Getting the most out of CBOX: Connecting groups and sites

Several people have set up course websites on our network. This is great! If you haven’t already done so, consider setting up both a group and a site on our CBOX network for your class. Here’s why and how.

Think of your class-specific site as a boat, and the group is the rope that ties the boat back to the dock (futuresinitiative.org homepage). The site on its own is perfectly functional, but if you also create a group and connect the two, then new activity on the site will also generate activity on the homepage and in the group, tying your class members to one another and the larger community.

To set up a group for your class, start by clicking Groups, then “Create a Group.” One step in the set-up process will ask if you would like to enable a group blog.  Check the box to enable a blog, and in the drop-down box, select the site that you have already created. (If you haven’t created a site yet and would like to do so, you can also create one at this point in the process—or, you can always add one later.) Doing so connects the two so that new blog posts generate activity and notifications in the group. If you’d like students to be able to blog on the site, check “Enable member blog posting” and ensure that the default member role is set to “author”.

As an example, see this group: http://futuresinitiative.org/groups/chst4200_researchmethods/. Click Blog in the left-hand sidebar, and you’ll see activity from the corresponding site, http://futuresinitiative.org/chst4200/.

If you set the group and site up in this way, you can instruct your students to register for an account on the main CBOX site, then once their account is approved, have them join the group. That should be a relatively straightforward first step to get them connected, and you can then ease them into writing blog posts and forum threads. This documentation from CUNY Academic Commons may also be helpful: http://codex.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2011/10/05/groups-and-group-blogs-and-bringing-content-together/.