“Availability” refers who can access the the course and its content.

To view and edit availability, go to Publish > Availability.

The availability page has three sections:

Course Availability

The options for course availability can be divided into

  • Private - courses under development/not yet released
  • non-Private - courses ready for students

Private courses

A private course is available only to admins.

Private is the default setting. Every new course is set to Private so that you can develop the course and its content out of the public eye.

When the content is ready for others, you change the course’s availability to one of the non-Private settings.

Non-Private courses

The three non-Private settings for course availability are based on whether student registration is offered for the course.

Registration enables many features for students and for course authors. Learn more about the benefits of registration.

For courses that offer registration, you can also limit who can register by supplying a list of email addresses. Only someone signed into an email account on the course’s “whitelist” will be able to register for the course.


A public course is an open website, and registration is not offered.

Use this setting if you want your course to be available to anyone and if you do not intend to do any course management or keep track of students.

Registration Required

This setting offers the most control over who can see course content, how students experience the course, and what data you can collect.

Registration Optional

Use this setting to allow the course to work as a managed course and as an open website.

Registering offers students the benefits of participating in a managed course, but the course content is still available to non-registered visitors as an open website.

Content Availability

Every element also has an availability setting, called its content availability. The content availability settings are:

By default, the availability of an element matches the availability of the course. But you can override the default and set an element’s availability to Private or Public.

There is one exception: if a course’s availability is Private, then content availability cannot override course availability.

See examples of using the content availability of an element to override course availability or the content availability of the element’s parent.


The element’s content availability matches the course availability setting. This is the default for all elements and has the following effects:

  • When course availability is Private, elements are only available to admins.
  • When course availability is Registration Required, elements are available to registered students but not the general public.
  • When course availability is set to Public or Registration Optional, elements are available to everyone.


The element cannot be browsed by anyone (other than admins) regardless of course availability.

By default, the title of an element whose content availability is Private is not shown in the syllabus. You can change this by turning on the element’s Shown When Private setting.

See an example of using Private content availability.


The element can be browsed by anyone. Note that changing an element’s content availability to Public only has a practical effect on Registration Required courses:

If the course’s availability is Private, then the element’s availability cannot override course availability, so changing to Public has no effect.

If the course’s availability is Public or Registration Optional, then all elements are already available to the public with default Course availability.

See examples of using Public content availability.

Shown When Private

In addition to setting an element’s content availability, you can choose to display an element’s title in the syllabus even when that element is Private.

Turn on this setting to let people know that an element is coming soon or for units that contain Public elements.

For lesson titles to be shown, you must also turn on Show Lessons in Syllabus in Settings > Unit & lesson settings. Otherwise, lesson titles are not included in the syllabus regardless of their content availability.

Content Availability Examples

Here are two examples of using content availability to hide or reveal elements in a course.

Keep in mind that these examples only apply to a course whose course availability has been set to something other than Private.

A sample lesson or unit for unregistered visitors

Suppose you have a Registration Required course but want to make the first lesson or even a complete unit available as a sample to help unregistered visitors decide whether to register for the course. Here’s what you would do:

  1. Mark the course availability as Registration Required.

  2. Leave the content availability of most of the elements as Course (which in this case means “only available to registered students”).

  3. Set the content availability for the sample element(s) to Public.

Unregistered users navigating to the course homepage would see the syllabus with public elements linked and the rest of the elements unavailable without registration.

A unit still under development

Suppose that a new course is ready for students except for a certain unit that comes late in the course. Here’s what you would do:

  1. Set the content availability of the unit that is still being worked on to Private.

  2. Change the course availability to something other than Private. The course will now be accessible to students - except for the unit still under development.

  3. Let students know about this “coming soon” unit by turning on the unit’s Shown When Private setting. (Or leave the setting off and keep the title of the unfinished unit off the syllabus.)

  4. When the unit is finished and ready for students, change its content availability from Private to Course.

A public lesson in a private unit

Suppose that you have finished creating a lesson in a private unit and want that lesson to be accessible online before the rest of the unit is ready. Here’s what you would do:

  1. Set the content availability for the lesson to Public.

  2. Ensure that Shown When Private for the unit that contains the public lesson is checked.

  3. Turn on Show Lessons in Syllabus in Settings > Unit & lesson settings.

The syllabus will show

  • the title of the unit but not its content (because the unit’s content availability is Private and its Shown When Private setting is turned on)

  • a clickable title of the lesson that reveals its contents (because the lesson’s content availability is Public and Show Lessons in Syllabus is turned on)

Students Allowed to Register

This setting allows you to specify a list of email addresses and limit registration to people signed into those accounts.

(If the field is blank, then registration is open to anyone.)

In the text box, enter email addresses of the students to be allowed to register. Separate addresses with commas, spaces, or line breaks.

Note that if a course is set to Registration Required and you add email addresses to this list, then your course is set to an even higher level of privacy: a person signed into an account not on the list will not be able to access the course homepage at all.