How to create a community for your course in New Zenler

December 9

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How to add create a community for your course

Tribe, community, people, gang, team, group. All of these words depict a sense of belonging to each other. Dictionary.com defines Tribe as:

"a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader."

As we go about creating our courses, we often think of creating an accompanying Facebook Group to go with it. The reason is plain and simple, we all like to hang out with other likeminded people. 

So much so, that sometimes we even gravitate towards people who look like us. Here's an excerpt from an article published about how actors who were dressed as apes during the planet of the apes' movie shoot, all congregated together just because they had the same costume on.

During the filming of Planet of the Apes in 1967, Charlton Heston noted β€œan instinctive segregation on the set. Not only would the apes eat together, but the chimpanzees ate with the chimpanzees, the gorillas ate with the gorillas, the orangutans ate with the orangutans, and the humans would eat off by themselves. It was quite spooky.”

Ape

Now on to the good news! My fellow course creator - you're in luck. New Zenler has just announced its community feature and it is a GAME CHANGER!

Game changer

Not only can you build a thriving student community within New Zenler, for your course. You can now make sure that your students don't get distracted with that shiny Facebook notification bell.

Besides, when you use Facebook Groups as your defacto community, you're agreeing to play in their sandbox. Which also means you will have to play by their rules.

Since New Zenler is still in beta at the time of this article being published, there are quite a few features that are missing from communities.

Rakesh and his team have shipped a great MVP for all of us beta members.

How To Create a Community in New Zenler

Step 1: Click on the communities link

From the top navigation bar click on the communities link. Then click on Add Community. 

Step 2: Site or Course Community?

Now you can pick between two options i.e.

  • Community for Site
  • Community for Course

Which means you can have a community for a specific course. This is just AMAZEBALLS! As course creators, we can sell this as a bonus for a higher-priced course if we wanted to. 

Step 2 - Site or Course

Step 3: Select Specific Course

When creating your community for a course, you can select the specific course from the drop-down. 

Not only can you select a specific course, but you can also select which pricing plan within that course the community applies to. Maybe you want to charge a higher price to those who would like access to the community.

After all, you should put more value on your time. And people should expect to pay more if they'd like to have access to YOU!

There are multiple places you can attach a community to a specific price.

First > When you're creating the community you can select which pricing plan to attach it to. Here you can attach the same community to multiple pricing plans.

Community creation page

Note

You will be able to see the different pricing plans you've selected from the community edit page.

Second > When creating a pricing plan for your course. Within the pricing plan, you are able to select if you'd like to attach that specific course in New Zenler to a community or not.

Pricing plan page

Step 4: Publishing Your Community

After you have made all of the necessary changes and you're ready to go-live with your brand spanking shiny new community, all you have to do is press the publish button.

Very Important 

Students from any courses that you've checked the boxes on will automatically get added to the community. Be 100% sure that you have the correct course selected before hitting the publish button. There is no easy way right now to remove all the students once they have been added to the community.

If you do happen to make a mistake and would like to remove all the students, your best bet is to delete the community and start over.

Step 5: Community Access

Now that your student community in New Zenler is live, you can access it by clicking the little "Eye" icon from the communities page. 

Accessing the community

Here you can interact with the community members by making posts.

Student community in New Zenler

When creating a new community post, you have an option to attach the following:

  • Image
  • Video
  • Link

At the moment of publishing this blog post "Dec 2019," you're only able to attach one thing at a time. Which means you cannot insert an image and a link at the same time.

To me, this is kind of quirky. However, New Zenler is still in beta right now. This can very well change (or is already changed) depending on when you're reading this post.

A workaround for this would be to add the link within your post and then attach a picture if you'd like.

Workaround - Link and image in the same post.

Once you've posted in your student community, others can comment/like/react on that post.

Step 5_5 comment and like a post

Step 6: Student View

Now let's take a peek on how this would look like from the student side. I strongly suggest you enroll yourself as a student and create a demo course as well.

This way you can test things out in a sandbox before giving everyone access to it.

Here is what a student sees within their dashboard when they log in. 

Students will be able to see the notification bell badge in the top right corner along with a number over that. This is very similar to a facebook notification.

Student dashboard view

Note

The community link is automatically added to your site header navigation bar. You do not need to do anything on the back-end side. 

Upon clicking the notification bell, it will expand to show students what activity has happened since their last visit.

They can then comment/like/react to your post. You will notice that the 3 little vertical dots are missing when I log in as a student. That is because those dots expand a menu and allow you to delete a post. But only admins have the right to delete posts.

Every time there is a comment/reaction made on a posted created by you, you will see notifications in the admin dashboard as well within New Zenler.

Admin dashboard notifications in New Zenler

That should do it folks. You're now ready to go build your community, your tribe, your gang, your people! 

​

This is truly a game changer at so many levels. Let me know how you plan on using communities in New Zenler? 

Improvements Needed

Here's a list of things I would like to see within communities

Much Needed Features

  • Roles
    Every community needs a cheerleader. An admin who can herd the cats in the right direction. As of the publication of this blog, the role functionality is missing from New Zenler communities.
  • Pinned Posts
    Similar to Facebook, it would be nice for Admins to be able to pin a post.
  • Rich Text Editor
    Instead of just plain text, I'd be nice to have a rich text editor when creating community posts. Rakesh tells me this will be Generally Available (GA) soon.

Conclusion


Overall, Rakesh and the New Zenler team have shipped a great MVP for the beta founders to play with. This is more than what ANY OTHER course platform is offering today.

I can see this feature as a value-added bonus for creators to offer their students. 

Kudos to the New Zenler for creating an amazing platform for us course creators!



Amit

Follow me here

About the Author

First off, thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you've seen the video and got to know me a little by now. I started my course creation journey in 2015 when we had our 1st baby boy. My wife was home on maternity leave and we came up with the idea to create an online course while she had the time off from work. Four years later.....


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