CoursePress, Membership 2, Forums, and Points & Badges

Hello hello!

I am currently building a learning/membership community, and would love some feedback.

I have been going back and forth with my plugin choices as I built out the design, and basic functionality, but I am not ready to make a decision.

My client originally wanted me to use LearnDash, because he already has a lifetime license, but I am not convinced. I'd rather keep things within the WPMUDEV plugin family, because they are all built to work nicely together.

Here's what I am thinking ...

1.) Membership 2 Pro

I would use Membership 2 Pro for the creation of my Free and Premium membership tiers. All payment and permissions would be controlled by this plugin.

2.) CoursePress Pro

I would create my courses, lessons, topics, certifications, quizzes, etc. with this plugin.

Membership 2 Pro would control the visibility of the courses based on membership tier.

3.) Forums

I have used BuddyPress before, and I am not particularly fond of it. I think it is too complicated, and generally not super user friendly.

I am thinking that WPMU Forums plugin is sufficient for my forum needs.

Again, Membership 2 Pro would lock the forums based on membership level.

4.) I would LOVE to use MyCRED to integrate a points/badge system for when members complete lessons, quizzes, and gain certification.

QUESTIONS:

Okay, so I have a few questions about whether I can implement the way I want to.

1.) When I create my membership levels, is it possible to associate courses, lessons, etc. with the membership levels OR do I have to go to each individual course or lesson or whatever and wrap them all in Membership shortcodes?

2.) When a member joins I want them to be able to become a FREE member, and get the first month worth of lessons (one lesson per week). I also want them to have some other free member access ... that's not important right now. Basically, a person can join free, and get 4 weeks of lessons OR they can join premium and get started at week 1.

A.) Is it possible to have a trickle course that unlocks each week (of a 40 week program) 1 per week until it is done?

B.) If someone joins free, can I have the trickle STOP at week 4 until they have upgraded to premium?

C.) If I trickle the lessons based on the start date of a member, can they pause/start/stop the trickle, and it picks up where they left off? A person might go on vacation or need a break, and they might want to pause it, so they don't come back, and can never catch up to the trickle.

D.) Can I set up email reminders to get sent when a new lesson is unlocked?

3.) I will need to attach CoursePress to MyCRED, so points and badges can be awarded based on CoursePress activity. I'm sure this is custom work, correct? If that's the case, it would help to know where to find out about the most useful CoursePress action hooks, and anything else you think is relevant.

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Any other comments or suggestions would be so appreciated. I'm sure some of you have built things like this before. I'd love some advice from your perspective.

Thanks so much!

  • mediastead

    One more question ...

    We are going to have two membership levels ... FREE and PREMIUM.

    We are going to have a 40 week course. We envision the course to be set up to release 1 lesson per week starting at the join date of a member.

    What I would like is for the Free member to ONLY have access to the first 4 weeks, and then the release timeline stops. If they upgrade from free to premium, the timeline should start up again at week 4, and continue on to week 40.

    (Is this part possible?)

    The next question I have is related to permissions.

    Is it possible that each "lesson level" (e.g. week 1, week 2, week 3 .... week 40) actually has its own permissions?

    As an example, we have the membership level (free/premium), and these permissions control mostly everything, from post/page visibility, to course/lesson visibility. But, if a member is on a certain week for their lessons, can we have even more control over what they see? So, let's say a premium member has paid ... they're on week 15 ... Being a premium member, they have access to the forums (free members probably won't have forum access), HOWEVER, let's say we have a forum section for advanced people, and week 15 is considered intermediate. Can we have it so that the membership level controls whether a person can or can't access forums, but the course/lesson level (week 15) controls whether they can access a SPECIFIC forum section?

    I hope this makes sense. I'm looking forward to receiving some responses.

    Thanks!

  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hello mediastead,

    Thank you for considering our plugins to implement this project.

    Let me answer your queries one by one.

    3.) Forums

    I have used BuddyPress before, and I am not particularly fond of it. I think it is too complicated, and generally not super user friendly.

    I am thinking that WPMU Forums plugin is sufficient for my forum needs.

    I think you had in mind bbPress, right? This is plugin for forum, BuddyPress is created for social networks.
    Forum is very simple plugin, it does not have as much as features as bbPress - also integration with the Membership is based on protection page where forum is displayed, when in case of bbPress you can protect forums using protection for custom post types.

    4.) I would LOVE to use MyCRED to integrate a points/badge system for when members complete lessons, quizzes, and gain certification.

    CoursePress does not have integration with MyCRED. That would require custom plugin that would integrate both plugins.

    1.) When I create my membership levels, is it possible to associate courses, lessons, etc. with the membership levels OR do I have to go to each individual course or lesson or whatever and wrap them all in Membership shortcodes?

    You can do that from the Membership 2 -> Protection rules with use of add on "Individual Custom Posts", but protecting from unit, section level is impossible.

    2.) When a member joins I want them to be able to become a FREE member, and get the first month worth of lessons (one lesson per week).

    Yes, that is possible to protect first Units with both free and premium membership - so when thet join free they will have only access to those - when they switch to premium they will be able to continue learning.

    A.) Is it possible to have a trickle course that unlocks each week (of a 40 week program) 1 per week until it is done?

    Yes, that is possible. Dripped Membership type is used to reveal content. And it can be on certain dates or relative to date when member joined.

    B.) If someone joins free, can I have the trickle STOP at week 4 until they have upgraded to premium?

    Yes, they will simply not have access to further lessons, because only premium members will have access to those.

    But there is one problem. If they will switch to premium then "clock" on revealing lessons is reset and starts again, from week one.

    C.) If I trickle the lessons based on the start date of a member, can they pause/start/stop the trickle, and it picks up where they left off? A person might go on vacation or need a break, and they might want to pause it, so they don't come back, and can never catch up to the trickle.

    There is no such option in Membership, but even if they will stop, lessons they did will not expire and so they will be able to start were they finished and move on with new available lessons.

    D.) Can I set up email reminders to get sent when a new lesson is unlocked?

    Unfortunately there is no option in Membership for doing that at the moment.

    3.) I will need to attach CoursePress to MyCRED, so points and badges can be awarded based on CoursePress activity. I'm sure this is custom work, correct?

    Yes, that is correct. However at the moment there is no developers documentation for the CoursePress - we are trying to get one, but it will take time. So at the moment only source is digging in to plugin code.

    What I would like is for the Free member to ONLY have access to the first 4 weeks, and then the release timeline stops. If they upgrade from free to premium, the timeline should start up again at week 4, and continue on to week 40.

    (Is this part possible?)

    I'm afraid this is not possible without custom coding.

    Can we have it so that the membership level controls whether a person can or can't access forums, but the course/lesson level (week 15) controls whether they can access a SPECIFIC forum section?

    So, if you decide to use Forum plugin, there will be no sections only pages with separate forums. But I think this will be possible - also using the same feature that reveals units in course. Because it will be based on date when member joined membership, then you need to set visibility of page that has forum for week 15 so it will be revealed at the same time as lesson for 15 week.

    kind regards,
    Kasia

  • mediastead

    Thanks for your response @bastetmilo.

    A couple of questions. First, when I asked about drip courses, you said that it is possible with Membership 2 Pro. However, when I look at the CoursePress page on the WPMUDEV website, it says:

    "Reminders & Notifications
    Drip release units and send notifications when new material is available. Automated and customizable notifications help both students and instructors stay on top of communications."

    Would I not be able to drip release course lessons, and send a notification to the student when the new lesson is released? It says so on the CoursePress page, but when I asked about it here (Can I set up email reminders to get sent when a new lesson is unlocked?), you said:

    "Unfortunately there is no option in Membership for doing that at the moment."

    I just want to clarify when I should use CoursePress, and when I should use Membership 2 Pro?

    I was asking about if I could have permissions based on the specific week a person is in with the course ... would this be why I have to use Membership 2 Pro, as if I use CoursePress to trickle the lessons, I won't be able to associate the member permissions? And if I want notifications, I need to use CoursePress trickle, but then I won't have permissions from Membership? So, it's a "one or the other" scenario?

    Also, I was wondering ... does WPMUDEV uses the Forums plugin? There are some features I really love, like the ability to subscribe to a forum topic, to get an email when someone replies to your posts, etc.

    Thanks so much!

  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hello mediastead,

    Would I not be able to drip release course lessons, and send a notification to the student when the new lesson is released? It says so on the CoursePress page, but when I asked about it here (Can I set up email reminders to get sent when a new lesson is unlocked?), you said:

    "Unfortunately there is no option in Membership for doing that at the moment."

    I just want to clarify when I should use CoursePress, and when I should use Membership 2 Pro?

    You are right - we introduced feature in CoursePress 2 that allows to show unit after X days from singup.
    Yes, in this case if we resign from using Membership Dripped protection on units (that does not allow to send email notfications) and use CoursePress drip content and its email notifications - custom coding is not needed.
    I'm sorry - I did forgot that now CoursePress offers more than fixed dates!

    And if I want notifications, I need to use CoursePress trickle, but then I won't have permissions from Membership? So, it's a "one or the other" scenario?

    In this case that need to be combined. You protect course with membership (but you don't use dripped options for that) and forums pages are protected with dripped options in Membership.
    What would need to be custom coded - when user joins membership it also enrolls the same moment to course. So the dates will be the same and both revealing options will be working in the same time.

    Also, I was wondering ... does WPMUDEV uses the Forums plugin?

    No. Forum is very simple plugin. We use heavily customized bbPress plugin for our forum.

    kind regards,
    Kasia