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Can I edit my course while in-progress?
Can I edit my course while in-progress?

Tips for successfully editing your course when learners are already enrolled.

Laurie Garcia avatar
Written by Laurie Garcia
Updated over a week ago

Pathwright enables admins, editors, and teachers to edit their Cohort Path anytime - even when learners are already enrolled and working through the content. You can even get away with building your course while in-progress if you observe a few simple rules. 😉

While you are permitted to edit anything at any time, significant edits or deletions may negatively affect the progress of learners already enrolled. Below we'll describe the most common scenarios and what to do to safely make your edits. If you have any questions, feel free to open a new chat or email us. 

Without further ado, here are the basics for how to edit your course while in-progress.

⚒️Planning to create a course in-progress

If you plan to build or add to your course while it is in-progress, with learners enrolled, we heartily recommend the following:

  1. Map out all your lessons and steps before the course starts, publish your step content, and use the Sync button on the Path to sync all new content to your learners' individual paths.  

  2. Lock all lessons that have unfinished content with future start dates before enrolling learners. Your first lesson or two, at minimum, should be ready to go. 

  3. Determine and set the desired point value (optional) for each step.

  4. Finish building the locked lessons before the start date is reached, and publish your edits. If you don't hit your deadlines, move back the start date as needed.

🤔 Why map out empty lessons ahead of time? 

Syncing all lessons and steps while locking unfinished content will allow learners to see the basic structure of the course without seeing into your construction zones. 

It will also prevent the undesirable scenario where the learners "complete" the course before you've finished adding all the content because you haven't synced all the lessons and steps to their paths. When a course is completed, it will move to the bottom of their list of courses on their Home page and display as completed.

📖 How does publishing work? 

Each learner has their own version of the Cohort Path. When you add or edit the content on a Path that you're editing, it is not shared with learners until 1) you publish the step content and sync any path changes, and 2) they log in and open the course, loading any new content onto their unique path. While you're editing, unpublished edits will be flagged on the step, and unsynced changes will be flagged on the Sync button.

When you make edits from the Source Path, or edit steps that are shared from the Source, the edits are shared to all Cohorts and learners will receive the updates next time they log in or reload the course. See more on how to publish your content and how to sync path changes.

🚦 Revising your course while in progress

How do you know when to go, when to stop, and when to proceed with caution? 

✅Go: You can make small edits (edit text, fix typos, replace links and files, cosmetic changes, etc.) to the content of a step anytime and anywhere and it will update everywhere it is used. Small edits will not affect learner progress.

🚧Proceed with caution: If you change the correct answer on an assessment question or edit the point value on a step, scores will not be instantly recalculated for learners who have already completed the step. However, if the quiz is reset and they take it again, they will be graded and scored according to the updated version.

🛑Stop: We do not advise completely revamping a course that already has learners enrolled and making progress, especially if you'll be heavily editing or removing assessments or discussions. Instead, make a copy of your course and make your revisions in the copy. 

If it's a public course, retire the old course by making it invite-only. Current members will retain access indefinitely unless you've set an end date. Make the new, revised course public in its place. 

We do not advise converting a course using our legacy content to the new "Blocks" content builder if you already have learners enrolled. Instead, make a copy and convert the steps in the copy following this guide

If you are planning to add, delete, rename, or reorder lessons or steps, or if you plan to add or delete assessments or discussions within a step in a course that is in progress, please check the detailed scenarios below. The more complex your setup and the more extensive your edits, the greater the chance of impacting current learners' progress. 


Here are some sample scenarios to help you answer more specific, detailed questions about whether to make a particular edit. These scenarios assume that you have learners enrolled who may have already completed the content you're editing. 

1. Editing a single Cohort

Teachers can edit any Cohort they are teaching, but they do not have access to edit the content of a step shared from the Source. If they need to edit content, they can make a copy of an existing step and edit the copy, or they can add a new step. When a step is copied, the learner progress and work does not copy over. This should only be used before the Cohort starts.

Admins and editors can edit the content in steps shared from the Source from anywhere. When a shared step is edited, it updates everywhere it is used, including other Cohorts.

This is how edits can affect your learners:

  • Small edits to the content inside steps (editing text, fixing broken links, replacing a video file or embed code, etc.) will not affect learner progress. 

  • Edits to content that may affect progress include: deleting a discussion, deleting a submit box from a step, deleting quiz/test questions or answer options, or deleting a step or lesson that contains a discussion, submission, or assessment.

  • Edits to point values may change a learner's score, or may require manually resetting the step to change the score.

  • Editing or rearranging lessons, steps, and dividers or adding new lessons, steps, and dividers may mean that a learner who progressed past a certain point in the course will notice incomplete steps earlier in the course next time they log in. 

  • Replacing legacy content with Blocks content, when that content includes quiz/test questions, discussions, or submissions, will delete any previous learner responses on that step. It will not affect the completion of the step otherwise. 

2. Editing the Source

Only admins and editors can make edits from the Source and can edit the content of steps shared from the Source with one or more cohort.

For courses with multiple Cohorts, most edits should be made on the Source Path and then synced to all Cohorts. In addition, each Cohort Path can be customized by an admin, editor, or teacher. Each learner and moderator receives an individual copy of this Path when they register and it is updated with any edits each time they log in. 

Edits to the Source will impact all Cohorts that share the content from the Source.

3. Editing a Collection

If you're using the "Collections" feature to bundle together a series of courses into a single Path, some extra editing guidelines apply. 

  • To edit the Source content in a single course, go to that course's Source Path and make your edit. This will update the content everywhere it is used, including inside any Collections that the course belongs to. 

  • You can edit the Source Path of the Collection by adding, removing, reordering, and regrouping courses. Try to avoid removing courses and adding them back while cohorts are in-progress as this can remove learner progress.

  • Each Cohort Path can also be edited. Courses that are removed from the Cohort Path can be added back later by a staff member, but any customizations will be lost.

  • When you give someone Course Editor access to a Collection, they can add public or members-only courses or courses in which they are enrolled as Course Editor to the Collection and remove or rearrange courses included on the Path. They can add new cohorts and edit all course and cohort settings.
    They cannot add private courses to which they have no access and they cannot edit the content of any courses in the Collection (unless they are given access to those courses individually as a Course Editor or have a higher level of access to the account such as Admin or Library Editor access). 

  • When you invite a Teacher to a Cohort within a Collection, they can remove courses from their Path or reorder their Path. If you'd like to give a Teacher a custom course that they can build and add to their Path, create a new course and invite them to that course as a Course Editor. 

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