In a previous article, on How to Integrate WooCommerce and Sensei, we had provided an overview on setting up courses and lessons, using the WooThemes Sensei plugin, and the use of WooCommerce to sell these courses, on your e-learning site. The overview article provides the must-know basics, for anyone interested in setting up an e-learning site, using the Sensei plugin.
In this article, we will provide you with a guide, to help you integrate BuddyPress into your Sensei based e-learning site. You see, BuddyPress can be used to create community for students, of your learning website. And while you might say, that this is not a must-have feature, it certainly is a great feature to have.
Advantages of Adding a Community to an e-Learning Site
When it comes to learning, a network or community of students can be paralleled to a classroom. Groups can be formed based on the courses provided and could contain teachers as well as students. Students have a platform to discuss doubts, or common problems, or can even collaborate to carry out group projects.
How to Integrate BuddyPress and Sensei
Since BuddyPress is used to create a network, we will have to take a look at setting up student groups, integrating discussion forums, and adding activity updates.
Creating Student GroupsThe basic reason, why anyone would want to integrate BuddyPress and Sensei would be, to provide the ability to create ‘Student Groups’.
- If you simply install BuddyPress on your site, the users (or rather students) of your courses (i.e., users on your site), will automatically becomes BuddyPress members.
- You would need to create groups based on the courses you provide, or based on course categories. This would depend on the way your courses are set up.
- To create a hierarchy of groups, you can use the BP Group Hierarchy plugin.
- To club students into groups, you will have to add a particular student to a group, based on the course they have registered for. This has to be done every time a new student is created (on student signing up on your site), or whenever a student registers for (or starts) a new course.
- Another feature you could provide, is to list the courses a student has enrolled for, in the student’s BuddyPress Member Profile. This can be done using BuddyPress’ Extended Profile Components.
Integrating Discussion Forums
Instead of a single forum, you can set up various discussion forums, for students, based on the groups they belong to. In fact, you do not need to restrict the number of forums to just one per group. Instead, you can create several forums, for a single group as well. For example, for a single group, you can create one forum for ‘Student Problems’, one for ‘Tips and Tricks’, and another for ‘Course Suggestions’. This can be easily provided, using bbPress Forum Plugin. BuddyPress and bbPress can work together to help you create group specific forums.
You can also consider adding BuddyPress Docs extension, which is a great tool to share documents in a group.
Adding Student and Course Activity Stream
If you wanted to share student activities, or student progress, you can make use of ‘Activity Streams’ in BuddyPress. Activity streams list the recent activities of a BuddyPress member.
- You will have to add Sensei activities to BuddyPress Activity streams. For example, every time a student completes a lesson, you can add an activity, ‘<student-name> completed Lesson 1 in <course-name>’.
- You can also consider adding administrator activities, when new courses or lessons are added. For example, ‘A new course <course-name> has been added.’
You can use activity streams to inform a student’s progress to fellow group members.
Another option you can consider, is to award badges to students, and display the awarded badges, in the respective student’s BuddyPress profile. Since the BadgeOS plugin integrates well with both Sensei and BuddyPress, you can use it for this purpose. Badges can motivate students, and can even be used to notify a student’s progress to others. Badges can also be added to a student’s activity stream. You can refer our previously written article, on How to Display Achievement Badges for Students, to get a fair idea of of its working with Sensei courses.