Groups are meeting places for users to host their own content and events. They are also flexible structures that can serve a variety of functions: they can be courses, research groups, or simply a group of users with similar interests. Since groups allow for fine control of different roles and permissions, they can allow several users (e.g. students, teaching assistants, and lecturers in the case of a course group, or research associates and PIs in the case of a research project) to have different levels of permissions over a group and its content. Researchers can use Serai's groups to create a single, convenient space to share research materials in various formats with other group members, to coordinate project tasks, and to present their findings in an archived and easily discoverable and accessible space.
Table of Contents
1. Creating a Group.
2. Navigating Your Group.
2.4 Manage Group.
2.4.1 Add People.
2.4.2 Group Menu.
3. Creating Group Content.
5. Editing Your Group.
1. Creating a Group
From the Serai homepage, there are two ways to create a new group: either go to "Create Content" and select "Group"; or, go to "Groups" and select "Create a New Group."
The screen will look like this:
Every group requires a name and a privacy setting. First, name your group. Second, select the privacy setting: that is, whether your group is public, allowing any site visitor to discover the group, view its content, and request membership, or private, making the content of the group pages visible by default only to authorised group members. Beyond this, there are several advanced options, explained below. If you do not use the advanced options, Serai will automatically follow the default settings, though you can edit these at any time. To publish your page, click Save at the bottom of the window.
Serai offers many powerful options, explained here, for customising your group. You are welcome to contact a site administrator at any time via the "Contact Us" tab at the top of the page for more details and help.
To add a summary description of your group, click on "Edit Summary" located next to "Summary" and write a few sentences.
This description appears beside your group name on the Groups tab and can help site visitors learn about your group and its aims. If you are looking for other researchers to join your group (e.g. if you are creating an open research/discussion group), please note so here.
Here you can input the description of your group that will greet users when they go to your group's main page. Feel free to write as much or as little as you think will help group members. This dialogue box acts much like a blog post, so you can add links, images, and tables here if you so choose. This content can be modified periodically to highlight specific content, upcoming events, or anything else that may be of interest to group members. You can also embed a variety of media, including images, videos, ArcGIS information, and visualisations. For more information on how to do so, click here.
You can add an Etherpad to your group here. For more detailed instructions on setting up and using Etherpads, see here.
Group permissions are the controls on what different members of your group (general members, administrators, subscribers, etc.) can do. It is not necessary to edit group permissions, but if you want to create unique roles for your group, toggle "Override default roles and permissions." This will allow you and other group administrators to change what different roles can do, or to specify additional role types for your group. For example, if you are creating a course, you might wish to create different roles for students, auditors, teaching assistants, administrators, and lecturers, each with different permissions. For more information, see "Permissions" and "Roles" below.
You are encouraged to add thematic tags to your group, to aid in both archiving and navigating the website. For detailed information on tagging, click here.
Once you have selected the options you want for your group, click on Preview, to see how your group will appear, or click on Save to publish the group. Creating a group automatically adds it to the list on the Groups page. Remember that if you are the group creator or an administrator, you can edit the group's settings later.
2.1 View shows you the front page of your group.
2.2 Content shows any content associated with your group. This section will be empty, until you create content for your group and move pre-existing content to your group. See "Creating Group Content" for more details.
2.3 Edit lets you edit the group's appearance, membership, content, and permissions. All of the options available during group creation are also available here.
2.4 Manage Group allows you to add, remove, or edit group members. By default, you have three options for granting different kinds of permissions to members:
- Content contributor: a user who can add new content to the group, such as blog entries, or other kinds of content such as images. In some cases, such as the ‘annotated image’ type, content contributors can also edit existing content.
- Administrator: a user with privileges to add or remove members, modify other members' permissions, modify the group's appearance, and delete other user's content.
- Member: a user who can view but not edit a group's content. To become a member, go to the group's main page, and click on "request membership" or "join group." Administrators can permit membership requests, and upgrade members to content contributors or administrators. For public groups, a member would have the same access as a non-member, but for private groups, or public groups with some content flagged as private, a member could view content hidden to non-members.
Note that you can add, modify, and remove group roles by toggling "Override default roles and permissions" during group creation and then using the Edit Group function.
Here are explanations for each command within the Manage Group tab:
2.4.1 Add People allows users with the appropriate permissions to add other people to the group. When you add them, you can set their role within the group and their group permissions.
2.4.2 Group Menu
Every group has the option of creating its own internal configurable menu, where group managers can link to certain content inside the group but also any page on Serai and even external web links. By default the group menu is empty and therefore not present on the group homepage, but once you add an item to the menu, it will appear in the top position of the left-hand sidebar on all group pages.
To create a group menu, click on "menu." This will bring you to a form where you can create and manage your menu, looking like the screenshot below:
Click on "Add Link" to begin. This will bring you to a form resembling the one below:
Input a name for your link (this is the name that users will see) and paste the link's URL into the Path box below, then save.
You will see confirmation that your link has been saved. If you navigate back to your group's main page, a menu will have appeared on the left side.
You can add additional links to the menu by repeating these steps.
You can also make a sub-menu by following the steps above, but then expanding the Advanced Menu Item Settings, and selecting a parent link.
Click on Advanced Menu Item Settings. Inside, you can organise your links, setting some as parents (giving them a more prominent position) and other links as children (who will be below and indented from their parent links). Later, if you add more links to the menu, children will automatically stay next to their parents.
By repeating this step, you can add several child links to a parent link, all of which will be available on your group's main page.
You can also reorganise the menu by adjusting the weight of a link. Lower numbers are “lighter” and will float to the top of the menu. Remember that children always stay with their parents. If the parent link sinks to the bottom of the menu or floats to the top, all of the child links (and their child links) will follow.
This is what the final result looks like on the group's main page:
You can add many parent and child links to create a complex menu, or keep your menu as a simple list.
2.4.3 People gives you a complete list of all group members, their roles, how long they have been a member, and whether their accounts are active. Administrators can use this to find specific members, adjust their permissions, or remove members.
2.4.4 Permissions give you a read-only overview of how permissions work on your group. If you have selected the default settings, this simply lists the different roles available to group members (e.g. administrator, content contributor) and which roles are permitted to perform which actions (e.g. who is allowed to edit content made by others, add members, remove members, and so on).
If you wish to use the advanced options, most of these have notes on how to use them, but a word of caution is necessary: be very careful with allowing control over Menu changes. Only give these permissions to trusted individuals, since they can allow security breaches if misused.
2.4.5 Roles is also read only by default: it lists which roles are part of the group. If you have created unique roles for your group, they will be listed here.
2.5 Members calls up a complete list of a group’s members. All group members can use this to find each other.
3. Creating Group Content
To add content, such as pages and files, to your group, use the Create Content menu on the left. Specific help on creating blogs, images, Etherpads, and so on can be found in the relevant help documents. Click here for blogs, here for embedding outside media, here for adding geographic tags, and here for Etherpads. You can associate the content you create with your group.
You can add pre-existing content to your group (thereby making it easily accessible from within the group menus) by going to the content you wish to add, and first clicking Edit.
Then, select your group from the list of available groups.
Hit Save, and then the content will be moved into the group you selected.
You and other members can also create new content for the group by selecting the group's name from the same list when creating content.
Both of these methods require that you are both a member of the group to which you are posting, and that you have posting permission for said group. To move content created by others into your group, you can email the content creator asking them to move the content, or, as a last resort (e.g. if trying to move content created by an inactive member), email a group administrator asking them to move the content for you.
Sessions are time-limited events associated with your group. They can be workshops, conferences, meetings, lectures, or other events that are associated with your group but which require their own subsection. The advantages of using a “Session” content type when creating such content are that they provide a space for all participants to contribute, they make content readily available to invitees, and they provide a convenient way of archiving content.
Create a session by clicking on the Create Content sidebar on the left, and then selecting "Session." Here, you can set parameters and settings for the session, including its name, start time, end time, and associated documents. For a meeting, the duration might only be an hour or two, whereas a conference or workshop might continue for several days. You can upload documents for all session participants to access, which could be used to share programmes, work documents, or papers, for example. Upload items by clicking Browse, finding the relevant file on your computer, and then click Upload. There are two kinds of uploaded content: embedded content and other content. Files uploaded as embedded content are visible directly on the session’s page, whereas other content can only be downloaded. You can also set up a session Etherpad, upload digital resources for your session, and set certain group members as presenters, which clearly links said group member with the session.
5. Editing Your Group
You can edit your group by clicking on the "Edit" option on the group page.
You can delete the group here, but be warned that there is no way to retrieve deleted content. Please be certain that any valuable information is backed up elsewhere before deleting.
Other group editing functions are found under the ‘Manage Group’ tab.