How Can I Build a Community?

Having a community centered around your course can help your students engage deeper with your course content and ensure their success. This will not only improve your returning students and referrals, but it will create a rewarding experience for everyone involved. So, it’s not surprising that here at Thinkific, our course creators are frequently asking what they can do to build their online community in an interactive and engaging way.

Below are some of the tools our course creators are successfully using to establish an online community for their students!


Private Facebook Group

Many of our course creators use private Facebook groups to connect their students and facilitate discussion. This is great because it can become a place for your students to teach each other and share their own learning wins. You can share the link in your course introduction and encourage students to join and introduce themselves! This sets the precedent at the start of the course and explains how communication will occur. The other benefit of using Facebook is that you can host Live Q&A events and share additional supplementary resources or conversation topics.


Course Discussion Feature

Our built-in Discussions feature allows you and your students to chat, ask questions, leave comments and add a deeper dimension to the content they’re learning. You can leave it up to your students to start the conversation, or you can prompt them to reflect on the course material to get the ball rolling and boost participation. This feature creates a single discussion area for each course that can be accessed on the left sidebar of the course player. 

For more information on how to set up an in-course discussion forum, check out this post!


Disqus Integration

Disqus is a social commenting platform that adds a dynamic and feature-rich comment system to your courses. You can add Disqus in the same way you add other content types like videos or surveys, which means you choose the number and placement of comment boards used in each course. With Disqus, you can include multiple threads in a course. Simply add a new disqus lesson when you want students to have a new discussion around a topic.

One of the reasons we love Disqus is because it enables your course to have multiple discussion boards dedicated to different topics. As a result, you can have multiple conversations throughout your course content. Keep in mind, that students have to sign up for a Disqus account and verify their email address in order to participate in the conversation.

For more information on adding the Disqus integration check out this article!

Live Q&A

Another great option is to embed a live chat app across your site for students who are logged in. Below are some of the apps and integrations we love to use!

Slack is fantastic platform for communication and collaboration. We have successfully seen our course creators use it to chat with their students by hooking up which enables you to chat with students directly through Slack.

Olark might look familiar to you! It’s what we here at Thinkific use for our chat support. We find it works really well and again, you can embed this directly into your course lesson. Find out more information here:

Livechat is one of the most popular live chat apps out there and can be a great way to connect with your students in real time: 

We hope these community building tips and tools are helpful! Do you have any other proven ways to build your community- we’d love to hear about what you’re currently doing to engage and support your students!

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