Getting started

Course Creator is one of the default roles in Totara. As a Course Creator, you can create and manage courses, add content to courses, configure settings at the course level, and enrol learners. 

Let's take a look at the basics of being a Course Creator.

Note that the information in this guide may not apply if your role has been customised by a Site Administrator. Capabilities and permissions can be removed on a role-by-role basis, so if you are unable to complete tasks referenced in this guide it may be because your Site Administrator has changed the Course Creator role.

Additionally, your experience may vary depending on whether you have been assigned as a Course Creator at the system/site-wide level, or if you have been assigned as a Course Creator on specific courses.

Setting up categories and courses

As a Course Creator, you will probably want to create multiple courses on your site. These are organised into categories, which act as folders. These categories can also be used to filter content in the course catalogue. Once you have identified the appropriate category, you can start creating your courses.

A course is a page that contains all of the activities and resources for a particular set of training, including videos, SCORM packages, forums, quizzes, seminars, and more. You can change the course settings on a course-by-course basis. 

Now it's time to create your first course. When setting up each course you need to consider the following:

  • Which category does my course belong in?
  • Which course format should I use?
  • Does course completion need to be tracked?
  • Do I want to divide the course into sections?

You can configure important course settings and add a title and description when you create each course. You can also edit these settings after creating the course.

 Find out more about Courses and categories in the dedicated course on the Totara Academy. 

Adding content

Now that you've set up your course, you can start adding content. Remember, you can also divide your course into sections if you need to break it up or restrict access to specific parts of the course. Next, you can add activities (such as SCORM packages, surveys, lessons, wikis, and many more activity types) or resources (such as files, web links, or pages). You can configure each learning item to determine which activities are mandatory, and which are optional extras for motivated learners. As with course sections, you can also restrict access to specific activities and resources. In each section you can add text, either in description fields or using labels, to provide a structure and guide learners through the training.

Alternatively, you can import content from another course, or even an entire course if required. If you want to re-use existing content you can import it from an existing course, then manually add, remove, or edit content to tailor the new course to your requirements.

 Find out more about adding content to courses in the Courses and categories course on the Totara Academy.

Grading and completion

Naturally, most organisations use Learning Management Systems because they need to track their learners' progress and keep track of which training learners have completed. You can set up your course completion settings to track completion in a number of ways. In some instances you may want learners to mark the course as complete on their own, or you may require learners to complete all mandatory activities before the course is marked as complete. Additionally, you can import historical completion records into a course from a CSV file.

You should avoid editing your course's completion settings once any of your learners have completed one or more course activities. Additionally, the completion options are locked once any activities contributing to course completion have been completed by learners. It is possible to unlock completion settings without deleting your data.

 Find out more about Grading, completion and certificates in the dedicated course on the Totara Academy. 

Enrolling users

Once you have created a course, populated it with content, and set up your completion settings, you can enrol your users. You can set up each course with different enrolment methods enabled depending on your requirements. For an optional course that might be of interest to learners across the organisation, you may just want to enable self enrolment. For mandatory training that needs to be completed by a specific audience, you might want to enable audience sync, meaning learners are enrolled or unenrolled on the course if they are added or removed from the selected audience. Alternatively, for courses with more sensitive or specialised content you might only want to enable manual enrolments to ensure that only the right people have access. You can use any combination of enrolment methods for each course.

Note that you will only be able to use enrolment methods that have been enabled by a Site Administrator. For example, if the self enrolment plugin has not been enabled at the site level, you will not be able to select this enrolment method for any of your courses.


Maintaining your courses

As a Course Creator, your responsibilities are not limited to creating courses, as you will also need to maintain existing and ongoing courses. For example, you may want to create backups of your courses. If anything goes wrong with your course, you can then revert to an earlier version by restoring the course. However, you should always talk to your hosting provider before setting up any automatic backups to ensure that you have adequate storage.

If learners experience issues with one of your courses, you may need to see what the course looks like from their perspective. In this case, you can switch roles to view the course as a learner. This can help you to identify issues and improve the learner experience, as problems may not be immediately obvious when logged in as a Course Creator.

Additionally, you can use course reports to gain a better understanding of how your learners are using your course. Some activities, such as quizzes, include ready-made reports, but Totara also has a set of built-in reports that you can use. You may want to see how many learners have completed the course, see how much time learners are spending on activities, or even identify if learners are struggling with specific questions on a quiz. You can use this information to improve the experience for your learners. For example, if you noticed that all of your learners were getting a quiz question wrong, you may want to check the wording of the question to ensure that it isn't ambiguous or misleading.

 Find out more about Course reports in the dedicated course on the Totara Academy. 

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy includes a program specifically tailored to the needs of Course Creators, containing a range of courses focused on specific features and functionality. Through elearning tutorials, videos, interactive simulations and quizzes, you will develop all of the skills you need to create engaging courses in Totara. The program should take you approximately ten hours to complete if you complete all of the activities.

 Find all the information you need in the Course Creator program on the Totara Academy. 

Find out more

If you're looking for specific information about how to complete a task as a Course Creator, there are plenty of useful pages on Totara Help. Here is a selection of useful pages to get you started:


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