Creating and Updating a Course

Creating your course 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 both Admins and Instructors how to create a course, add sections and modules, as well as set grading criteria and access rules. 

Before getting started, be sure to review our overview of Courses: Introduction to Courses to understand the terminology and the ways to organize your modules in the curriculum. 

Note that if you're an Instructor, and not an Admin, it's possible you'll run into permissions errors. Permission levels are customizable by the admin of the account, so if you aren't seeing some of the options, reach out to them to connect. Not all instructors will be able to create or update courses. 

In this article

Creating a New Course

Now that you're familiar with the related terms, let's start building a course! 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. We'll look at each of these tabs in detail below.

Step 1: Basic Info

In this section, you'll enter the basic information required for the Course. The more complete this section is, the better the Course foundation. This translates to better organization for those on the Admin side, and more clarity for Students.

  1. The most direct way to create a new course is via the Admin or Instructor Dashboard, under the "Create New" area. Select "New Course"

    Admin view:
    Instructor view:
    1. Alternatively, you can create a new course by using the "Quick Add" menu. Select the "+" icon in the upper-right part of the screen and select "New Course".
    2. You may also create a new Course by clicking Courses on the Admin or Instructor Dashboard, then All Courses. Then select "Create Course"
  2. Once you're on the Course creation page, you can enter the Basic Info. First, enter the Course Name. This is the most important identifier, and will be displayed on the Course Catalog page, Products page, and many admin pages inside the 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.

    Save your course often to preserve your data. You are required to at least enter the course name before saving it, and then click Update Course as you add more information to avoid data loss. 
  3. Now, add the Course Instructions so students know exactly what to expect. Students will see the instructions displayed once they launch the Course, right before they launch into the Modules. Suggested information includes a quick description of the course, how many modules and what types to expect, the estimated time to complete, and any other details you'd like to include. 
  4. Add a Featured Image to your Course to help give students a custom visual reference to associate with the Course. Select "Browse Media" you will then see the Media Library, where you can upload the image. When a file has been uploaded successfully, it will be listed in the Media Library. Now you can select it to use in your course by clicking on "Choose / Select". You may also select a previously uploaded image for your Featured Image.

    Note that if you're an Instructor, clicking on "Browse Media" may redirect you to the permission error page as shown below. If this happens, reach out to your administrator and ask for the Media permissions. After your administrator grants you this permission, you'll be redirected to the Upload Media page by clicking on "Browse Media". 
    1. 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. 
    2. If you wish to remove the featured image after uploading it, you may delete it by clicking on the trashcan icon displayed at the top right corner above the featured image. If you delete it, the sample image will be displayed instead
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
  5. You may enter a Course Completion Redirect URL if you want students to be directed somewhere upon completion. If nothing is added, students will be redirected to their Student Dashboard after completing the course. 
  6. Choose Course Categories--these are helpful in quickly bundling courses, or if you're using Membership Plans. If you have already created Course Categories, you can apply them to your course here.
    If you haven't, 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 is created.
    1. For more information on using Categories, see the Course Categories help document.
  7. 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 a part of a larger curriculum. The number of credits can appear on the Course certificate if you choose.

Warning: 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 note that 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, add it to a Product, or assign it to a student.

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 various Sections and Modules or it could simply be a single Module.

Sections are 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. 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".

Note: 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 section under which they are defined.

  1. From the Basic Info page, select Step 2: Curriculum from the tabs across the top, or choose "Next Step".
  2. If you want to add a section (which will group modules) select Add Section. You will now see a blank Section. Click on "Blank Section" which is the default name, to change the name. Add however many sections you'll need for your course.
  3. Now that the sections have been added, we can add the Modules. 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. This Using Modules articles will give you some background on the different Module types and their applications.
  4. To create a new Module, select the "Add Module" button, and then select the type of module, a name for the new module, and hit Enter. 
    Note: Hitting Enter is required for the module to appear, so simply hit it after entering the name
    1. Your module will appear in the curriculum for that course. Set the "Minimum Time" and "Availability" settings if applicable. To add the content to your new Module, select the Edit tool.
    2. Add the content and click Update Module to save those changes. Learn more about creating Modules here
  5. To add a Module that has already been created, click "Add Module" and then opt to "Select an existing module from the list"
    1. Search the drop-down menu for your Module name by starting to type, and select it.
    2. Once the Module is added to the bottom of your course list, you have the option of entering the Edit Module page to make changes to its content or removing the module from the course.
  6. Click and drag the modules to rearrange them in the order they should be presented in the course. This involves placing the modules in a suitable order along with the sections if used.
  7. The image below shows how the example course looks like when it has been assigned to a student. Modules have been created and dragged to their correct places within each section. Texts have been added in red to show how sections and modules appear at the student's end. The course view shows an expanded view of all the sections and the modules within them by default.
  8. 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 modules to create a path where the student cannot begin a module until a previous Module or Modules have been completed. For example, if your course content builds on previous modules or uses Quiz modules to test the knowledge of specific modules throughout the course, you may desire to lock some or all of the modules.
  9. Setting the availability of the module allows you set a date when the module will be available to a student.  This gives an Admin or Instructor the control to make modules available to students over time or to restrict a student from completing the course too quickly. The options are:
    1. Immediately - The module will be available for the student to start on right after saving/updating the course.
    2. On a Fixed Date - The module will only be available after a certain calendar date. 
  10. You can also set a minimum amount time spent in the module that the student must abide by in the Module before being allowed to move on to the next module. This can keep students from advancing too quickly through the modules. 
    1. Note: If the student returns to the launch course page without adhering to the time minimum, the module will still show "In Progress" status even though it is 100% complete. The student must return to the module and spend the minimum amount of time required to complete it.
  11. Save your course changes by clicking Update Course in the upper right corner. 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.

Step 3: Grading & Certificates

Certificates of completion are an important tool for any student taking your course. They authenticate student's new skillset and confer credibility to obtained credentials. We have a few grading criteria you can choose from, and you can add your own certificates.  

To set up the grading and certificates:

  1. From the Course Curriculum page, select Step 3: Grading & Certificates from the tabs across the top, or choose "Next Step"
  2. Select what grading criteria you want the certificate awarded based on:
    1. Have the certificate awarded upon completion of all the modules. The Course will not be graded, but the certificate will be awarded once all the modules have been completed.
    2. Set the grading settings to award the certificate based on the scores earned across an average of all individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM Modules. The scores from the grading of all individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM modules included in the course will be averaged together for a final course grade. You don't 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 these two quizzes.
    3. Set the grading settings to award the certificate using an average of specific individual Quiz, Assignment, Discussion, and SCORM Modules. The scores from grading set in the selected 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 these two Quiz modules.
  3. You'll be required to set the required "Minimum Passing Percentage" if you chose the second or third option on the grading criteria dropdown
  4. Then, select your Certificate Template
    1. If you have already created a certificate, you can attach it to your course here.
    2. If you have not created a certificate, you cannot create a certificate while creating a Course and 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, create the certificate, and circle back to edit the Course and add the certificate, 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.
    3. You may also select an Accredible Group if you're using that integration.
  5. Save your course changes by clicking Update Course in the upper right corner. 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.

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. To set up the expiration rules:

  1. From the Certificates of the course creation page, select Step 4: Expiration Rules from the tabs across the top, or choose "Next Step"
  2. Choose the Course Access Duration. There are four options:
    1. Unlimited - The student will always be able to access the course and the content of the modules inside.
    2. Till Specific Date - The student will be able to access the course till the date specified in this field. For example, if "Till Specific Date" is selected for 31 March 2022, the last day the course is available is 31 March 2022 and, when the date, 01-Apr-2022 is reached, the course will not be available.
    3. Till X day(s) after a student starts the course - You can 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. Once a module is launched, its status will change to "In Progress", and launching the course the next day(21st Jul 2021 in this case) will show you the number of days left for course expiration to be a day less.
    4. Until X day(s) after a student registers in the course - You can set a time for the student to complete the course after they are enrolled in it. The functionality of this selection is similar to the "Till 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.
  3. Save your course changes by clicking Update Course in the upper right corner. 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. Also remember switch the status from "Draft" to "Publish".

Note: 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 for all the platform functionalities related to time.

Updating or Editing a Course

The process for updating or editing a course is very similar to creating a course:

  1. Select "Courses" from the sidebar on the left and then "All Courses".
  2. Locate the course you need to update or edit.
  3. Use the "Actions" menu on the right to select the "Edit" option.
  4. Or simply click on the course name or the "Edit" option appearing on the left for that course. Either of these actions will open the "Edit Course" page.
  5. 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 & Certification, and Expiration Rules. 
  6. From here, you'll use the same steps you did when creating a course to update or edit the Course. Select 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:
    1. Step 1: Basic Info
    2. Step 2: Curriculum
    3. Step 3: Grading & Certificates
    4. Step 4: Expiration Rules
  7. Once your update is complete, make sure you select "Update Course" at the top right to save your progress.

Warning: If you make changes to a Course that has students enrolled who have started but haven't completed the course, this may cause issues for the students. 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 four. 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 final two modules until the new module is viewed 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, the student will be required to complete the new Module before returning to complete the "In Progress" Module. Additionally, the student will need to complete this new 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.

Next Steps

There are several ways to use the courses in your account. The next article will teach you about managing your courses: