In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to create your program using circles. Circles are the building blocks of your program in Sutra. They're a little like Lego blocks that you can use to create the exact structure that you want for your program experience. You can organize circles within circles and you can have circles for discussion or for content. Once you understand how to work with circles, they give you lots of flexibility for what you can create.
Log into your Sutra account to get to your home screen in order to get started. Click on the Create button on your Sutra home screen.
In the pop-up window, there's an introduction to creating programs on Sutra and a couple of options to "Just get started" or "Use a template." For our first circle let's select "Just get started."
You'll be prompted to name your program. If you don't have a name for your program just yet, that's okay. You can put in a placeholder title for now and change it later. Filling in the description field is optional. The description will only be visible to you.
Before creating your circle, make sure to select whether you want to keep the circle Open or Private. If you want people to be able to register for your program or community from a publicly visible registration page you'll want to select Open. For example, if you have a paid program and you want anybody to be able to register for it you would select Open and then set a payment option for the circle. The price then enforces the privacy of your space and content because only people paying for the program have access to the space.
If you only want people that you directly invite to register for the circle, then you would select Private. This way you can invite as many people as you want through email and only they will be able to register for your circle.
Once you've made your selection click on the green Create circle button.
On the next screen, you'll be inside your parent circle. This is the main container that holds all of your program content and where the community action takes place. A list of video tutorials pops up in the lower-left corner of your screen. This video tutorial shows you some of the commonly used features of the platform. You can choose to keep the video tutorial resource within your circle or hide it permanently.
Minimize the tutorial box to view the full circle screen. The middle of this page contains all of your sub circles. These sub circles can contain your content, discussion groups, and additional sub circles. You'll notice that the General discussion sub circle has already been created. You can keep the General discussion sub circle or delete it. Let's keep General discussion for now and explore it a little later.
On the right hand side of your circle you'll see some options to manage different aspects of the circle. Here you can add members, view a list of members, access the full settings menu from the Admin Tools, and much more. We'll be exploring a few of the most commonly used features from this area a little later.
On the left hand side of your circle you'll see the navigation sidebar. Here you can see where you are within your Parent circle and you can navigate between sub circles.
Let's explore your first sub circle, General discussion. Click on the sub circle to get started.
This sub circle is a space for discussion. Participants can post messages and images into the chat. To create a post, click on the area where it says "Post a message" at the bottom of the screen. A box will pop up allowing you to create your message. When done click Create post and the post will be submitted to the feed. All members of the sub circle who've opted into email notifications will receive a notification when new posts are created or when they are @ mentioned.
Let's leave the General discussion and start creating additional sub circles. Click on the parent circle name in the left hand sidebar navigation menu to return to the parent circle screen.
Let's create a sub circle by clicking on the blue New circle button.
In the pop-up window, give your sub circle a name and choose the type of sub circle you'd like to create. There are three types of sub circles in Sutra:
Discussion - create a circle for group discussion or announcements
Content - create information pages for your program's content. You can add lesson plans, glossaries, assignments, and much more. These pages can include videos, images, files, and text.
Space - create a circle to contain and organize other sub circles.
Since we already have a Discussion circle, let's create a Content sub circle to start adding content to the program. Click on Content then click on Create circle.
You can navigate to this newly created Content sub circle by clicking the link in the lefthand sidebar or by clicking on the sub circle name in the parent circle's main screen. Let's look at adding content to this sub circle.
Once you've created the Content sub circle, you'll be able to start adding content.
There are two ways of creating content in Content sub circles. The first way is to edit the page direct, creating a content page. The second way to add content is to add resource sections. These are collapsable modules that let you organize content by topic. Topics can hold any number of nested pages.
To edit the content page, click on the blue Edit page button. A text box will pop up allowing you to add content.
To create nested resources, start by clicking on the blue New resource button on the upper right hand side.
Then name the topic of the resource.
Click on the Save topic.
Next, click on the Add page link below the resource's topic name. A new text box will appear so you can add content. As you replicate this process, you can have a series of topics with pages.
If you create multiple topics they can have nested subpages.
For step by step instructions on creating resources, see the Create a Resource tutorial.
As you create your program, we recommend keeping things simple to start. Begin with a discussion and content area and get your first group going before adding more circles.
When you launch your program we recommend giving your participants a brief overview of how to navigate the Sutra environment. You can link to the Navigating Sutra tutorials in our Support area or create your own tutorial that's specific to your program. Offering orientation and navigation advice to your program participants is one step that can help ensure their participation and success.