One thing that sets the Open edX LMS apart from other Learning Management Systems is Open edX Studio, the built-in course authoring suite included with every Open edX release. Open edX Studio gives you the tool to create a Course Outline as well as the ability to mix-and-match blocks of content (known as “Components”) on pages of your course content. 

The Course Outline is composed of Sections, Subsections, and Units. These are like folders, subfolders, and pages for your content. On top of helping you to organize your entire course by building a navigation experience for Learners, the Course Outline also allows you to apply specific settings to the different Sections, Subsections, and Units inside of your courses. 

Using Subsections in the Open edX LMS

One of the key Subsection configurations is to apply Prerequisites to your course. This means that you can require users to complete certain parts of your course to proceed through and access subsequent parts of your courses. This kind of functionality allows for improved comprehension by your Learners, better retention of those Learners within your course, and the creation of Learning Pathways. 

Prerequisites are an excellent way to to “lock” portions of your course until your Learners have met a set of predefined requirements. For example, to access the “Assessment” Subsection of a course, the user must have completed the preceding Subsection. You can have multiple Prerequisites inside of a single course. Think about it: with the Open edX LMS, you can prevent users from simply skipping to the assessment at the end of your courses.

The video below demonstrates how to configure Subsection Prerequisites in Open edX Studio.

Debugging Prerequisite Issues: In order to utilize the Prerequisite functionality inside of an Open edX course, you must configure the Milestones Application inside of your Open edX instance. To do this, you must set the value of MILESTONES_APP in the lms.yml and studio.yml files to True. For more information about enabling milestones and editing yml files, we recommend reading the documentation available on ReadTheDocs.

Course Structure: 

Prerequisites require at least two Subsections: 

  • The Prerequisite Subsection: the Subsection that a user must complete which will unlock access to another Subsection
  • The Subsection that Requires the Prerequisite: the Subsection that will be unlocked after the Prerequisite Subsection is completed

You will also need to consider the Minimum Score and Minimum Completion percentage required to unlock the Subsection that requires the Prerequisite.

Get Started

For more information on how to organize your Course Outline and create Subsections, we recommend reading the Create the Course Outline documentation on ReadTheDocs. You can also visit the Open edX Marketplace to connect with an Open edX provider who can help you build and configure your courses and Course Outline or provide you with other specialty services for your Open edX installation.

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