Project

General

Profile

Outreach #14777

Email to faculty who create course groups and site

Added by Laurie Hurson about 1 month ago. Updated 4 days ago.

Status:
New
Priority name:
Normal
Assignee:
-
Category name:
-
Target version:
Start date:
2021-09-14
Due date:
% Done:

0%

Estimated time:

Description

Hi All,

Following up on the conversation in Friday's meeting about creating an outreach email to faculty who create groups and sites and indicate "teaching" in the purpose field. From our conversation, i think this email will focus on how to onboard students to the group/site. Do we want to include any other info in this email?

Also, I wanted to talk through how this email might be sent out. I think maybe there are two possibilities? Ideas below...

1: The outreach/documentation email is automated through the Commons. This could possibly be through a "teaching" group similar to how the group for group admins works. When someone creates a group/site with "teaching" purpose they are automatically added to the teaching group, and somehow (if possible?) the email gets automatically sent this way. But A- I am not sure if this is technically possible, and B- I can see this getting really messy; for example sometimes students select the "teaching" purpose for a course they created through a class (another issue for another time, maybe we need a "class project" purpose?). So this may be more technical lift and create more confusion but it also has benefit of automating the process (if possible)

2: I could manually send these emails to faculty from a list Boone provides at the start of each semester. This would probably require pulling data several times during the start of the semester to make sure we catch all faculty who have created course group/sites. It's a bit more work but it allows us to make sure faculty are receiving this email, and it adds the benefit of a direct connection between the faculty member and support for teaching with the commons.

I think I lean toward option 2 but would be interested to hear what you all think and if there might be other ways to do this.

Thanks!
Laurie

History

#1 Updated by Boone Gorges about 1 month ago

It's not a huge technical lift to do something automatic. Adding users to a group is nice if you plan to communicate with them using the group in the future. If not, then we could probably forget about the group and simply send an email to a person who creates a group (perhaps keeping track of who has already received the email, so it doesn't get sent multiple times within a given timeframe). Either way, it's not a huge amount of work to set something up along these lines.

I agree, though, that any automated solution is prone to error. It might make sense to try a manual solution first, and consider a more automated solution after a term or two working out the kinks.

#2 Updated by Colin McDonald about 1 month ago

I think as long as it won't be too hard to manually ensure we're catching the new course admins without duplicating (at least too much), and too demanding sending all of the emails ourselves, we could start with that route. It seems like a good candidate for something automated fairly soon, though, if we can still make it feel personal enough.

As for the email content, I suppose there is a lot of documentation we could include, but we don't want to overwhelm. I think an important part of the initial setup is getting privacy settings right, along with the awareness that the site is going to show up on the Courses tab if it's public. We could even mention that if students are signing up as members themselves their accounts could appear in homepage activity streams, as we've been discussing making that more clear.

#3 Updated by Laurie Hurson 25 days ago

Thanks for this feedback Colin and Boone.

I think starting off doing this manually and then switching over to automated processes sounds good.

I also agree this might be a good time to mention the courses tab and privacy settings. But I know we also wanted to focus on onboarding students to the Commons (clarifying that the faculty member must manage this process).

Pulling all that together, here is an outline of what might be included in this email. It's already pretty long so we might want to talk through how to slim it down.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_mQ6tHm61SPS1Xcy7btL_mxh108NgrIsChsELUbFgQY/edit?usp=sharing

#4 Updated by Matt Gold 24 days ago

Thanks so much, Laurie! I've left a few overall comments and minor edits for you to consider

#5 Updated by Colin McDonald 23 days ago

I also think this is shaping up well, and I've added a few suggested edits.

#6 Updated by Marilyn Weber 22 days ago

Me too.

#7 Updated by Laurie Hurson 18 days ago

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

I took another look and I think we are very close. I think there are two more things to work out:

- clarifying the language we use to explain that all courses are listed in the directory (see in doc) and
- who we want the email to be signed/from - I am happy to say commons team (with my email in the body of the text for support Qs) or the email can be from me. I think signing the email from "the commons team" makes more sense in the long run but I am open to whatever we decide is best.

#8 Updated by Colin McDonald 17 days ago

Looking good to me, Laurie! Regarding who signs the bottom of the email, do we have full control over the "From:" and reply-to email address when this is sent out? The two should probably match. Maybe it's easier to have that all be Laurie? I don't know if we have a good catchall Commons team email address or something, and then replies would have to be routed to Laurie anyway.

#9 Updated by Laurie Hurson 17 days ago

Thanks for this feedback!

I know we had talked about possible automation of this email. I am happy to field the first few manually but can we begin to discuss automation in this ticket?

It would be ideal to ave this process automated - where the email is sent to anyone who creates a site or group with "teaching" purpose - before the January rush of spring course creation and prep.

Boone- is there anything I can do to help begin to set up the automation process? Should we create a "teaching on the commons" group? Is there another way we might automate this process?

#10 Updated by Boone Gorges 16 days ago

A "teaching on the Commons" group is a good idea if you foresee using other group features down the road. For example, if you want a way to push occasional announcements out to users who are teaching on the Commons; or if you want to provide them with a forum for discussing the use of the site.

If the only purpose is to send out this initial email, then a group is probably too much overhead. It will clutter up people's group lists and it may be a vector for unwanted correspondence. In that case, I would create a custom tool that sends the email. We'd need to discuss some details (whether the email content is customized for the user/course; whether users should receive it for each course, as opposed to one time, or once per term, or whatever).

#11 Updated by Laurie Hurson 8 days ago

Thanks for the feedback Boone. It sounds like a group is the way to go.

New group is here: https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/groups/teaching-courses-on-the-commons/

So, when a faculty member creates a group or site with the teaching purpose, they should be added to this group. And, the first time they create a "teaching" group/site after being added to the group, they should receive the email.

And since we intend for them to only get the email once, each new "teaching" group/site created should not trigger another email. Correct?

Question: do we want to auto-add any user who has already created a "teaching" group/site? Is there a way to do that silently, or a way to add them in ~December before they create their spring course?

What do we do about students who accidentally select "teaching" purpose on a site for a course? We might consider implementing the "course project" purpose soon too? Outlined in ticket #14786 https://redmine.gc.cuny.edu/issues/14786#change-63963

Another thing - the email should probably be updated to include info about the group and instructions for posting there for help/questions. I will do that today.

#12 Updated by Boone Gorges 4 days ago

  • Target version set to 1.19.0

So, when a faculty member creates a group or site with the teaching purpose, they should be added to this group. And, the first time they create a "teaching" group/site after being added to the group, they should receive the email.

To clarify, should they be added to the group, or should they receive a group invitation? If the latter, should they get the welcome email at the time of invitation, or when they've accepted it?

And since we intend for them to only get the email once, each new "teaching" group/site created should not trigger another email. Correct?

If we pin the email to the moment of group joining, then for most users, it'll only fire once - you don't join a group many times. And if you decide to leave a group and then later re-join it, I'd say it's not unreasonable that you get a second welcome email.

Perhaps a more salient question is this: if a user creates a Teaching group, then rejects or ignores the group invitation (or: if they are auto-added to the group but then decide to leave it), should they receive another invitation/auto-add the next time they create a Teaching group? IMHO we should send the invitation/auto-add only once, but we can do whatever the group thinks is best.

What do we do about students who accidentally select "teaching" purpose on a site for a course? We might consider implementing the "course project" purpose soon too? Outlined in ticket #14786

I'm not convinced that this is a real problem - it doesn't happen often, and when it does, it's not as if there's "privileged" content in the Teaching group. It should be possible for us to roll out 'Course Project' at the same time, which should in theory reduce the frequency of this already infrequent problem. I'd suggest that no further safeguards are necessary.

#13 Updated by Laurie Hurson 4 days ago

Thanks for this feedback Boone.

Luke had some reservations about auto-adding folks into a teaching group that they did not opt into and this is understandable.

I think maybe this requires reverting to the original plan - where the faculty member receives an email upon creation of a teaching group/site. In this email, we can provide info about the "teaching on the commons" group and they can self select to join.

To clarify, should they be added to the group, or should they receive a group invitation? If the latter, should they get the welcome email at the time of invitation, or when they've accepted it?

With the change of plan above, I think they get the welcome email and group invite at the same time.

Perhaps a more salient question is this: if a user creates a Teaching group, then rejects or ignores the group invitation (or: if they are auto-added to the group but then decide to leave it), should they receive another invitation/auto-add the next time they create a Teaching group? IMHO we should send the invitation/auto-add only once, but we can do whatever the group thinks is best.

I think email and group invite only once is fine. The original goal of this process was to provide faculty with some brief info about adding students to the commons so one email sent once should be sufficient.

It should be possible for us to roll out 'Course Project' at the same time, which should in theory reduce the frequency of this already infrequent problem. I'd suggest that no further safeguards are necessary.

That sounds great.

So to recap:
1 Faculty member creates a teaching group/site
2 Outreach email sends - includes info about adding students, privacy settings, and info about support available in teaching group
3 Group invite sends - faculty can opt in to teaching group (with "all email" setting active)

#14 Updated by Boone Gorges 4 days ago

Thanks, Laurie. This all sounds good.

Also available in: Atom PDF