Tutorials – Starting a New Site

Part of a series of tutorials on using WebCommons. This is the first tutorial.

Are you a student at Mount Sinai? Do you want to publish content to the web, and ensure that it is officially associated with your academic or extracurricular community at Mount Sinai, even after your tenure as student leader or webmaster is over? WebCommons is an excellent choice; it allows you to publish academic and extracurricular content to the web under the supervision of an approving ISMMS faculty mentor. Best of all, it is free and officially supported by the school (via ASCIT).

1. Check if a site already exists for your group.

This might seem silly, but it’s possible that you are trying to start a website about a group that already has one. We have a list of known student group websites. If the existing website is on WebCommons (you can check this by seeing if the URL starts with webcommons.mssm.edu), than you can simply ask the previous owners of the group to let you take ownership of the site using this form. ASCIT usually turns around these requests within a day or two. If the existing website is not on WebCommons (e.g. it’s on Blogspot, Tumblr, WordPress.com, or something else), it might still be worth starting a WebCommons site, but you should probably have a plan for migrating the content and deprecating the old site, or setting a separate purpose for each website.

Many external sites are easily migrated to WebCommons using the Import feature.

2. Find a faculty mentor.

If you are a group officially recognized by Student Council (i.e. you have a semesterly budget), then you should already have a faculty mentor; if not, you should find one, because it is required by the Terms of Service.

3. Fill out an online form.

This part should hopefully be easy: you simply fill out this form and wait for ASCIT to check that your faculty mentor approves that you are starting this site. You will be cc’ed on the email that goes to your faculty mentor. Many faculty are not eager to reply to automatic-looking emails, so a personal follow-up email on the same thread can help.

4. ASCIT will email you login information

Once ASCIT has heard back from your faculty mentor, they will set up your site and email you your username and password. Your username will be the same as your network ID (what you use to sign into Blackboard).

If you don’t hear from ASCIT within a day or two and you saw that your faculty mentor responded, email ASCIT to find out what’s going on. Or you can try to reset your password, in case ASCIT’s email fell into a spam filter. Once you know your login information, you can proceed to the next tutorial.

Next: How to log in.