Here’s How To Make a (free, safe) Group On

Cathy Davidson

If you are registered as a HASTAC member, you can begin to create a Group for your class right now.  If you are not a member, you can fill out the registration form and we will work hard to approve your registration as soon as possible.  (Approval is needed to prevent spammers, as much as possible, and to protect our community and keep it a constructive, positive space.)

For great tips on where to get started if you are being asked to teach a course on line, see HASTAC Co-Director Jacqueline Wernimont’s excellent post:

Jacque has also started a very rich, crowdsourced guide with ideas and resources for all.


For the basics of how to create a Group, go to:


Here is how we describe HASTAC for the Group members in our “Engaged Teaching and Learning” Course:

HASTAC is a network of over 17,300  students, professors, authors, activists, technology developers, and educators committed to “changing the way we teach and learn.”  Another motto: “Difference is our operating system.” When one posts on HASTAC, the goal is to present information in a way that will be useful and meaningful to students and educators beyond our classroom.  

  • Membership is free but requires registration and approval (typically this takes 2-3 business days; we will try to speed this up).

  • For the fastest registration please use an .edu email account. If you do not have an .edu email, then please send us a message via “contact support” on the [] HASTAC page.

  • If you wish to use a pseudonym for your posts, you will have that option when you register. You won’t be able to change later.  

    • There are many reasons to post using your own name on HASTAC, including translating your work to a larger public audience for the public good; having a respectable digital citation for your resume (for some, this will be a first academic publication and a real bonus for your resume); being part of a larger user community, etc.

    • The reasons to post using a pseudonym include: your comfort with online identity; your concern that future employers might be concerned about your political/social ideas; an array of personal issues that prompt anonymity for security issues.

    • We will discuss this in class but you are responsible for thinking through the issues and your own comfort level online when you register. 

  • HASTAC is known as the “ethical Facebook” because it never misuses or sells user data.

  • HASTAC is creative common licensed so users keep their own data and also make it available free as open access, credited publication

  • It’s a DRUPAL-powered (ie. community created) site. You need to add tags to your post and you need to make sure to check whether you want your post private to our Group or seen by the public and you have to designate which Group you wish to post to.

  • HASTAC is a dynamic social network to which any HASTAC member can post, as long as their post stays roughly within topic, is not commercial, and is never insulting to other members. (NB: If you see commercial ads on the site, let us know. Hackers–human not bot–are paid to put commercial content on well-trafficked sites and we are in a constant battle to take these down when we see them.)


For an example of an evolving class that uses HASTAC groups, you can visit our “Introduction to Engaged Teaching and Transformative Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences Group” :…

Here is what we say on our Syllabus about contributing to a HASTAC Group, just one example of how you can use this tool.  About 100+ courses have been Groups on HASTAC and, as the Chronicle of Higher Education noted, HASTAC is not only the “first and oldest academic social network” it also has totally responsible privacy policies. We do not ever sell or use or give away your data. 



From Spring 2020, Profs Cathy N. Davidson and Eduardo Vianna,

“Introduction to Engaged Teaching and Transformative Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences Group” :

  • Students will co-author and post to our group a “wrap up” (synopsis) of their class session–syllabus readings, supplementary texts, photos of the class or the learning materials, and a description of what happened in class.  Due one week after the class presentation.  

    • For posting to our HASTAC Group, you will need to register on the site.  It’s free; HASTAC is scrupulous about not selling or sharing your data; all registrations must be approved (approval can take 2-3 working days). 

    • If you wish to use a pseudonym for your posts, you will have that option when you register. 

    • Overall, your goal is to present your Group’s project in a way that will be useful to students and educators beyond our classroom.  Your post should include 1) an overview of the class you conducted 2) objectives 3) an explanation of the assigned texts or other homework and in-class activities 4) a rationale for why you chose these activities 5) links to assigned materials 6) resources (such as handouts or powerpoints) created for the lesson and 7) whatever additional information you think might be useful to readers.  Also, use images from the class session to make the post as interesting as possible. More details to follow.