CollabDjango Documentation

Quick guide for group admin

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
  3. Announcement
  4. Teleconference
  5. Action Items
  6. Issue list
  7. Registration and Subscription
  8. Members
  9. Roles
  10. Documentation
  11. RSS Feed

1. Introduction

Here at the University of Illinois we have established several collaboration groups that bring members of higher education such as accessibility specialists, faculty, staff, and product managers/engineers from vendors to work collaboratively to identify, test/evaluate, and address accessibility issues with selected products used by universities and colleges.
Our collaboration groups do not run always in the same way and it very much depends on our vendors and how much they would like us to get involved. For example, we work with Blackboard and Desire2learn very closely on identifying accessibility problems with existing products and at the same time we work on their new generation products. Some groups meet only when specific accessibility questions/concerns arise. There are also groups that focus on creating Best Practices or developing tutorials for assistive technology users, or other groups focuses on mobilizing accessibility advocates to come up with more unified policies.
Due to some budget limitation we were not able to implement all the desired features and as a result this collaboration group definitely does not accommodate all these groups perfectly but it offers a good dynamic environment to share their ideas and findings.
I have tried to keep this instruction very brief and hopefully it is not too brief. Long instruction have sometimes negative effect.
In the following section I try to explain the most essential features of the new collaboration application.

2. Overview

Each collaboration group has an overview page which will be default page for your group. The content of the Overview page can be modified only by the designated group admin.
The Overview page should describe your group and mission. You should provide instruction how users can join your group, explain any requirement such as signing an NDA, how to contact the group admin, and how frequently your group meet.
Most of our groups are open meaning they are public. There are a few groups that are closed to general public and only the members of that group can access the information.
Note that the Overview page is always available to public regardless if your group is an open group or closed group. If you are running one of the closed group, make sure that you do not put any proprietary information in the Overview page.
You can modify the group information by clicking on the “Modify Group Info” in the main group navigation menu.
Note that only the designated group admins can see this link and access the page.

3. Announcement

Announcement is a mechanism to publish a major news, event, or important information. For example, if you cancel a meeting with a short notice, make sure that you use the Announcement feature so everyone can see it.
Announcement appears in all sub-pages of your group and it is shown only as long as it is not empty and hasn’t expired.
To create or modify an announcement, click on the Announcement link in the Group navigation menu, add or modify the content as needed, set the expiry date, and submit the form.
To delete an announcement, you can either delete the content of the Announcement or set the expiry date to any date in the past in the Announcement page.
If you decide to prevent the announcement from showing by deleting its content, make sure that you delete all spaces in that field. If the announcement field is blank (null), then it won’t be rendered.

4. Teleconference

The teleconference page shows all upcoming and previous teleconferences. From this page you can add new teleconference or modify/delete existing teleconferences.

Creating a new teleconference

to create a new teleconference, click on the “Add new teleconference” link, the rest should be self explanatory. Please use headings, ordered/unordered lists to structure the content in particular fields with possible lengthy content such as Agenda, comments, or Instruction. The collaboration application supports Wiki style mark-up language and a mark-up reference appears in the bottom of the page.
Note: Some fields like Agenda are required and you can’t leave them blank.

Modifying a teleconference

To modify an existing teleconference, click on the teleconference to be modified, then in the detailed teleconference page use the Modify teleconference. Make the necessary changes and apply your changes.
Note: Do not delete any teleconferences that has been taken place.


Minutes is a part of each teleconference and it needs to be added during the teleconference or shortly after it.
To add a minutes to a teleconference or modify an existing minutes click on “Modify minutes” from teleconference details page.
Note: Please use either HTML markup or Wiki-style markup to structure your content.

Names of participants

To include the name of teleconference participants use the participant list and check the name of your group members who participated in the teleconference.
If you have a guest participant who is not a member yet, provide their names in the “Other participants” field in the “Modify minutes” page.

5. Action Items

Action items is an important part of some collaboration groups. It allows the group admin and members to view and monitor work in progresses assigned to a member or a group of members. Action items are usually specified during the teleconference and could appear in the minutes too.

Creating a new action item

To create a new action item, go to Action items page and click on “Add an action item”.
Complete the form and submit it. In the case of a group project, make one person as the main contact and follow up with his/her. Set the status of the action item to “Open” at the beginning and provide an approximate date of completion.

Modifying an action item

To modify an action item, go to the Action items details page by clicking on the action item to be modified. Click on the Modify action item and update the form as needed.
Update the status of each action item as the work progresses. You might want to give the Action item privilege to the main contact person so he/she can update the record.

6. Issue list and Issue item

Groups that are working with developers and vendors on identifying the accessibility issues with a particular product use this module to record their findings and exchange potential solutions with other members and collaboration partners.
Let me clarify two terms that I will be using in this tutorial:

  1. Issue list: Issue list is a mechanism to group related issues. Unlike the previous collaboration applications, we are not pre-defining the issue lists or categories. In this version you can group accessibility issues in the way that it makes sense to your group.
  2. Issue item: Each issue list can contain one or more issue items of the same type. For example, you can group “lack of proper title” and “missing heading 1” into “Navigation” issue list.

Before you create an issue item , you need to know under what issue list you want to record it. First, check the list of existing issue list before creating a new issue list.
Issue list can be either Active or Inactive. By default, every new Issue list is set to Active. If an Issue list is no longer active, set it to Inactive in the Modify Issue list page.
When you are creating or updating an issue item, please explain the problem comprehensively and clearly. Note that some of your readers might not be very familiar with what you are reporting. A few extra seconds here could save you and your group many hours in future and can potentially improve the productivity of your group.
Like any other modules of this collaboration group, members and public need to have the necessary privileges in order to be able to view Issue list and Issue items.
Only members with Issue list and Issue items “Editable” privileges will be able to add or modify Issue list or Issue items.

Creating a new Issue list/Issue item

To create a Issue list, go to Issue list page and click on “Add a new Issue list”. By default, every Issue list is set to be Active. As mentioned earlier, before creating a new Issue list, make sure that the Issue list with similar name or grouping doesn’t exist.
To create an Issue item, go to the Issue list details page that you want to report an issue item and click on “Add an Issue item”. provide the necessary information and submit the form. Again, it is very important that issues are reported comprehensively and accurately, otherwise it would cause a lot of unnecessary communication just to clarify it.

Modifying an Issue list/Issue item

to modify an Issue list, go to the desired Issue list and click on Modify this Issue list.
The only things you can do at this time with an Issue list is to rename it or change its status (Active/Inactive). Make the necessary changes and apply the changes.
To modify an Issue item, go to the desired Issue item details page and click on “Modify this issue item”.
Make the necessary changes and apply the changes.

7. Registration, User profile and Subscribing to a group

Before anyone can join a group, he/she needs to register with the collaboration group and create a profile. User can register by clicking on the Register link on the main collaboration page. The Registration form is very short and consists of username, E-mail address, Password, and Re-enter password fields. Upon submission of the registration form, the system sends an e-mail to the user and user needs to verify it by clicking on a link provided in the body of the message within a month.
Registered user can request to subscribe to his/her desired groups. User can request to join a group either from the main collaboration page by going to the Join page, or from the the desired collaboration group home page by clicking the Subscribe link. The collaboration system sends an e-mail to the group admin and the group admin needs to verify the user’s request by clicking on a link provided inside the message body. For the groups requiring NDA, the group admin needs to double-check with the respected vendors/entity before adding a user to the group.
The first time a registered user request to join a group, the system ask to complete the user profile. The required information in the user’s profile are username, first name, last name, affiliation, and e-mail address. Anything else is optional.

8. Members

The Member page of the collaboration group works a little differently than other pages. The information in the Member page is grouped into two categories, namely Group admin users and Members. Depending on the viewer privileges the amount of data varies. Here’s how it works:

  1. Anonymous user: an anonymous user can see only the names and affiliations of group admins and members.
  2. Member user: A regular user of the group can see the above information but additionally can send e-mails to other users/group admins. The e-mail address of users are not disclosed to the viewer member.
  3. Group admin: The group admin can see and do all in #2. Additionally he/she can view members profiles and change them if needed.

By default, any new users is marked as Active user. However, it is always possible that users don’t remain active. the group admin can change the status of a user from Members page by going to Activate members and Deactivate members pages respectively. This feature is useful if your group has 10s of members. By marking inactive users, you receive more accurate information about the active members of your group. You can always add their names back from Inactive members to Active members.
Note: changing user’s status does not change their privileges. If you have assigned critical privileges to an inactive member, you want to withdrawal the privileges before moving him/her to inactive list.

9. Roles

Roles are a mechanism to group specific privileges and assign them to members. It means that you put together one or more atomic privileges Our together and give a name to it and assign the selected privileges to selected users. The following atomic privileges are defined in the collaboration application: