Outreach #16862


Student onboarding Refresher Email

Added by Laurie Hurson 3 months ago. Updated 21 days ago.

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Hi All,

This semester there were various zen desk support tickets about issues with onboarding students.

We briefly discussed setting up some kind of educational update sent to faculty who create new "teaching" sites and groups. This could be a short email with an overview of how to add students with links directly to documentation. This email could be similar to (but shorter than) the email sent to faculty the first time they create a teaching site/group (Ticket #14777).

This onboarding email would be sent anytime faculty create a new teaching site/group. This aims to provide resources and info about how to add students BEFORE the help desk gets confused emails from students and faculty. I will begin crafting some language and links to documentation.

But, is this email overload? Are there better ways to provide this educational/support info for faculty adding students? Another option: do we want to do this as a wordpress banner in the backend of new "teaching" sites?

Feedback welcome!

Actions #1

Updated by Colin McDonald 2 months ago

I don't think this would be email overload, especially if we keep the copy pretty concise and link-heavy for recipients to skim through. I think almost all faculty will appreciate the extra guidance/assurance as they're getting teaching sites together, and I worry they won't see a Wordpress banner.

Thanks for taking the lead on the copy Laurie, looking forward to checking it out.

Actions #2

Updated by Laurie Hurson about 2 months ago

Hi All,

Draft email copy for student invite refresher email here:

feedback welcome!


Actions #3

Updated by Colin McDonald about 1 month ago

This is looking good Laurie! I added a few minor comments to the doc.

Actions #4

Updated by Laurie Hurson about 1 month ago

Thanks Colin!

Boone, there are a couple questions about automating processes in the Google doc.

Other than that I think this is almost ready to go. Will be nice to have this up ad running for the Spring 2023 semester!

Actions #5

Updated by Boone Gorges about 1 month ago

  • Assignee set to Boone Gorges
  • Target version set to 2.1.0

Assigning to myself for implementation. See for integration point.

Actions #6

Updated by Colin McDonald about 1 month ago

Thanks, Boone. I just took a look back through the Google Doc and I think we have the text structuring there in good shape.

Actions #7

Updated by Boone Gorges about 1 month ago

  • Status changed from New to Assigned

Thanks, all. I'm getting started on this.

What should the subject line of the email be? (The main Teaching email has the subject line 'Welcome to Teaching on the Commons!')

Actions #8

Updated by Boone Gorges about 1 month ago

  • Category name set to Courses

I've built a first pass at this in

For the time being, the subject line is: "More information about your Commons Teaching [Site/Group]". Happy to adjust this as others see fit.

In the case of a Group + Site, only the group creation triggers an email.

Once we've gotten close with testing on the News page redesign #16535, I'll be able to share this on cdev for testing.

For internal reference, the CLI commands I used to set up the email (be sure to change the ID in the last line):

wp term create bp-email-type teaching_space_reminder --slug=teaching_space_reminder --description="An instructor has created a Teaching space on the Commons" 

wp post create --post_type=bp-email --post_title="Inviting Students to your Course on the Commons" --post_status=publish --post_content='<p>Dear Faculty Member,</p>

<p>It’s great to see that you have created another “Teaching” {{{cac.teachingItemType}}} on the Commons! Once you have set up your course you may want to add students so they can engage with you and their peers on the course. Please note, if your site will be visible only to Commons users, or users who join your {{{cac.teachingItemType}}} students will have to join the Commons to see your course.</p>

<p>This email will provide a quick refresher and helpful links for inviting students to the Commons and adding them to your {{{cac.teachingItemType}}}.</p>

<p>To invite students to your course:</p>

<li>If you have a Group, click Send Invites in the gray menu bar on the left.</li>
<li>If you have a Site, in the Dashboard, click Users > Add New.</li>
<li>If you have a Connected Group/Site, make sure the roles are synced. Invite students to the group (Option 1, above) and they will be automatically added to the site.</li>

<p>Following the steps above, when you go through the process to invite students you will encounter the “Invitation Portal”. In this portal, you can invite students using their CUNY email address (one per line).</p>

<p>Inviting students to your {{{cac.teachingItemType}}} will prompt the student to join the Commons if they are not already a user. Once the student signs up for the Commons using their CUNY email, they will have an invitation to join your course {{{cac.teachingItemType}}}.</p>

More detailed steps for inviting students to the Commons: <a href="">Inviting Students to the Commons</a>.

Students can also register for the Commons on their own, and then search for your course {{{cac.teachingItemType}}} in <a href="">the course directory</a> and request to join.

<p><u><b>Helpful Links to Share with Students</b></u></p>

<li><a href="">How do I join the Commons?</a></li>
<li><a href="">What is my CUNY email address?</a></li>
<li><a href="">How can I find my course on the Commons?</a></li>

<p>If you have questions about inviting students to the Commons, or other questions about teaching on the Commons, please reach out to the Commons HELP desk:</p>'

wp post term set 28957 bp-email-type teaching_space_reminder
Actions #9

Updated by Laurie Hurson about 1 month ago

Thanks for this Boone!

I think maybe the subject should be more student-centric to peak interest and give a sense of the support info within

Maybe something like "Teaching on the Commons: How to invite students to your course"

Or something along those to suggestions!

Actions #10

Updated by Colin McDonald 30 days ago

I think that subject works Laurie, maybe shorten to something like:

Student invites and more Commons teaching resources

Actions #11

Updated by Laurie Hurson 30 days ago

Maybe "Inviting Students to your Course on the Commons"

If it gets cut off its still ~ "Inviting Students to your Course..."

Actions #12

Updated by Boone Gorges 22 days ago

  • Status changed from Assigned to Testing Required
  • Deployment actions updated (diff)

This is ready for testing on cdev.

Actions #13

Updated by Laurie Hurson 22 days ago

This works great!

Hoping to edit the copy. Is there somewhere in the backend I can do that or should I just paste updated copy here?

Actions #14

Updated by Boone Gorges 22 days ago

  • Deployment actions updated (diff)

You should be able to edit it at (this is a cdev link). Let me know if you are unable to access it using account laurieh.

When I deploy this to the production site, I'll copy the text exactly as it's been entered on that cdev link.

Actions #15

Updated by Laurie Hurson 21 days ago

Thanks Boone. I updated it in Cdev


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