Recall this visual representation of a typical Organization structure: The Organization Administration module of Yellowdig Learn 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 Organizations. For this module, we'll focus on how and where to construct co-curricular Organizations and communities. You can create two kinds of co-curricular Organizations in Yellowdig: admin-run Organizations and student-run Organizations.
Admin-run Organizations are fully owned and moderated by university administrators or instructors. Admin-run Organizations can appear anywhere in your Organization structure. Admin-run Organizations are flexible and can include anything from alumni groups to official clubs to event pages. We strongly recommend following these practices for admin-run Organizations:
- 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 Organization and (2) members of Organizations that contain your Organization. Even access to "public" Communities is limited to your organization.
- Place your co-curricular Organization directly under the Organization whose student population best matches your target audience. In other words, when deciding where to place your co-curricular Organization, consider who might want to join communities in that Organization. To make this a bit more concrete, let's return to our sample Organization structure above. Consider some different types of co-curricular communities along with where they should be placed in this Organization structure:
- Student commons for all of Academia University → Sub-Organization of Academia University
- Career services job postings and events for the entire university → Sub-Organization of Academia University
- Mentor-mentee groups for College of Business students and alumni → Sub-Organization of College of Business
- Special interest groups for different law practices → Sub-Organization of School of Law
- Performing arts clubs for CAS students → Sub-Organization of College of Arts and Sciences
The concept is straightforward: make sure you're positioning your co-curricular Organizations so that your target student population can access them easily.
3. Consider whether a dedicated co-curricular Organization is necessary. In some cases, creating a co-curricular Organization adds unnecessary complexity to your Organization 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 Organization, assuming the club is only open to philosophy students; (b) the College of Arts and Sciences Organization, assuming the club is open to all CAS students; or (c) the Academia University Organization, 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 Organization.
- Create a dedicated Organization for all student-run communities. For students to be able to create their own communities, the Organization 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 Organizations where students are free to carve their own space without interfering with curricular Organizations.
- 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 Organization. In the example above, if you were an administrator of the Academia University Organization, you would be able to view, edit, and remove any content inside the Student Communities Organization. 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 Organization. Unlike admin-run co-curricular communities that live inside curricular Organizations, students might not have automatic access to communities in student-run Organizations, depending on where in the hierarchy those Organizations are placed. Make sure to invite all students who should have access to the student-run Organization, 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 Organization, you can make it a requirement that all communities created by students in that Organization 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.