Creating and Updating a Course
Before getting started, be sure to review our overview of Courses: Introduction to Courses.
Creating your curriculum is the most important aspect of using an LMS. Your curriculum is made up of all the content your students will receive. This guide will show you how to:
- Create a Course
- Add Sections and Modules, and
- Set grading and access rules for students
Once you have done that, you will be ready for the next steps:
- Managing your Courses
- Adding a Course to a Product, and
- Adding your Course to a Group
In this article
Create a New Course
You can also start creating a new course using the "Quick Add" menu accessed by selecting the "+" icon in the upper-right part of the screen and selecting "New Course."
A more roundabout way to create a new course is to select "Courses" in the Sidebar and then "All Courses". You will see a "Create Course" button at the top right.
Once you have saved the Course, remember to use the "Update Course" button in the top right corner to save your progress as you create your Course. You must update before leaving the page to avoid losing any changes.
Also, a new Course will have the Course Status "Draft" in the first instance. This will prevent you from making the Course publicly available until you are ready. Courses with "Draft" status cannot be used or viewed by anyone. These cannot be assigned to students or added to a Product. Once you have created the complete course, switch the Course Status to "Publish" for testing, to add it to a Product, or to assign it to a student.
There are four steps of creating a Course, and you can see a tab for each step at the top of the screen as you work through the process. The next section of this Help Doc will look at each of these tabs in detail.
Step 1: Add Basic Info
On the first tab, you will enter the basic information required for the Course. The more complete this section is, the better the Course foundation, which means the better organization for those on the Admin side, and more clarity for those on the student side.
Choose a Name
The Course name is the most important identifier you will create.
- This name will be displayed on the Course Catalog page, Products page, and many admin pages inside your account.
- Students will see the course name when they are logged in, and it will be displayed at the top of every Module in every Course.
- The course name will be printed on the certificates you award.
- Try to name it short while being descriptive. Because the Course name will be featured at several places on the platform, there is the possibility that the formatting in some areas may break an extremely long name into multiple lines, or create other confusing styling issues.
Include Course Instructions
If you wish you can add overall course instructions to the course, so students exactly know what to expect. Suggested information includes:
- Description of the Course
- Number and types of Modules in the Course
- Estimated time to complete
- And any other pertinent details.
Students will see the instructions displayed once they launch the Course, right before they launch into the Modules.
Add a Featured Image
Adding a Featured Image to your Course will help give students a custom visual reference to associate with the Course.
Once added, the Featured Image of the Course will appear in multiple locations, including the Course Catalog, as well as on a Student's "My Courses" page.
Keep in mind, Featured Images are not required. If you choose not to upload an image, a sample image will be displayed instead. This sample image will be the same for all Courses that do not use a custom Featured Image.
The Featured Image is in a 3:2 aspect ratio, with the width being 1.5 times the size of the height. We recommend image dimensions of 300 px by 200 px for the best performance and visibility. Larger images can cause issues with page size and performance. Smaller images can cause formatting issues. The key is that all Featured Images should be the same size, so they look uniform in the student view and course catalog.
When you select "Browse Media" you will then see the Media Library, where you can upload the image, or select a previously uploaded image for your Featured Image.
Using the Media Library
The Media Library houses all the uploaded files you use in your account. Everything you have uploaded can be found here.
- There are two ways to access the Media Library:
1. You can access the Media Library directly from the Create Course page by selecting "Browse Media."
2. When not in the process of creating a course, you can upload and view files in the Media Library by selecting Assets and then Media Library on the Sidebar.
Once inside the Media Library, you can add your image by dragging your file or selecting "Upload Media." Please note that while still images, GIF files, and video files can be uploaded to the Media Library, still images of the correct size should be the only files used for Featured Images. Again, for the best performance and visibility, images should be 300 px wide by 200 px high.
When a file has been uploaded successfully, it will be listed in the Media Library. You can then select it for use in your Course. To select an image, check the box next to the image icon and then click on "Choose / Select" or just simply click on "Choose / Select."
Choose Course Categories
Course Categories are helpful in quickly bundling courses. If you have already created Course Categories, you can apply them to your Course here.
If you have not created Course Categories, you can create one at this step. If you would like to add a Category to the Course, simply enter the name you would like to use for your new Category in the "Choose Categories" field, and the Category will be created.
For more information on using Categories, see the Course Categories help document.
Add Course Credits
If you are awarding credits to your Students you can add them here. Course credits can be used to track continuing education completion, or if the course is part of a larger curriculum. The number of credits can appear on the Course certificate if you choose.
Step 2: Curriculum
The Curriculum tab is where you will put your Course together. A Course is built of Sections and Modules, and this tab is where you add and arrange them. Your curriculum may consist of multiple Sections and Modules, or it could be a single Module. A Course will always consist of at least one Module.
Adding Sections to Your Course
Creating sections is an effective way to organize the Modules within a Course. For example, you may have an introductory Explainer Video and a Text Module that the student needs to review as they start the Course. Then there may be a PDF Module and a Quiz Module that form the main body of the curriculum. These may be followed by a PDF Module and a final Quiz Module. These 6 Modules could be contained within 3 Sections, and for this example, you could choose to call the Sections "Introduction," "Jumping in," and "Wrapping Up." Let's look closer at how this can be set up.
- First, select "Add Section."
You will now see a blank Section.
Click on "Blank Section," which is the default name, and change the name of the Section you are creating. The new name is "Introduction" in this case.
Now that you have created the sections, you can add or create the Modules that will be contained in them.
If you are creating a Course that contains Modules not included in sections, but also Modules that are included in Sections, the stand-alone Modules need to come before the Sections. Otherwise, the stand-alone Modules will be added to the last Section.
Adding Modules to Your Course
Modules can be added in two ways: creating a new Module directly in the Course curriculum, or selecting a Module that has already been created. Using Modules can give you some background on the different Module types and their uses.
To create a new Module, select the "Add Module" button, then select the type of module, choose a name for the new Module, then hit Enter.
- The example we used to create Sections continues in this image. The Sections are in the curriculum, and now the Admin is adding a Module:
- In this example, creating a video Module will require you to either upload a video or enter a URL link.
- Adding a cover image from the Media Library and a brief description will complete your new video Module settings.
Clicking "Update Module" will save your progress.
To select an existing Module, search the drop-down menu for your Module name, and select it.
Once the Module is added to the bottom of your Course list, you have the option of removing it from the Course or entering the Edit Module page to make changes to the Module content.
Click and drag the Modules to rearrange them in the order they should be presented in the Course. This includes placing the Module in the correct order with each Section if Sections are being used.
The image below shows what the example Course looks like when it has been assigned to a student. Modules have been created then dragged to their correct place within each Section. Red text has been added to show each Section and the Modules within each one. The Course view will default to show an expanded look at each Section and the Modules with the Sections.
Lock the Module
Locking a Module forces a student to complete it before being able to move on to the next Module in the Course. You can lock one or more of the Modules to create a path where the student cannot begin a Module until a previous Module or Modules have been completed. If your Course content builds on previous Modules, or if you use Quiz Modules to test knowledge of specific Modules throughout the Course, you may want to lock some or all of the Modules. The example below shows how the student sees locked Modules:
Under "Your Current Module:"
- "Your Current Module" will show the earliest module in the Course that has not been completed. In this example, the Current Module is Sample PDF 1.3
- The Current Module will be shown no matter if the Modules are locked or not
- In the example, Sample PDF 1.3 is the Current Module because the Sample PDF 1 Module has been completed, and Sample PDF Module 1.4 has not been started
- The Current Module can be In Progress, or Not Started, as long as all previous Modules have been completed
Under "All Modules:"
- Sample PDF 1 has been completed and can be launched again
- Sample PDF 1.3 ("Your Current Module") is in progress and can be launched to work on completion
- Sample PDF 1.4 is locked. This means that the student must complete the Sample PDF 1.3 Module to start on the Sample PDF 1.4
And this is how the same Modules in this example look when accessed from the Admin Dashboard, note that "Sample PDF 1" is not locked, but "Sample PDF 1.3" and "Sample PDF 1.4" are locked:
Set the Availability of the Module
The Admin can choose to set a date when the Module will be available to a Student. This gives the Admin control to make Modules available to students over time, to delay a Student from completing the Course too quickly.
- Immediately - the Module is available for the Student to start on right now
- On a Fixed Date - the Module will only be available after a certain calendar date. In the example below, you can see that the Admin chose to set the Course Availability to 20 May 2021. The student view (two images down) shows what it looks like when an attempt is made to launch the Module on 18 May, two days before the fixed date.
- At Fixed Intervals - the Module will only be available from a set length of time after the Student is either enrolled in the Course or starts the Course
Set the Minimum Time for the Module
Instructors can set the minimum amount of time a student must remain in the Module before being allowed to move on to the next Module. This can keep Students from advancing too quickly through the Module. In this example, the Minimum time has been set to 5 minutes for a Text Module.
If a student launches this Module and reaches the end before the Minimum Time has been reached, they will receive an error message just above the Course Timer as you can see below.
If the student returns to the Course page without meeting the time minimum, the Module will still show "In Progress" even though it is 100% complete. The student must return to the Module and spend the minimum amount of time required before the Module will show as complete.
Step 3: Grading & Certificates
Certificates of completion are an important tool for Students taking your Course. They authenticate their new skill set and lend credibility to obtained credentials. When you choose to add a certificate, you can:
- Have the certificate awarded upon completion of all Modules
- Adjust the grading settings to award the certificate based on the scores earned across an average of all individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM Modules, or
- Adjust the grading settings to award the certificate using an average of specific individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM Modules
With these three options, you can select the award method that best fits your need. If you choose the second option or the third option, you will adjust the required "Minimum Passing Percentage".
Select Your Certificate Template
If you have already created a certificate, you can attach it to your Course here.
If You Have Not Created a Certificate
You can not create a certificate while creating a Course. If you have not yet created a certificate template, you will need to create one before attaching it to the course. You can finish creating the Course, make sure to select the "Update Course" button to save all progress, then create the certificate and circle back to edit the Course and add the certificate at that point, keeping in mind you will need to select the "Update Course" button again when you are done. For information on creating a certificate, take a look at the Create a New Certificate help document.
Set a Grading Criteria
There are three options for choosing how your Course is graded:
- No Grading - the Course will not be graded, and the certificate will be awarded once all Modules have been completed
- Average of all Quiz/Assignment/Discussion/SCORM - the scores from the grading of all individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM Modules will be averaged together for a final Course grade. You do not need to have each of these Module types to use this option. If your Course only includes a Video Module, a Text Module, and two Quiz Modules, the grading criteria will be based on the average score of the two quizzes.
- Average of specific Quiz/Assignment/Discussion/SCORM - the scores from grading set in a select number of individual Modules chosen by the Instructor will be averaged together for a final Course grade. If you select this option, you can select the Module or Modules that will determine the grading criteria. For example, if you have a Course that contains a Video Module, a Text Module, a SCORM Module, a Discussion, and two Quiz Modules, you can select the two quizzes and the grading will be based on an average score of those two Quiz Modules.
Set a Minimum Passing Percentage
Set a minimum passing percentage for the final Course grade. Selected Module scores averaged together must meet or exceed the minimum percentage for the Student to pass the Course. Depending on the Modules in the Course, and how you select the Grading Criteria, this percentage can be based on a single Module or the average of multiple Modules.
The Student Experience
When a student selects "My Certificates" on their dashboard, they will have quick and easy access to the certificates they have earned. Certificates for each completed Course can be downloaded and saved or printed.
Step 4: Expiration Rules
When a student is enrolled in a Course, you can control how long they have access to the Course before that access is revoked.
Choose the Course Access Duration
There are four options for Student access duration:
- Unlimited - the Student will always be able to access the Course, and the content of the Modules inside
- Till Specific Date - on this date, the Student will no longer be able to access the Course. To be clear, when the date is reached, the course will not be available. For example, if "Til Specific Date" is selected, and 31 December 2021 is entered, the last day the course is available is 30 December 2021.
In this example, the image below is what the student sees when the Course is launched. The enrollment date of 18 May 2021 is 225 days before the expiration date of 31 December 2021.
- Till X day(s) after a student starts the course - set a time for the Student to complete the Course after they start it. You can adjust this window to any number of days you wish. In the example below, the number of days after starting the Course is set to 30.
This means that when the student initially launches the Course, it will show as "In Progress" due to launching, but will also show "Unlimited days" left to expire since no Modules of the Course have been launched yet.
Once the student selects one Module in the course, the days left to expiration will now show as 29, even if no Modules are completed.
- Until X day(s) after a student is registered in the course, set a time for the Student to complete the Course after they are enrolled. The functionality of this selection is similar to the "Til X day(s) after a student starts the course," but this selection tracks the days after registration in the course, not the days after starting the course.
Don't forget to frequently click on "Update Course" during the entire process!
If you get distracted or navigate to another section of the platform, changes may not be saved if you do not update before leaving a page you have made changes to.
Modules that have availability on fixed dates, or at fixed intervals, and all Course expiration options (except unlimited) use the time zone that is selected in the General Site Settings. This can affect students that are in a different time zone than the one selected by the Admin. Even though a student may be within the time restrictions in their location, they still may not have access due to being in a different time zone. This is true of all platform functionality related to time.
Adding Modules to Your Course
Updating or Editing a Course
The process for updating or editing a Course is very similar to creating a Course.
- Select "Courses" then "All Courses."
- Locate the Course you need to update or edit
- Use the Action menu on the right to select "Edit Course,"
- Or simply click on the ID number for that Course on the left. Either of these actions will open the "Edit Course" page.
Once you are on the "Edit Course" page, you will recognize the 4 steps that were taken when the course was created: Basic Info, Curriculum, Grading and Certification, and Expiration Rules.
Select the Tabs
Update or edit the Course by selecting the tab for the information you need to change, and edit the content as needed. If you need a refresher on each tab, select these links:
Once your update is complete, make sure you select "Update Course" at the top right.
If you make changes to a Course that has students enrolled who have started but have not completed the course, this may cause issues for the student. Depending on the types of updates that have been made, this is especially true in cases where the Modules are locked. If a new Module is added and it is located earlier in the Course, users will need to return and complete that new Module before continuing with the rest of the Course.
For example, let's say a student is in progress on a course. There are 6 locked Modules, and the student has completed the first 4. At this point, if you edit the Course to add a new locked Module that comes between the first and second Modules, the student will not be able to progress to the two final modules until they view the new module that has been inserted near the beginning of the course. If the student is in progress on a Module that comes after this new locked Module, they will need to complete the new Module before returning to complete the "In Progress" Module. Additionally, the student will need to complete this new earlier Module before returning to "Completed" modules later in the Course.
If the Modules in this scenario are not locked, the student will simply see a new Module showing "Not Started" earlier in the course, and progress can continue as the student chooses.
Now that you have created your Course, don't forget to change the status from "Draft" to "Publish" then select "Update Course."
There are several ways to use the Course in your account. The next article will teach you about managing your Courses: