3 important things to know about new Open edX courses

When you first create a course in Open edX, there are a few important things you'll have to be aware of. These are some default configurations that you might miss if you're going full steam ahead on creating content. 

1. The Course About Page (AKA Summary Page) is full of placeholder text

When you first create a course, the About Page will have placeholder text and no course image, see what this looks like below. 

If you're focused on creating content in the course outline, you might miss that this part of the course needs some attention too. In some use cases, learners never see the course About page, so this is not a concern. However, if you're courses are being displayed in the course catalog and learners are browsing the different courses, you're going to want to make sure there is content here that reflects what the courses is all about.

Check out this article to see how to change the content on the Course About page.  

2. The default course start date is for the year 2030

This is likely a failsafe to preven course authors from prematurely publishing courses. However, if you're not aware of it, it can be confusing as to why students can't access your course even after they've enrolled. 

To change the start date, navigate to Schedule & Details in Open edX Studio. 

3. New course don't have any Xblocks enabled OR files uploaded

Every new course in Open edX is like an identical blank slate. This means that even if you have an XBlock that you use in all of your courses or if you have certain image files you use over and over again, you will still have to re-enable or re-install these to use in your new course. 

To make working quicker, try creating a template course

One trick we recommend to many course authors is to create a single course that has all the XBlocks enabled, and contains all the common files uploaded (files that aren't courses specific, that you know you'll use in multiple courses) to Files & Uploads. Then, when creating a new course, simply export the template course (or have it already exported in some shared file system), create the new course, then import the template course in its place. The new course will still maintain the course id information, and you can change the course display name in Advanced Settings. However, it will now have all the XBlocks enable and files uploaded, so you save yourself a lot of tedious work!