broadcast feature. To do this, visit the group's home page and then click the Broadcast tab at the top of the page. Enter a subject and a body and click the Send Message button. This message will be sent via email to all registered members of the group.

Leaving a Group

To leave a group, visit the group's home page and click the "View all members" link. Next to your username click the "Remove membership" link.

Getting Help

If you have any questions or experience any errors while using the ComSoc Communities web site, please contact us here.