Courses contain the activities and resources that learners will access to complete their training. A course is a single page broken into sections by topics or weeks with links to the activities and resources that the learner will access.
(This video is taken from the Courses and categories course in the Totara Academy, where you can access more resources and learning materials - including other videos).
Site administrators, site managers, and course creators can create new courses as follows:
Go to Site administration > Courses > Manage courses and categories.
Choose the category you want you course to sit in (this can be changed later).
Click the Create new course link.
Complete the Course settings as described below.
Click Save Changes.
Your course is now set up.
If you are given permission to set courses up at a category level, your steps differ slightly. You can:
Click on Find Learning > Courses in the main menu.
Click the Create course button.
Complete the Course settings as described below.
Click Save and display.
Your course is now set up.
Totara provides you with a number of options for the general format of your course. You can choose to order your course chronologically by week, conceptually by topic, or socially with a big forum as the central organising principle.
The course formats options are:
You can find more information about each format below.
The course will include one activity only without any sections. Choose the type of activity that you want to appear when the course is selected. This format is suitable for courses that have just one activity.
When using the single activity course format a number of SCORM activity options (for example the Learner skip content structure page setting) will not be available.
The social format is based on a single forum for the whole course, It’s useful for less formal courses or for non-training uses such as maintaining departmental sites.
When you create a course using the topics format, you start by choosing the number of topics you will cover. Totara creates a section for each topic. You can add content, forums, quizzes, and other activities to each topic section. If your course design is concept-oriented, and learners will be working through a range of concepts but not necessarily according to a fixed schedule, this is a good choice.
With this format, you specify a course start date and the number of weeks the course is to run. Totara will create a section for each week of your course, The current week is highlighted. You can add content, forums, quizzes, and so on in the section for each week. If you want all your learners to work on the same materials at the same time, this is a good format to choose.
To set the course format:
Click Edit settings in the Course Administration menu.
|Totara allows you to switch between formats if you find that a given format isn’t working for you. Simply follow the preceding instructions and select a different format. You can also add or remove topics or weeks at any time. So you don’t have to worry too much about locking yourself into a format before you really understand the system.|
Course sections are displayed in the centre of the course page.
If Conditional activities are enabled for the site, access to the section (including all activities and resources within it) may be restricted for learners.
The number of course sections in the centre column may be changed in the Administration block under Course administration > Edit settings or by clicking the plus or minus icons at the bottom of the course page when editing is turned on.
|The ability to move course sections is controlled by the capability course:movesections, which is allowed for the default role of Trainer.|
With the editing turned on, click Edit then Delete topic next to the course section you wish to delete. You will be prompted to confirm your wish to delete the section and its contents.
|All activities inside the section and their user data will also be deleted. This operation cannot be reversed.|
An administration setting Always link course sections can be enabled from Site administration > Appearance > Navigation so that when a course section name is clicked in the navigation block or the central content area, it will go directly to that section.
Course page settings control how a course behaves in terms of, for example, enrolments, availability, file upload restrictions, course name. It is the first page viewed after creating a course.
Course page settings can be edited through the Edit settings option on the Course administration menu or directly from the course categories page by clicking on the editing icon next to the course name.
|Course full name|
This is the name that is displayed on the top header of every page in your course and also in the course listings page. The name should be descriptive enough so learners can easily identify the course in which they are working, but it shouldn’t be too long. For example, use Safety101: Fire evacuations and not Safety101: Fire evacuations, procedures and processes for employees.
|Course short name|
Enter the short name for your course. The short name also appears in the navigation bar at the top of the page.
Your Site Administrator may have set up several course categories. For example; 'IT', 'Managing People', 'Health and Safety', etc.
Select from; e-learning, blended, or seminar. This is used to help searching in the course catalog but does not control what activities are available in the course page.
|Course start date:|
This setting determines the start of the first week for a course in weekly format. It also determines the earliest date that logs of course activities are available for. If the course is reset and the course start date changed, all dates in the course will be moved in relation to the new start date.
|Course ID number||The course ID number is used to provide a link between Totara and your organisation's backend data systems. Most HR or training management systems have a unique identifier for each course. Totara has its own unique identifier, which will be different from the external/ HR system. This field is used by Totara to store the external system's unique ID so Totara will know which course the external system is talking about when synchronising courses and enrolments.||-|
The summary appears in the course listings page. A good one-paragraph summary will help communicate the essence of your course to your learners.
|Course summary files|
Course summary files, such as images, are displayed in the list of courses together with the summary in the standard catalog.
Standard layout of the course page.
|Number of sections|
Use this to set the number of sections your course will have. If you need to change this later, you can. Increasing the number results in sections being added to the bottom of your course page; reducing the number results in sections being removed from the bottom of your course page, and any content in them hidden.
When you hide an upcoming topic section to prevent your learners from jumping ahead, you can choose to display the title as a collapsed section or simply hide the topic altogether. Displaying the collapsed sections gives your learners a road map of the upcoming topics or weeks, so it’s probably a good idea to leave this on the default setting.
Determines whether the whole course is displayed on one page or split over several pages.
|Show activity reports|
This setting allows learners to view their activity history in your course. This is useful if you want learners to reflect on their level of participation.
Select the language for the course.
This ignores user language preferences.
|News items to show|
Use this setting to determine the number of course news items displayed on the course page.
|Show gradebook to students|
This setting allows you to select whether learners can see the gradebook. If set to No, it doesn’t stop instructors from recording grades, but simply prevents the learners from seeing them.
|Show activity reports|
Activity reports are available for each participant that show their activity in the course. As well as listings of their contributions, such as forum posts or assignment submissions, these reports also include access logs. This setting determines whether a learner can view their own activity reports via their profile page.
|Maximum upload size|
This setting limits the size of files you or your learners upload to the course. Your system administrator sets the maximum size for the system, but you can choose to make the limit smaller than the system maximum. You can also further limit the size of files that your learners upload as assignment submissions and for other activities.
|Enable completion tracking|
If enabled, activity completion conditions may be set in the activity settings and/or course completion conditions may be set.
|Completion tracking begins on enrolment|
As soon as user is enrolled a course completion record for the user is created.
|Mark as in Progress on first view|
The course completion record for the user marked as in progress when the user views the course rather than when the first course completion criteria is met.
Select the icon that will be displayed with the course.
Select the audience that will be enrolled in the course.
|Audience based visibility|
Select who is able to see the course. If Visible to enrolled users and members of the selected audiences is selected then it will be visible to all members of the assigned audiences. Users that are enrolled will be able to see it, not matter what visibility setting is selected.
Select the group settings for the course. Note that you can allow for group settings to be overridden at the activity level.
Change the role name that is displayed.
Role permissions for the role remain the same.
|Custom fields||Lists any custom course fields that have been created.||-|
View courses tags and create your own tags.
|Course type||Select the type of course from the dropdown menu.||-|
|Course icon||Choose an icon to represent your course from the dropdown menu.||-|
To add a new custom course icon as a Site Administrator follow these steps:
Select Save changes.
|Graphic files will be resized to 35 X 35 pixels automatically.|
The default role is assigned to everyone who enrols in your course, unless they are specifically granted another role.
Totara has a number of methods of managing course enrolments, called enrolment plugins. This setting allows you to choose an interactive enrolment plug-in, such as internal enrolment or PayPal. Your system may well use a non interactive enrolment plug-in, in which case this setting has no effect. We recommend you leave this setting as default and leave the choice of enrolment plug-ins to your system administrator. See Enrolment plugins to learn more.
This setting determines whether a user can self-enrol in your course. You can also limit enrolments to a certain date range.
|Enrolment duration||This setting specifies the number of days a learner is enroled in the course, starting from the day she enrols. If set, learners are automatically unenroled after the specified time has elapsed. This setting is useful for rolling courses without a specific start or end date.|
Enrolment expiry notification
If an enrolment duration has been specified, then this setting determines whether trainers receive email notification when a learner is about to be unenroled from the course.
|Notify students||If an enrolment duration has been specified, then this setting determines whether learners receive email notification when they are about to be unenroled from the course.||-|
|Enrolment expiry notification threshold||If an enrolment duration has been specified, then this setting determines the number of days notice given before learners are unenroled from the course.||-|
Use this setting to control learner access to your course. You can make a course available or unavailable to learners without affecting your own access. This is a good way to hide courses that aren’t ready for public consumption or hide them at the end of the semester while you calculate your final grades.
A course enrolment key is a code each learner must enter in order to self- enrol in a course. The key prevents learners who aren’t in your class from accessing your Totara course. Create the key here and give it to your learners when you want them to enrol in your Totara course. They will need to use the key only once when they enrol.
You can choose to allow guests to access your course, either with an enrolment key or without it. Guests can only view your course and course materials they can’t post to the forums, take quizzes, or submit assignments.
If you are using an interactive enrolment method such as PayPal, you can enter a course cost. learners will then be required to make a payment before enrolling in the course.
Please see Tags for more information.
The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Courses and categories in Totara Learn.
The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Plugins and Advanced Features in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use plugins and advanced features, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.