Any plugin that helps WordPress users provide online courses is, of course, near and dear to my heart. And there are quite a few popping up in the online learning industry.
Although I don’t use WP Courseware here on my site, I must admit that as I started to dive into it for this post, well, I found it pretty darn sweet. With robust course and lesson features, it gives you control, with nice options for quizzes, surveys, custom emails and drip content, to name just a few. So let’s take a look at what it can do for you.
The settings are straightforward. The Drip Content notifications are for how often the system checks the queue for when the next scheduled drip goes out. The actual setting up of Drip Content must be activated within the units, which I will be talking about later in this post.
Adding a Course
There are several different options here. What makes it nice is that these are course-specific, rather than a global setting for all courses.
General Course Details
Besides the course title and description, you have the option to show all units—whether completed during the course or not— or just the ones that have been completed.
Depending on your site, you can easily control user access. You just need to remember that this is all users, so if you are having other users subscribe via WordPress, such as blog subscriptions, you will want to manually add users.
As with most course plugins, you can customize a whole slew of user messages. Again, since these are course-specific, it adds even more control over what both users and non-users will see.
Email Address Details
The option to add the email address for each specific course could be helpful if you have several instructors and want each to be able to handle the admin of each course.
As you can see in the next screenshot, you can set up customized email notifications for units, modules, courses and quiz grades.
Email Notification – Final Summary
I really like the summary because it includes a great birds-eye view of what was accomplished in the course, including grade and quiz results. Nice touch!
Email Template Tags
On the side of all email notifications is a convenient list of tags to help you further customize the email, or if you need to understand what existing tags do. It saves you the time of having to go to another source for your tags.
Here you can choose to generate certificates for course completion or not. I will be going over the actual certificate setup later.
Course Access Tools
There are a couple of tools that would come in handy here as gar as bulk resets and access. Both being huge time savers.
Adding a Module
WP Courseware uses courses, modules and course units. Course units are another term for lessons and a module is a grouping of those lessons. It’s a nice way to organize your course content.
Adding a module is as easy as adding a course, but with the addition of connecting it to the appropriate course.
Creating and Adding a Course Unit
Adding a new course unit or lesson is similar to adding a post or page in WordPress, with the same editor window and options. In fact, if you add additional plugins such as galleries, etc., that allow you to insert via a post or page, you will be able to do that in your course units as well. And lastly, editing your current units is just as easy.
Once we have created the unit, now we can go to our course listings and add it to a module.
Here we have our unassigned unit Passwords.
All we have to do it drag and drop the unit into the appropriate module.
And as we do more units and add them to the module, we can easily drag and drop the order of them here as well.
Surveys and Quizzes
WP Courseware offers a lot of control in creating surveys and quizzes and I will admit I was pretty impressed. Although I cannot go into all the details in this review, by looking at your option you can see how robust this feature is.
It’s pretty obvious why you would have quizzes, but the added option to survey students is useful because you can get feedback directly on specific courses, which helps you improve existing and future courses.
For example, when adding a quiz or survey, you will find the settings together. In this case, we are looking at a survey.
The differences between Quiz Mode Blocking and Non-blocking is worth checking out.
Once you have saved it, you can move onto the Quiz Behavior settings.
You will notice that once you saved, you now have some tools on the right to build your quiz or survey. Before I show you an example of one of those, you will see the options to either show survey responses or not and also to Paginate Questions. You can see what these two options give you and if you choose Use Page, there are a few more settings as well.
Going back to the Question Tools on the right, if we click on Multiple Choice, we find a nice interface to easily create our questions using this format.
There are several other tools that help you build it as well. The ability to reuse questions on various quizzes is only one of the cool options this plugin gives you.
Once you have created you quizzes or surveys, you can easily add them to your units via the drag and drop I showed you before.
Users and Adding Them
Depending on the course settings I showed you before, you can add new users automatically or manually. If you go to your users in your dashboard, you will see who is and is not assigned to a course, with the easy option to add them then and there.
You are able to see progress here as well. And as noted earlier in this review, you can bulk add all users to a new course and also import them as a CVS file.
According to their documentation, this is a newer feature, one that was requested by quite a few users. And I can see why.
When you are on your All Course page, you will find the option for the Grade Book for that specific course.
Once you do that, you get a list with all users assigned to the course.
This gives you a perfect overview of the entire course, as well each student. Any unit quizzes will also be listed separately. You can also conveniently export the grade book as a CVS and email final grades if that hasn’t been done yet.
People who take courses, depending on where they have taken it, often want to proudly share the accomplishment of passing it. WP Courseware has an option to easily create those certificates.
As you can see, I uploaded the custom graphics I wanted to use on the certificate, while following their guidelines on file sizes.
Once I have done that, I can preview it.
Just fill out all the specific details and send them out to your students.
Converting Posts Into Units
This cool feature makes it a simple, one-step process. If you have created any posts that you want to convert to a unit, all you have to do is find this box on your post page.
Clicking on that gives you this window.
You will now be able to edit it as a unit and add it to any module. This is also available for pages.
This is probably one of the most helpful features of WP Courseware. In a nutshell, it allows you to send content to your students at specific intervals, instead of giving them access all at once. A simple example would be a six-week course, with six units, having each unit or lesson sent out weekly.
In the General Settings, there was an option for Drip Feed Notifications and how often the system checks and sends an email.
And on your single units, you have control of how often your Content Drip is sent out.
And if you want a specific date:
Or a specific interval:
As I said, this is a feature a lot of online course users are looking for.
The plugin includes good documentation right within your dashboard.
As with any dynamic plugin, you have a varied list of shortcodes you can drop into a page or post anywhere. A list of them can be found under Documentation in your dashboard.
They not only give you a list, but they provide a good explanation with examples.
One example of using shortcodes is to create your course outline on a page.
You get a great collection of video tutorials. I watched several of them, and as someone who does these kinds of things for a living, I can say that they are very well done, with good explanations of just about anything you need to know to get your online courses set up.
If you are looking at paid memberships for your online courses, WP Courseware integrates with some of the best membership and eCommerce plugins out there.
So if you are looking to get into online courses, I’d encourage you to check out WP Courseware as an option.