Heights Platform allows you to set up a community space for your members and students to interact with each other, ask questions, discuss specific topics and share with the community.
Let's have a look at how the community works inside Heights Platform.
How does the Community work?
By default, the community feature is enabled for all creators using Heights Platform. If you wish to disable this feature momentarily, you can do so in the Account Settings.
When you enter the community space inside Heights, you will notice how it looks slightly different from your main program. When inside your community area, the sidebar transforms into a special community sidebar (much like the sidebar changes to a lesson sidebar when inside a course). This allows you to see unread posts and mentions and navigate through your content with ease.
Creators and community admins can organize the community area by dragging and dropping channels and channel groups to reorder them on the sidebar for everyone.
Communities have a set hierarchy that governs the way you see the content. When you click the "Unread" button on the sidebar, the posts are ordered by most recently updated with followed and recently updated displayed at the top.
A post must be explicitly viewed by clicking on it in order for it to be marked as read. Simply scrolling through the channel does not mark it as read. Bold channels signify there is unread content in the channel, as pictured below:
A number badge signifies an @mention inside the channel:
Create a Channel
Within your community in Heights, you can organize conversations into dedicated spaces called channels. A channel can be either part of your whole community or made private by adding it to a Bundle (potentially selling the channel separately). This way, only students with access to the Bundle will be able to access the channel.
Channels vs Channel Groups
Channels are dedicated spaces in your community where you and your students can post about specific topics. To use the community, you need to create at least one channel.
Channel groups are like folders used to organize all the different channels you have. While you are required to have at least one channel, you can choose not to use channel groups if you don't need them. Channel groups are useful if you have multiple channels and want to organize them by topics.
To create a channel, click on the "+" sign next to "Community", on the top left of your screen, as shown here:
Then click on "Create Channel," and a page will open where you can assign a name to the channel and a description. Here you can also choose the parent Channel Group or choose not to group this channel.
By default, a channel and its posts are visible to all students. If you don't want to allow students to post on your new channel, check the box called " Locked," this way students will be able to access the content in the channel but won't be able to write a post in it. As an example, locking a channel is useful if you want one of your channels to serve as an announcement or rules channel.
Within the community, you can reorder channels by dragging and dropping on the left sidebar. Once a channel is created, you can always go back and edit its settings by clicking on "Edit Channel" on the top right side of the screen from the channel page.
Create a Channel Group
Channel Groups are used to separate different channels and group them into categories. You don't have to create a channel group in order to use the community feature in Heights, however, channel groups can be helpful in organizing the content inside your community and providing a clearer structure for your students.
To create a Channel Group, click on the "+" sign next to "Community", on the top left of your screen, as shown here:
Then click on "Create Channel Group," and a page will open where you can assign a name to the channel group. Once you create a channel group, you can customize its position in the sidebar by dragging and dropping it.
You can add channels under a channel group in 2 ways:
- Create a channel and on the setting page, select the parent channel group
- Drag and drop the already created channel under the desired channel group
Post in a Community Channel
Inside channels, students can post messages and start conversations. Let's see how to create your first post and everything you can do with it.
To post in a community channel, select the channel you want to write something on, and on the top of the page you will see a banner where you can start typing your message (where it says "Write a new post...").
When you click on the banner, it will open a new space for the content, a way to attach images and a few other settings, as shown below:
It is possible to format posts in the community using markdown. You can customize your post formatting as follows:
- # Header: Add a "#" before your text to make it a header
- ## Subheader: Add a "##" before your text to make it a subheader
- ### Smaller Subheader: Add a "###" before your text
- *italics*: Add a "*" before and after your text to make it italic
- **bold**: Add a "**" before and after your text to make it bold
- ~~strikethrough~~ : Add a "~~" before and after your text to apply a strikethrough
- > Indent: Add ">" before your text to indent it as a custom quote style
- @name: Add a "@" and start typing someone's name to tag them in your post
- Auto-Embed: Paste a URL to auto-embed files
- Custom Link Text: Here [this text](https://www.heightsplatform.com) is a link. Wrap the text you want to be a link in  followed by () containing the URL
- Lists: If you use "-" or "1." as bullets for your lists, they will be formatted automatically.
- Spoilers: Use <spoiler> </spoiler> tags to make content require a click to appear
In addition you can add pictures to your posts by clicking on " Attach Images" at the bottom of the editor. Here you can also choose to "Lock" your post (meaning students won't be able to comment under it) or "Pin" it (it will always appear at the top of the channel together with unread and followed posts).
After you publish a post, you can always go back and edit it by clicking on the title of the post. This will open a new window where you have the option to edit or delete your post. You can also move the post from one channel to another by clicking on "Edit Post" and changing the parent channel.
Please note that pictures can not be edited or deleted from a post that is already published. You can only edit your title, text and settings. If you wish to delete or change a picture from a post that is already published, you have to delete the entire post and re-post it.
Once a post is published, other community members can comment under the post (unless you decided to lock the post).
Moderate Your Community
As a creator, you and any other community moderators you assign will be able to approve or block posts from students and adjust moderation statuses. Learn how to moderate your community in more detail here: https://support.heightsplatform.com/article/216-how-to-moderate-a-community
By default, a student's first post in your discuss area can be viewed by everyone, but will appear in your moderation queue for you to decide how to handle it, and this student is considered to be in a "pending moderation" state.
If you approve this student's first post, this post and all future posts will appear automatically without requiring approval (though you can still block individual posts if needed).
If you block this student's first post, this post and all future posts will be blocked automatically and will not appear unless you explicitly approve them each time.
Additionally, students always see their own posts regardless of the post moderation state. For blocked students, this means they might not realize they have been blocked right away. Blocked students cannot send private messages.
Learn how to moderate your community in more detail here: https://support.heightsplatform.com/article/216-how-to-moderate-a-community
How to sell a channel separately / Hide a Channel
You have the option to hide a channel from the main community dashboard.
Here are a few case scenarios for how this can be useful:
- If you want to sell community access to that channel by itself
- If you want to sell access to a channel as part of a bundle that includes courses / challenges / digital products
- If you want to separate which students have access to different channels in your community
By default, students can access all of the channels inside your community, regardless of what courses or digital products they own. To hide a channel from your main community page, you need to first add it to a bundle. If you don't have a bundle yet, check out this article to learn how to create one in your Heights account: Payment Guide Content Bundles
Once a channel is added to a bundle, it automatically becomes hidden from your main community space, and only students who purchased the bundle or are granted access can join that community channel.
Once a channel becomes hidden, students won't be able to see it anymore on the community page, even if a student has posted on that channel before.