“Availability” refers who can access a course and its content. To view and edit availability, go to Publish > Availability. The Availability page has a number of settings:
Course Availability - Control access and registration options for a course.
Course Start/End Dates - Control when a course starts or ends.
Content Availability - Control access to individual elements in a course.
Students Allowed to Access - Restrict course access to certain student accounts.
Members - View and edit a list of student accounts in the selected student group. This setting appears instead of Students Allowed to Access setting when you are setting availability for a specific student group.
Calendar Triggers to Set Course Content Availability at Date/Time - Set a trigger to change the availability of an element at a specified date and time.
These settings are described in more detail below. The descriptions are followed by some example scenarios for using the different settings.
Set Availability For
By default, the availability settings on this page apply to everyone who can access the course. But you can also divide students taking the course into student groups and make different parts of the course available to different sets of students.
Once you have created a student group (Settings > Student Groups), you can select it in the Set Availability For drop-down menu at the top of the Availability page. When you are setting the availability for a group name instead of the Course default, the dashboard page will update to present fields where you can override all of the course and content availability settings for the student group that you selected.
The course availability setting determines
- who can access the course
- whether student registration is available, required, or not offered
The options for course availability can be divided into
- Private - for courses under development/not yet released
- non-Private - for courses ready for students
Private is the default setting, and a private course is available only to admins. Every new course is set to Private so that you can develop the course and its content out of the public eye.
When the course is ready for students, you change the course’s availability to one of the non-Private settings.
The three non-Private settings for course availability are based on whether student registration is available, required, or not offered.
Registration enables many features for students and for course authors. Learn more about the benefits of registration.
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.
This setting offers the most control over who can see course content, how students experience the course, and what data you can collect.
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.
Course Start/End Dates
You can set dates on which your course starts and ends. These dates and the course length calculated from them are shown on the Course Explorer page.
When a course has start and end dates, you typically want the course availability to change before, during, and after the course is offered.
For example, consider the following plan for a course:
- Before the start date, you want your course to be displayed in the Course Explorer and allow students to see the syllabus and even register – but not access any content.
- On the start date, you want registered students to have access to the content.
- On the end date, you want to open up the content for everyone.
Here’s what you would do:
Set the course availability to Registration Required.
Set all of the content availability to Private.
Set the start and end dates for your course.
On the start date, change the availability of each content item to Course.
On the end date, change the course availability to Public.
You can make the last two changes manually on the appropriate dates or schedule them using calendar triggers.
Every element within a course also has an availability setting, called its content availability. The content availability settings are:
You can also schedule changes to the content availability of an element to occur on a specific date and time.
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.
The element can be browsed by anyone.
The element’s content availability matches the course availability setting, which has the following effects:
- When course availability is Private, the element is only available to admins.
- When course availability is Registration Required, the element is available to registered students but not to the general public.
- When course availability is set to Public or Registration Optional, the element is available to everyone.
Defaults for content availability
The defaults for content availability depend on whether the course’s availability is Private or not.
Elements in a private course default to Course
When you are developing a course and its elements, you typically keep the course availability Private (the default for a new course). When the course is ready, you change the availability to release the course to students.
To prepare for the eventual release of the course , the default content availability of an element added to a private course is Course so that the element can be released along with the course with no additional effort.
To prevent an element from being released with the rest of the course, you can change its content availability from the default to Private.
Note that if the course availability is Private, the content availability of an element cannot be changed to Public.
Elements in a non-private course default to Private
When you create an element in a course that has already been released, you typically do not want that element’s content available immediately. Instead, you want a little time to work on it.
To prevent a newly-created element from appearing to students before it is finished, the default content availability for an element added to a non-private course is Private.
When the element is ready for students, you can override the default and set the element’s availability to Course or Public.
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 to offer access to an element within a Private unit.
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.
Students Allowed to Access
This setting allows you to restrict access to your course to specific email accounts.
In the text box, enter the email addresses of the students whom you want to have access the course. Separate addresses with commas, spaces, or line breaks.
Note that creating a “whitelist” for your course overrides its course availablity setting with regard to who can access the course. Even if the course’s availability is Public, if you have entered email addresses into this field, only people signed into those accounts will be able to see the course. The course availability setting is still used to determine whether registration is available, required, or not offered.
Members (for student group availability only)
This setting only appears when you have selected a student group in the Set Availability For setting. It is a text box with an editable list of email addresses of the students in the group.
To add students to the selected group, enter their email addresses in the text box. Separate addresses with commas, spaces, or line breaks.
Calendar Triggers to Set Course Content Availability at Date/Time
This setting lets you change the content availability of an element on a certain date and time so that you can schedule the release of a course element in advance.
To schedule a change, click the Add date/time availability change button. Select the element that you want updated and the new value for its content availability. Finally, specify the date and time when you want the availability change to occur.
You can add as many of these changes as you like, and you can add them to the course in general or only to a specific student group.
Here are example scenarios for using availability settings to hide or reveal elements in a course:
- a unit under development
- a sample lesson or unit for unregistered visitors
- a public lesson in a private unit
- a unit only available to a certain student group
- a unit that stays private until a certain date
- a rolling release of units to student groups starting on different days
A unit under development
Suppose that a new course is ready for students except for a certain unit that you are still working on. Here’s what you would do:
Change the content availability of the unit still being worked on as Private.
Change the course availability to something other than Private. The course will now be accessible to students - except for the unit still under development.
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 until it is ready.)
When the unit is ready for students, change its content availability from Private to Course.
A sample lesson or unit for unregistered visitors
Suppose that you have a Registration Required course but want to make a particular lesson or unit available to everyone to help people decide whether to take the course. Here’s what you would do:
Mark the content availability of most of the elements as Course (which in this case means “only available to registered students”).
Set the content availability for the sample element(s) to Public.
If the sample content is a lesson, turn on Show Lessons in Syllabus in Settings > Unit & lesson settings so that the title of the public lesson will be visible in the syllabus.
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 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:
Set the content availability for the lesson to Public.
Ensure that Shown When Private for the unit that contains the public lesson is checked.
Turn on Show Lessons in Syllabus in Settings > Unit & lesson settings.
In the syllabus, students will be able to:
See 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).
Click the title of the lesson and see its contents (because the lesson’s content availability is Public and Show Lessons in Syllabus is turned on).
A unit available only to a certain student group
Suppose that you have created a new unit in a course that is already available to students. The unit contains advanced content, and you want only certain students to be able to access it. Here’s what you would do:
Go to Settings > Student Groups and add a student group for advanced students.
Go to Publish > Availability. In the Set Availability For setting, select the new group.
Under Content Availability, change the availability of the advanced unit to something other than Private.
In Members, add the email addresses of the students who you want in this student group.
For students not in the advanced group, the unit remains private and inaccessible.
A unit that stays private until a certain date
Suppose that you have finished creating a course and are ready to make it available to students. However, one of the lessons has sensitive information that should not be visible until a certain date. Here’s what you would do:
Under Content Availability, change the availability of the sensitive lesson from Course to Private.
Scroll down to the Change Course Content Availability at Date/Time setting and click the Add date/time availability change button. In the drop-down menus that appear, select the sensitive lesson, the new availability setting for the lesson, and the date on which the availability should change.
A rolling release of units to student groups starting on different days
Suppose that you have several groups of students taking a multi-week course starting on different weeks. You do not want the future weeks’ course material available ahead of time. For each group, you could set content availability so that the content becomes available only at the appropriate time. Here’s what you would do:
Go to Settings > Student Groups and add the student groups.
Go to Publish > Availability and select one of the groups in the Set Availability For setting.
Under Change Course Content Availability at Date/Time, click the Add date/time availability change button. Set the availability of the first week’s content to change to something other than Private on the first day of the first week.
Add a date/time availability change for each element that you want to roll out on a future date.
In Members, add the email addresses of the students who belong in this group.
Save your changes and repeat steps 2-5 for the remaining groups.