Groups for Collaboration

MSU Commons can be a great tool for collaboration within the university. All faculty, staff, and current students are eligible to join, and the groups functionality is perfect for coordination of projects, events, and courses.

Things to think about when choosing where to set up your collaboration space:

  • MSU Commons is restricted to MSU faculty, staff, and students. If you are collaborating with people outside of the university, you’ll want to set up on Humanities Commons so that everyone can log in and participate.
  • MSU Commons is not limited to faculty and staff in the humanities. Anyone who has access to MSU Commons can create a group, and the Commons network is expanding into STEM.
  • Groups can be set to public, private, or hidden:
    • Public groups can be seen not just by MSU Commons users, but are also publicly available for browsing by members of the public.
    • Private groups are listed on the website, but users must request to join.
    • Hidden groups are not listed on the website, and users must be invited by administrators to join.

Here is a general guide for using Groups, and here are a couple of examples of education-focused groups on Humanities Commons:

Explore the Humanities Commons groups page for additional groups, and feel free to create MSU-specific groups here on MSU Commons.

More information can be found about groups on our Getting Started with MSU Commons website and MSU Commons for Educators

Using Groups for Courses

Groups can be an easy way to automate some onboarding for classes and facilitate discussion and collaboration. A group allows you to utilize the event calendar, discussion board, docs, and files and also enables creation of a group website that can automatically add students in the appropriate role when they join. Even if you don’t intend to use the discussion board, the automation of website onboarding is worth creating a group. 

Groups for Collaboration

In addition to courses, MSU Commons groups can provide digital spaces for you to chat with other educators and share or co-create teaching materials. This might look like joining and browsing materials and discussions, discussing ideas for time-management or classroom discussion strategies, or you might work with other group-members to build a rubric using the “Documents” feature within your group.

Should I create a group website when I create my group?

Creating a group website when creating a group can be convenient. Groups can be used to allow users to be assigned roles within the website upon joining. Still, there are a few things to think about as you decide how to organize your Commons presence:

  • Will you use the website only for this group/section/course for the current semester? If so, then yes, create the website when you create the group.
  • Will you reuse the website for multiple semesters? If so, create the website separately so that it is unconnected to the group.
  • If you’re unsure if you’ll want a website later on you can create a group website later in the group settings. 

You can continue to reuse a website that was created for a particular group, but you may need to reassess permissions on the website for group members if the group disbanded or is no longer in use. See MSU Commons websites for more information on setting up and naming a website. 


Managing group roles and memberships

Making a group website

Using discussion in groups

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