Knowledge Base

What can a "Group" do for my focus group?


To facilitate our goals of supporting collaborative research projects, sharing resources and expertise, and implementing innovative techniques for communication and collaboration among MCRN members and our international partners, we are launching MCRN on the HUB!  This tutorial article is to walk you through some of the new tools available to us on the HUB, and to help you use groups for your focus group!

Where will my group's talks, references, shared papers, slides, and annotated reading lists go?

The way we organize our archived materials has changed with the structure of the HUB.  A rule of thumb for how we organize our group's materials is: 

  • If the material should remain internal to the Focus Group it is a Project.
  • If the material is something we want to publish publicly (and have the rights to publish as our own) it is a Resource
  •  If the material is a direct link to a website, online database, online tutorial etc. put it in a Collection.


Wait, why are we archiving our materials under "Projects"?

 You know all those papers we share with each other but we don't have the right to share with the world?  With the very open and distributed nature of collaboration in the MCRN Hub, we need to make sure these sorts of materials are not abused.  We also need to make sure that members don't accidentally post materials that belong to others as our own publications. 

Set up an Archived Materials Project

We suggest you utilize a project like "My Focus Group's Archived Materials" to organize all of the material we used to upload to the MCRN website.  Under such a project, these materials are denoted Project Assets.  Under the menu item  Assets on the left hand side of the Archived Materials Project page, two types of assets are available: Databases and Files.  Databases are a great new feature in which we can use to build and eventually publish data sets hosted on the MCRN Hub.  The asset Files provides a hierarchical directory tree to organize our archived materials - here is where old slides, references, shared papers, etc. can land on the Hub page, where you can share with collaborators, but not the world.   Rather than just posting a list of old slides and mixed materials, we have use of a full directory tree to organize these files for archiving, and our Files can even be directly linked to a Google Drive for added functionality.

What else can a project do? 

Every focus group member can create their own Project!  If you want to start a collaborative project as a subset of you focus group you can create a new project page to support your efforts, and invite your collaborators to join.  Using projects gives you an easy way to share papers, data sets, videos, collaborate on writing documents, and eventually publish materials developed in the Hub.  Publications on the Hub can be both research and educational oriented, but for any Publication the work must be your own.  We are waiting on opening the publication functionality available in Projects until Hub users are more familiar with the tools.  The Publications in Projects are not to be confused with the Publications in the Library.

More information on Publications in the Library is here.

Linked is a video which is about another Hub, but has a tutorial for use on Projects at 5:00.  Note,  not all the information in this video is applicable.  We have some different features from the Hub shown in the video, and as we continue to grow, we will add more features in a way that fits our organization's structure.

More information on Projects here.


Resources are materials that MCRN has right to publish.  Examples include the focus group seminar videos, including guest lectures, provided that the author gives us permission, and the author is appropriately credited.  Resources can be created with different levels of visibility.  For example, you might want to publish a video of research presentation for a published work that will freely available to the world, and this can be done.  However, maybe you want to keep a video of a semi-private research discussion only available to focus group members; in this case you may keep the access restricted to group members as an option and you may make sure the video is only searchable to group members.  These are options available for selection at the time of creating the Resource.  

This page guides you through submitting a resource.

Disambiguation of Library vs. Resources here.


Collections are unstructured assortments of any content in or outside of the Hub.  You can make a Collection of collections!  What collections offer us is a way to amass content and resources that we don't have ownership of, but want to share with our community.  You can link to outside websites, online databases, online tutorials, or upload files directly in an unstructured format.  Items in collections can and should be tagged to organize the content by subject matter.  

More information on Tags is here.

If you find material in other groups that you want to share with your focus group,  such as their seminars and resources that would be relevant to your own group, you can collect them for your focus group members to find without searching for it outside of the group.

NOTE: Each collection has its own unique privacy setting in addition to the privacy settings of the group.  Group privacy settings will determine if the collections belonging to the group are viewable to non-members through the group page.  Additionally, collections appear generically in the Library, and you can set the visibility settings for collection in the Library in the settings for the specific collection.

What are these other features? 


This feature lists members of the focus group. At the group level,  the administrators can set the visibility of the group members and if you start your own group you can choose various levels of visibility, making the group invisible or visible, and choosing whether or not to list the group members.   Group administrators have the ability to make a group invite only, to require administrator approval  to join or to be completely open.  If official group roles are desired, administrators can assign member roles in the Member area.  Those who have access to the Members page can send messages to all members in the group, or do so selectively from this menu. 

More information on Members here.


Announcements is a feature which allows members to post a persistent announcement, or one which will last for a specified schedule.  When you create an announcement you may also set the importance of the announcement upon the creation, and choose whether or not the members of the group will receive an email regarding the posted announcement.  The announcements will appear as a banner across the top of the group page.


The calendar feature on the Hub offers a few nice options for organizing the group's schedule.  Firstly, you can import all of your group's '''Google calendars''' in .ics format, under Manage Calendars using the Add Calendar button.  You can choose the display name of this calendar, as well as the color in which it displays on calendar page.  You can also make calendar events directly and independent from a Google calendar in the group calendar page, and even download events from different groups' calendars and add upload them to your groups' calendars individually.

More information on Events and Calendars here.

The Wiki

The Wiki is a documentation platform with revision control, which is internal to each group.  Each group can build their own Wiki pages for internal documentation that will not be searchable by MCRN on the whole, but is relevant to their own group's members.

More documentation on writing Wikis is in your group's Wiki page.

The Forum

The Forum offers group members a new opportunity to build on our history of innovating with online collaboration!   Members are encouraged to ask the group questions about advice with conceptual problems in their research,  share code advice, suggest readings, and stimulate connections across the network.  We now have a way to discuss old talks with the group if you miss a session, and pose questions you might have thought about after the meeting ended.    Forum documentation is also a good place to look for answers you don't find directly in your group's Wiki or the Help FAQ.  If you can't seem to get the answer you want, post a question!  Chances are that others have similar questions, and your discussion can help form the basis for new Wiki documentation, or lead to innovations in site functionality.

More information on the Forum here.


The Wishlist is to suggest improvements for future development of the Hub.   If you have  noticed a bug in the site, please submit a Ticket for fixing the bug using the Help menu at the top right of the page, but not a Wish.  Wishes should be used sparingly and discussed ahead of time with the MCRN Hub community to determine if the functionality already exists, but in a form that hasn't been explained effectively for you, or if it is part of a feature we have not implemented yet.  Note that wishes submitted in a group will stay internal to that group and it will not appear to any site administrators outside of the group itself.

I still have questions!

If you have any questions about the Hub page please post it on the Q&A and your focus group's forum.  Remember to subscribe to the forum to find out when others respond to your post. 

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