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The Manual




Creating a Course


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Learning Infrastructure

Discussion Forum

Every course comes with a public forum. Anyone can read this forum, and anyone with a Hyperlink account can post.

We also set up each cohort of a course with its own private forum, accessibly only to members of the cohort.

Introduce yourself, talk about interests, post questions, and gather feedback — anything you want to ask or share to other learners, the forum is the place to do it.

The Hyperlink community is powered by Discourse — modern, open source, highly flexible forum software. If you're new to Discourse, this is a great post covering the basics:

Some particularly useful features:

  • Events: Schedule an event right in Discourse — when creating a new post, select "Create event" from the gear icon (upper right in the composer), and input the date. It will then appear both in the topic list, and Hyperlink Calendar.
  • Video Calls with Jitsi: We have a quick and easy way to create a video chat in a forum post using Jitsi. Click the video icon (middle of the composer nav bar) to insert a button in your post that will open a video call. Useful in combination with Events!
  • Uploads and Embeds: Discourse has great built-in support for uploading images; just drag and drop any image file directly into a post. You can also paste in media links from sites like YouTube and SoundCloud and they'll automatically embed nicely in your post.

Video Calls

Since Hyperlink courses are run online and we can't all be in the same room, the next best thing is to use regular video calls — for group workshops, one-on-one office hours, presentations, or anything else that calls for a live session. We recommend:

  • Jitsi: high quality, open source, runs totally in-browser on desktop (no download required), and a mobile app available. Pros: it's always free, with no time limits, and we have built-in integration with the forum — when creating a post, just hit the video icon to insert an embedded Jitsi room. Cons: for larger groups, tends to be less stable than Zoom.
  • Zoom: popular and performant. Pros: almost everyone knows it; works well even for large groups. Cons: the free tier on Zoom limits group calls to 40 minutes; requires an app download for best results. If you already use Zoom or another video chat app, feel free to use that!

Collaborative Tools

As noted, Hyperlink courses should be active — focused on collaboration and feedback with other learners. There are many tools that facilitate this sort of collaboration online, and you should use whichever fit the needs of your course.

Here are a few we recommend, all geared toward collaboration, and free for basic use:

  • GitLab / GitHub: shared repositories for code…or other text that might have a use for collaborative version control!
  • Google: Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Meet and other free apps
  • Notion: documents, wikis, to-do lists, database and task management
  • Figma: design and prototyping
  • Mural / Miro: visual workspace, shared whiteboarding
  • Arena: group bookmarking, great for collecting resources and sharing ideas

The Hyperlink platform itself is open source software. You can view the source code and submit changes if you find a bug!

See the README in the linked repo for more technical details about the site.