For more background on the network visualization below, see this guide.
Recall this visual representation of a typical network structure:
The Network Administration module explains what all those arrows, nodes, and X's mean; if you need a refresher, you're encouraged to complete that module or peruse our Knowledge Base section on networks. For this module, we'll focus on how and where to construct co-curricular networks and communities. You can create two kinds of co-curricular networks in Yellowdig: admin-run networks and student-run networks.
Admin-run networks are fully owned and moderated by university administrators or instructors. Admin-run networks can appear anywhere in your network structure. Admin-run networks are flexible and can include anything from alumni groups to official clubs to event pages.
We strongly recommend following these practices for admin-run networks:
- Make every community discoverable. Even if you're creating a private community, making your community discoverable ensures that interested students can at least inquire about joining. If, for example, you were facilitating a career advisement community for your university's business school, you would want newly transferred students to be able to find that community easily by navigating to the Discover tab. This will save you time and ensure that all interested students can join your co-curricular community. Remember: Communities are discoverable only to (1) members of your network and (2) members of networks that contain your network. Even access to "public" Communities is limited to your organization.
- Place your co-curricular network directly under the network whose student population best matches your target audience. In other words, when deciding where to place your co-curricular network, consider who might want to join communities in that network. To make this a bit more concrete, let's return to our sample network structure above. Consider some different types of co-curricular communities along with where they should be placed in this network structure:
- Student commons for all of Academia University → Subnetwork of Academia University
- Career services job postings and events for the entire university → Subnetwork of Academia University
- Mentor-mentee groups for College of Business students and alumni → Subnetwork of College of Business
- Special interest groups for different law practices → Subnetwork of School of Law
- Performing arts clubs for CAS students → Subnetwork of College of Arts and Sciences
The concept is straightforward: make sure you're positioning your co-curricular networks so that your target student population can access them easily.
- Consider whether a dedicated co-curricular network is necessary. In some cases, creating a co-curricular network adds unnecessary complexity to your network structure. For example, if Academia University's Philosophy Department wants to create one admin-run community for the Philosophy Club, and if the Department Chair is running that club, the department should probably place the community directly inside (a) the Philosophy Department network, assuming the club is only open to philosophy students; (b) the College of Arts and Sciences network, assuming the club is open to all CAS students; or (c) the Academia University network, assuming the club is open to everyone in the university. In general, one-off co-curricular communities that are closely related to curricular initiatives do not require a dedicated network.
- Create a dedicated network for all student-run communities. For students to be able to create their own communities, the network in question must be set to "Allow learners to create communities" (under Organization settings → Settings). Most university administrators would not want their students freely creating communities directly alongside curricular communities. Hence, it's important to create dedicated student-run co-curricular networks where students are free to carve their own space without interfering with curricular networks.
- Take advantage of your administrative privileges. Even if your students own and facilitate their own communities, you can still join these communities and moderate their contents as long as you're an administrator of a higher network. In the example above, if you were an administrator of the Academia University network, you would be able to view, edit, and remove any content inside the Student Communities network. While abusive behavior is extremely rare, you can take comfort in the fact that your students' activities are fully visible to you.
- Invite students to the student-run network. Unlike admin-run co-curricular communities that live inside curricular networks, students might not have automatic access to communities in student-run networks, depending on where in the hierarchy those networks are placed. Make sure to invite all students who should have access to the student-run network, and have a plan in place for adding incoming students.
- Consider requiring that communities be approved by an organizational administrator. If you're listed as an administrator of your student-run network, you can make it a requirement that all communities created by students in that network must be approved by you. This is yet another line of defense against abusive behavior at your disposal. You can enable this setting under Organizational settings → Settings.
- Consider having your students complete this instructor training course. Whether you're a student or an instructor, facilitating successful Yellowdig communities requires training. The more your students know, the better they'll be at managing their own affairs.