First, congratulations on reaching a point where you're almost ready to launch your course! That's a big accomplishment on its own.
Before you invite in your first group of learners into a Cohort, or make it public, we recommend taking a few minutes to look through this Pre-launch Checklist. This list is full of tips we've compiled based on hundreds of course launches and will help you avoid potential issues before they happen and make small, easy improvements that add a lot to the overall experience.
💡 Tip: not all of these steps are essential for every course. Feel free to pick and choose just the tips that apply to you.
Pre-launch check areas
There are three main areas to check as you prepare for launch:
Cohort Path: your learner's step-by-step guide through everything they need to learn in your course from start to finish.
Course About screen: helps your learners know what they'll learn—and most importantly, why they should even start—before they join.
Cohort Settings: controls how your learners will find and get access to your course. Also controls payment, if you charge for access.
💡 Tip: As you review, try switching to Learner Preview mode to proofread and preview the Path and all the content just how your learners will see it.
Open your course to the Path tab to check the course content.
Lessons & Steps
⬜ Lessons include 2 or more Steps each.
⬜ Lessons have a descriptive title and an engaging description.
⬜ Steps titles clearly communicate what each will cover.
⬜ Each Step includes an estimated time to complete.
⬜ Using grades or points to motivate your learners? Set a point value for each Step.
⬜ Should staff be notified to review completions and optionally assign points or leave feedback? Make the Step reviewable.
⬜ Teaching on a schedule? Include a start or due date on any Lesson or individual Step.
💡 Tip: If you plan to add your Lessons progressively throughout your course, that's fine! One finished Lesson is enough to start with. Outline the rest of your course and add start dates. Learners won't be able to see the unfinished content because it will be locked down until the start date is reached.
⬜ Each Step has content (text, video, etc.) within the Content area. (If you see a "needs content" warning, that step doesn't have content yet.)
⬜ Any videos embedded privately from Vimeo have the privacy settings configured correctly.
⬜ All the files and examples learners will need are attached to the Steps where they'll need them.
⬜ Learners have the option to engage with a few discussion prompts throughout to help them apply what they're learning and build a sense of community.
⬜ All written content is checked for spelling & grammar (we recommend using this Chrome plugin).
⬜ Once you've finished making all the updates to your Path & Content, don't forget to hit the Sync button on the Path! In steps using Blocks content, be sure you've published the content inside each step as well.
Optional Advanced Path settings
⬜ If you've included optional or bonus Steps that aren't essential, turn off "Require completion."
⬜ If you've included assessments or graded exercises, add a minimum passing score if you'd like to keep learners from completing the course without reaching a certain level.
Course "About" screen
Open your course to the "About" tab. Your Course About screen includes 1) descriptive content that is best used as a short pitch for why learners should take your course and 2) at least one Cohort that controls how they can join.
⬜ The course has an attractive course cover.
⬜ Includes a 1-2 sentence Course Summary that pitches the primary reason someone should take this course (this is often called an "elevator pitch").
⬜ Includes a full Course Description that summarizes what your learners will learn, what they'll need to know or have on hand before they start, and any other helpful details.
⬜ Lists each contributing Author, including their title, name, photo, and brief biography.
💡 Tip: You can change course details on the About page by clicking any of the editing icons or by opening the Course Settings.
To open your Cohort Settings...
Open your Cohort to the path and select the three dots (...) at the top of the course Path directly under the name of the course. This will open a menu with additional options.
Select "Edit Cohort Settings" from the menu.
Essential Cohort settings
⬜ A Cohort name that's descriptive and different than the course name. Change the name under cohort settings.
⬜ Visibility is set to Invite-only, Members, or Public (here are some tips on which visibility setting to use).
⬜ Includes a short list of "Features" that describe what they get with access.
⬜ Will you be actively guiding your learners through the course? Set yourself or someone else as the Teacher or Moderator.
⬜ Want to adjust when people can register, when they can start the course, or how long they'll keep access? Configure those optional settings under Availability.
⬜ Selling your course? Don't forget to set a price under the Commerce area.
Advanced About & Cohort settings
⬜ Want to offer multiple versions of your course? If you're on the Essentials Plan or above, just set up another Cohort (or a few) to enable your members to choose different ways to take this course (e.g., a self-paced option and a scheduled option).
⬜ Want to offer your course for other people to teach to their own Cohorts? If you're on the Complete Plan or above, turn on "Member-created Groups" under Course Settings to enable anyone to teach your course to their own private cohort.
Whew, and now you're finished! Your course is ready to launch to the public, or to have people invited to join.
💡 Final Tip: before you blast off, take a few minutes to look through our Pathwright Account Setup Checklist as well.