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Best Ways to Navigate Canvas Community / Jive site?

What are your best tips for keeping up with Canvas Community here at Jive? I know there are email notification options but I am honestly not a fan of email (my personal goal would be a life without email except for stuff that needs to be truly private and not online). So, I am trying to find the best ways to "keep up" with the Community using different access points at the site. I would love to hear what other access points people have found! 

The page I have ended up relying on the most is called the Content page. It's really useful! I have bookmarked the option for Content: FollowingThat is a very useful view, and it gives me the ability to quickly check on other content views along the left (authored, participated, etc.), along with types of content across the top (blog posts, documents, etc.).

content page

And of course I rely on the in-site Notifications (the little notifications bell at the top of the page), which is a link that takes you to the Inbox and the very handy "unread only" view. 

inbox notifications

So, now I am curious what other tips people have for navigating the Community site in ways that can help you be aware of new items and also new activity on old items. There are so many different ways to navigate the Community and so many different resources, and I am guessing there are some "ways in" that I have not found yet.

6 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi laurakgibbs‌...

Since your question is more about the functions of the Canvas Community website, I am going to move this question over to the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/community?sr=search&searchId=5c172616-50ad-4ed4-b4d8-b6a940ce...‌.  If you are not a part of that group, you can follow it by clicking on the "Follow" button at the top right corner of the page.  Also, since this question may not have one "correct" answer, I am going to switch it over to a Discussion instead.  I hope this is okay with you.

(I've got some ideas to answer your question, but I'll post those in a separate response.)

Yep, I am in now. It's not a big deal, and I understand the reasons why this stuff is quarantined as it were, but by keeping it in a private space like this, there's way less access. What really bugs me (just like with Communities in Google+), even when you ping somebody, they cannot see the page; they get blocked if they are not already in the Group (just as I was blocked from clicking on the notification I got for this comment earlier).

But there are lots of ways to keep learning about how to navigate the Jive space. I'll just keep on clicking on things out of curiosity. 🙂

Surveyor

No right way

There are definitely a lot of different strokes for different folks with this Jive platform as I've come to realize over the last 2 years. My strategy has continued to evolve steadily.

Navigation or Navigation?

In the early days I created My New Community Bookmark Strategy‌ to give me my own set of direct links to all the things I found valuable. Jive is good about giving you useful URL's when you do things like apply a sorting and filtering to a list of content. I still have these links around in a folder in my Chrome bookmarks bar, but I don't use them very often except for the one to get me to the lesser traveled parts of the community that I have a hard time remembering the sequence of clicks for.

Examples:

Activity Page - This is how you would view your Streams (see below) but it's also a good way to tap into what's been happening. I think it used to also be the way I got to posting a status update.

Canvas Labs - Information about Support, Service Cloud, Known Issues

Known Issues

Now let's talk about navigating the rest of things...

What kind of signals does Jive even have?

It's useful to consider the signals Jive uses to determine when it should take action to try and get your attention about something new.

  • You participating with something
  • You following something
  • You being @mentioned
  • I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

To email, or not to email

I think a big early decision is whether or not you want to get emails. I elected not to get emails. I get enough of those already. The community is awesome and as you get more involved you give Jive more signal data which in turn will lead to more alerts. If these are coming in as emails you better be handy with the filters.

Good 'Ol Inbox

Without email, the Inbox is definitely the most useful collection point to find new stuff that you've decided you care about. You can accomplish this by electing to follow things to your inbox. The big drawback is that there's no way to filter out "likes" and "marked helpful" items, so after you've followed a bunch of things it can get a bit overwhelming to keep up with if you care about your Unread counter.

Streams vs Inbox

I tried creating streams and following certain things to certain streams, but this didn't work for me for a couple reasons.

  1. Lists, folders, streams, it's really all the same thing. Buckets for organization. I deal with this all day long and have for a long time but that doesn't mean I like it. This always leads me back to the age old "which one does it belong in" predicament.
  2. It slowed me down too much. If I found something I wanted to keep informed about, I had to stop and think about which one of many streams it belongs in and deal with the friction of doubting I'm choosing the right stream for what my future self will look for (see above).
  3. If no stream made sense I had to stop and make a new one and think about a whole set of things. Distractions, distractions, distractions!
  4. I just don't want to think about which one of several collection points I want to go check out when I arrive at the Community.I've already navigated a series of alternative collection points (email, slack, todo lists, sticky notes, etc) just to get here.
  5. What I really want with the community is to tap into the pulse or start sipping from the fire hose, whichever metaphor you prefer. 

In summary, I chose not to use streams and just let it all flow into the inbox.

But didn't you say it got overwhelming?

Yeah...it did. My inbox is very busy, but it is the closest thing to a fire hose stream of data that Jive has available to us average users. On the plus side, it and my Activity Page are just full of amazing stuff! There are always other ways to sort so I generally prefer to err on the side of collecting too much and figuring out what to do with it later.

So what did you do about it?

I am always experimenting with different ways of collecting up chunks of content from the community for various purposes. Let's discuss a few.

Bookmarks

I bookmark everything that seems of value to me. Jive makes it super easy to do and you can later on add your own notes to the bookmarks so the ROI is worth it. Not only is this useful for my later inspection, but it also provides a service to others since you can view each members bookmarks.

Tiles and the Your View Page

I think this is a little known fact. There is a page that you can customize with many built in widgets called Your ViewProbably an even much lesser known fact is that for any list of content you might create by navigating to a space, clicking Content in the navigation bar, and then applying filtering and sorting, you can click a little link below that list called "Use this view in a tile." Click that and copy the code it gives, then head over to the Your View page, edit it, and add a Super List. You'll be asked for that code. It basically allows you to create your own custom widgets with a feed of whatever content you want.  

Sharing to my institutions private group

This is basically a bucket I use for anything I think or know my colleagues will be interested in.

RSS Feeds FTW!

Last, but most definitely not least is the power of Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Jive is obviously a fan of RSS. Every space has a set of rss feeds for different content such as new posts, new comments, etc. But you're not limited to the rss feeds they've set up. Opposite that "Use this view in a tile" link at the bottom of content lists is also a "Get a feed of this content." 

This is where my heart is at currently. With all of the other things going on, I have pretty much all of my bases covered. Now it's about taking it to the next level and squeezing every ounce of functionality and efficiency I can out of this amazing community. I am loving the flexibility of creating dynamic collections of content and piping it all into other great services like Feedly, and even better yet, Inoreader, but you're the last one that needs to hear this part.

It's a journey, not a destination I've decided.

Adam, this is SO GREAT............ THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

I knew there were lots of options besides email (I'm with you on the no-email)... and now I can systematically explore the options you have listed here to see what clicks for me.

Much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi laurakgibbs‌...

awilliams‌ touched on this, but I'll take it a step further.  As it relates to his section on Bookmarks, I also save/bookmark quite a bit here in Jive so that I can come back to it later.  Initially, as I was bookmarking things, I wasn't aware that you could add your own notes and tags (because I was only looking at the list Details view).  Then I learned (maybe from Adam) that you could add notes and tags.

Personal Bookmarks - Thumbnail View

When you go to your profile and click on Bookmarks, switch over to the Thumbnails view.  Then, for each item you've bookmarked, you'll have an "Edit notes & tags" link.  Here, you can add in your own notes and keyword tags (as Adam has stated).  You can see that I've done a couple in the above image (I've got way more bookmarks than this).  I've got about 8 pages full of bookmarks.  Over the span of several days, I took time to go back and figure out why in the world I bookmarked what I did.  I soon realized I should have done this a long time ago.  Now, I'd say that about 75%-80% of all my bookmarked items have notes and tags on them.  The other nice thing about tagging your bookmarks with keywords is the Search box in the upper left corner that I've highlighted in my image.  When you are searching for items you've bookmarked, anything that's been tagged with keywords will come first in search results.  Anything related to your search that's not been tagged will be at the end of your search.

Re: e-mail...when I first got situated in Jive, I had settings turned on which sent me an e-mail notification about almost everything and everyone that I was following.  Soon, I was getting hundreds of e-mails a day, and so I needed to turn those features off.  Now, I get a Daily Summary e-mail and e-mails about Badges received.  That has dramatically cut down on the number of e-mails I get.  Here's what I have set:

Jive Notification Preferences

I used the Browse >> Content menu a lot because it gives me a quick glimpse at what new topics have been posted or what new activity there may be in a given thread.  

Finally, like Adam, I will also share discussion topics to our MPTC private group that we have established here in Jive.  If I know that one of our instructors has created a Feature Idea, for example, I'll share that idea into our private group so that everyone can access it easily.

I hope this info is helpful to you, Laura.

Oh, this is great, chofer@morainepark.edu‌ ... I just recently started using bookmarks, but I had no idea about notes and tags. I use search a lot, and this will definitely improve  my search efforts. Thank you so much, and thanks again also to awilliams‌ for all his suggestions also! 🙂