Go to m.barnard.edu for the Mobile Barnard web app or download it from the App Store or Google Play.

gBear Groups FAQ for Group Managers

What is the “group-owner” account?

Every Group in gBear has a special member called “group-owner”.  The group-owner account is a dedicated account used by BCIT to setup and administer Groups; it (not surprisingly) has the role of Group Owner.  Note that when you check how many members are in a group, it will be greater by one (1) because the count does includes this special group-owner account.

What is the difference between Group Manager and Owner roles?

The Manager and Owner roles are very similar.  Both can add and remove members, change member permissions, configure settings, moderate posts (when applicable), post messages, and promote/demote other Managers.  Email messages sent to the “Group Owner” also go to the Group Managers.   The Group Owner role, which is reserved for use by BCIT, can do a few additional things such as deleting the group. Note that Owners and Managers are also considered Members of the Group.

How do I access the Group management options?

  • Login to gBear
  • Click [Groups] in the gBear Apps menu in the upper left
  • Under My Groups are all the Groups you belong to.
  • If you are in a Manager role for a Group, you will see [manage] adjacent to the Group name.  Click [manage] to access the management options.

 

  • Group Settings determine the characteristics of your Group. Group Settings may never need to be modified once the Group has been setup. Under Group Settings are the Group’s name and description, Access settings such whether everyone can send messages to the Group (if it’s serving as an alias) or just members, whether or not posts are moderated, etc. Changing things under Group Settings can have a big impact on how your Group behaves, so proceed with caution, and check with BCIT first if you are unsure of its impact!
  • Management Tasks are for ongoing tasks such as deleting members, changing their settings, releasing moderated messages (when applicable), and reviewing suspected spam messages.  Google has a lot of additional http://groups.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=9248documentation on Management Tasks -- keep in mind that their documentation usually refers to the Group Owner, but as Group Manager, you have nearly the same powers as the Group Owner.
  • Invite members is how you add new members to the Group.  Although the default is to send an email invitation, you will usually want to use the second tab which is to Add members directly.

How do I add members?

  • Login to gBear
  • Click [Groups] in the gBear Apps menu in the upper left
  • Under My Groups are all the Groups you belong to.
  • If you are in a Manager role for a Group, you will see [manage] adjacent to the Group name.  Click [manage] to access the management options for that Group.
  • Click [Invite members] on the menu on the right-hand side.
  • Typically you will want to add members directly (as opposed to “inviting members to join”) so click the tab to [Add members directly]
  • Enter (or “copy-paste”) the email addresses to be added to the group; separate with commas or enter one per line.
  • If you want them to receive notification that they have been added, leave the box checked that says “Send an email to new members....”  and customize the welcome message. Otherwise, make sure to uncheck that option.
  • You can change the subscription setting for members being added but you will probably want to leave it as the default, which is to “Send email for each message...”
  • Click the Add members button.

About the format.  All that’s need to add a member is their email address.  If they are a Barnard staff or student, their full name will usually be filled in automatically by gBear.  Alternatively, you can enter members using the following widely-used standard format:  

Jane Smith <jsmith@barnard.edu>

and then their fulll name will be listed as well as their email address

About the email address.  If you add someone with their barnard.edu email address they must use that account when posting; if they want to be able to post using their columbia.edu email address then you need to enter them twice, once with each address.  They will then receive posts in account, though they have the option of setting one account or the other to No Email

How do I remove members (or change member’s settings?)

  • Login to gBear
  • Click [Groups] in the gBear Apps menu in the upper left
  • Under My Groups are all the Groups you belong to. 
  • If you are in a Manager role for a Group, you will see [manage] adjacent to the Group name.  Click [manage] to access the management options for that Group.
  • Click [Management tasks] then [Manage members]
  • Option 1
  • Check one or more member checkboxes (on the left)
  • Select an action  in the <Set membership type> drop-down
  • Click [OK]
  • Option 2
  • Click [Edit] for any member
  • Click [Unsubscribe]

Can I request that BCIT add/remove members for my Group?

If you need assistance adding/removing members, you can send a request to BCIT Service Desk.  However, the management interface of gBear Groups is user-friendly enough that we expect most Managers will be able to add/remove members on their own, and we encourage someone in each office to become familiar with how to do so.  BCIT will be happy to provide orientations and refreshers.  

How do I add other Managers?

First you need to add them to the Group (obviously if they are already Members you can skip this step).   See How do I add members? above.

Next, you need to elevate their role from regular Member to Manager.  

  • Click [Management tasks] then [Manage members]
  • Option 1
  • Check one or more member checkboxes (on the left)
  • Select an action  in the <Set membership type> drop-down
  • Click [OK]
  • Option 2
  • Click [Edit] for any member
  • Change their Membership type
  • Click [Save Changes]

How do I release moderated messages?

If you are an owner and your account is set to receive Email from the Group, you will get an email with a link you can click to release the message.   All Group Managers also have the option of reviewing messages being held for moderation on the Group website -- click [Management tasks] then [Review pending messages] and choose what action(s) you want to take.

How is spam handled?

Particularly if your Group email address is published on a website, spam is inevitable.  Messages that are clearly spam are blocked by Google.  Messages that are possibly spam will be held in the moderation queue for 30 days.  As Manager, you have 30 days to check the queue by clicking [Management tasks] then [Review pending messages] and choose the action(s) you want to take with those message(s).  Messages marked as spam and not released will be discarded after 30 days.  

When do I need a message footer?

Under Group Settings you can set text that will appear in a lighter color at the bottom of every posting to the Group.  If you are managing a Group in which membership is optional then you should have a footer that includes instructions on how to leave the group and (optionally) how to contact the Group Manager to report problems.  Without this information, there is a chance of someone reporting unwanted messages (ie, spam)  Note that since Columbia staff and students cannot access the Group website, they definitely need to contact the Group Manager to request leaving the group, so consider a footer for your group with owner contact info if you have Columbia staff and students as Members. To edit the footer, click on [Group Settings] then [Email Delivery].  

Can non-Barnard affiliates be members of the Group?

Yes, they can.  They are able to send/receive email messages to/from the Group using email, and can unsubscribe via email as well.  However, they won’t be able to access the web page for the group, so they won’t be able to view the archive or unsubscribe via the website.

Can a group be a member of another group?

Yes, a group can also contain the addresses of other groups, so you can use groups as building blocks for larger groups. Learn more about adding a group to another group.

What is the maximum number of members a group can have?

With Google Apps for Education, there's no limit to the number of members a group can have. However, if the group contains external members, there may be a limit to the number of messages you can send to external recipients per day.  To fight spam and email abuse, Google limits the number of messages you can send at once or in a day to external (non-Barnard) recipients.  Learn more about group sending limits.

Can members subscribe or unsubscribe themselves?

It’s possible (though not usually recommended) to configure a Group to allow Barnard staff and students to self-subscribe; self-subscribing is not an option for Columbia staff or students (nor for anyone without a gBear account.).  As for leaving a Group, there is currently no way to disable the Unsubscribe option for anyone who can access the Group’s website (i.e., Barnard staff and students.)  Note that since Columbia staff and students cannot access the Group website, they need to contact the Group Manager to request leaving the group.  Consider a footer for your group with owner contact info.