How to build content and publish as you go

How you can create your course on the fly and republish the course when you've finished building modules.

Caitlin Foran avatar
Written by Caitlin Foran
Updated over a week ago

In iQualify, you can publish and republish as many times as you like and your updates will flow out to any class activations of that course. This is great because it means you can quickly fix any errors and get those updates out to learners. But, it also opens up the possibility to create your course on the fly, publishing content as you finish it - and just before the learners need it.

Again, this can be a really useful thing. But, we want to think about how this could impact the learners' experience.

  • How will learners be able to plan ahead?

  • How will their progress change when you add more content?

We suggest the best way (in terms of the experience for learners) is to:

  1. Create your content sections (just titles).

  2. Have a separate section for assessed tasks.

  3. Create placeholder assessed tasks.

  4. Set (later) opening dates for sections that are incomplete.

  5. Republish and open content sections as you complete them.

This is how learners would see this in the course.

Image showing the content section of the course for learner

For more detail on the specifics about the learner experience, check out how learners are affected when content is republished.

The rest of this article describes the suggested approach in more detail, including explanations of why we recommend the approach where appropriate.

1. Create all your content sections

In your course, create all your sections - just the titles, you don't need to worry about the content of the pages. This gives learners an indication of the size of the course.

Image showing the content section of the course

2. Create a section and pages for your assessed tasks

We also want learners to be able to clearly see the assessments for the course. Generally we advise putting assessed tasks with the related section/content. But in this case, because you’ll be hiding incomplete sections, putting them in their own section means learners can still see how they will be assessed for the course (something that is typically very important for learners to know upfront). So this approach means no nasty surprises for them as they progress through the course (and you publish more content and open sections).

Image showing the content section of the course

3. Create all assessed tasks

For each assessment, go to that page and create your task.

As mentioned above, having the assessed tasks all created means that learners can see the entirety of the assessments for the course. And taking the time to actually create the tasks means that learners can see them all in their assessed tasks list.

Image showing the task list of the course for learner

But what if you don't have your tasks completely mapped out yet? Check out our advice below for creating placeholder tasks.

Placeholder tasks

If you haven't completely finalised your assessed tasks, that's okay. If you can, put in a task that is of the same type that you will want to use - i.e. if you know the assessment will get learners to upload a file, add in that task type. That way, learners still get to see it in their assessed tasks list. So, they may not know exactly what the assessment will be, but they at least know to expect it.

Examle placeholder task which says the details and question for the task will be added later.

4. Set (later) opening dates for incomplete sections

First, publish the course so you can create a class activation.

When you create the class activation, you can set later opening dates for the unfinished sections. See How to set the dates of a course activation for more detailed instructions.


Image showing the content set for later opening date than the other content

Learners will see just the titles (and open date) for not-yet-open sections in their course, but won’t be able to access them.

Image showing the content section of the course for learner with section set to open on a later date

5. Publish and republish

As you finish building sections, republish.

Image showing the Publish button in CREATE

Then, edit the dates for that section in the class activation to make sure they're open for learners then Update. See How to update an activation for more detailed instructions.

Learners will now be able to see the content within that section. And, their progress will also automatically recalculate.

Updating placeholder assessed tasks

Edit your placeholder tasks to open them. Then add a variation to this task (see image below). This variation will be your final assessed task.

Image showing new the placeholder task is updated by adding a new variation and deleting the existing task

Then delete the old variation and choose to replace for all learners.

Once published, all learners will see the new variation.

Note: This option will remove any existing submissions on the old task variation. So, if you think some learners may have already submitted work, be sure to warn them.

Check out Republishing variations for the specifics.

Summary

When your course isn’t completely finalised, but you need to start using it with learners - map out the sections and assessments, set later opening dates for the sections that aren’t finished and publish and open sections as you go. This should lead to the smoothest experience for learners as they can see roughly how big the course is and how they’ll be assessed even if they can’t see all the exact detail.

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