Creating a Course

This article focuses on the basic processes of course creation and configuration.


Introduction to Creating a Course

A Course in Lambda Suite is an area where a trainer will add learning resources and activities for their learners to complete. It might be a simple page with downloadable documents or it might be a complex set of tasks where learning progresses through interaction.


To design your online course, begin with writing course level learning outcomes.  Next, choose or create assessments and teaching and learning activities that align with your outcomes.  In this process you will answer the following questions:

1.  Learning Outcomes: What will learners know, value, and be able to do by the end of the course?

2.  Assessment Methods: What assessment methods will provide evidence that learners have achieved the learning outcome?

3.  Teaching and Learning Activities: What activities will learners engage in as they progress towards the learning outcome?

Online course design requires some additional considerations:

  • Teaching resources and materials: What teaching / training resources and materials will you need to select, develop, or adapt to support instruction?  
  • eLearning tools: What eLearning tools and techniques can you use (or ask the learners to use) to help facilitate learning and allow learners to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes?

Manually Add a New Course

One of the more straightforward ways of creating a course is manually creating and configuring it. This can be done in the Courses and Categories area. Choose the category the course will belong to, then click "Create new course" to begin configuring the course settings.

1.  To add a course, click the site administrative gear icon and go to Courses and Categories under the Learning column.

2.  Then, click Create New Course in the category page on the right. This will lead you to the Add a New Course Settings page.

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Once you have configured the course settings, then choose either to Save and Return to go back to your course, or Save and Display to go to the next screen. On the next screen, if you have chosen Save and Display, you can then view the course layout and add activities to the course.

Configure Your Course: Setting Options

When you build a new course, your first task is to customize the Course Settings to your needs.

Configure Your Course: General

The following are some of the key Lambda Suite course setting options for you to configure:

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Course full name

This is the name of the course. It is displayed as a link on course lists on the Front page and on the Dashboard and in reports. It is also used in the browser title bar when the course is viewed.

Course short name

Many organizations have a shorthand way of referring to a course, such as BP102 or COMMS. Even if you do not already have such a name for your course, make one up here. It will be used in several places where the full name is not appropriate.

Course category

Courses can be organized into a hierarchy suitable for your organization such as by department, faculty, or topic. This hierarchical structure is referred to as course categories. 

Make sure you plan the organizational scheme well before entering a large number of courses, to save time in moving them later.

To find out how you can organize your courses see How To Create a Course Category.

Course visibility

Here you can "hide" the course completely. It will not appear in the list of courses, except for managers, course creators, teachers and any other users with the "view hidden courses" capability. Even if students try to access the course URL directly, they will not be allowed to enter.

The Hide/Show Courses capability controls whether a user can hide a course.

Course type

This setting helps to provide a further filter to finding your courses in the Find Learning menu. It is not used within the Store front. For those implementations with the option for Seminars, this can be selected here.

Course start date

This setting affects the display of logs and the weekly format topic dates.

If you use the "Weekly" course format, the start date will appear in the first section of the course. For example selecting 27 July, will display "27 July - 2 August" in the first section (when default display is selected for that section).

This setting will have an effect on the display of logs. This will be the earliest possible date the log activity will display.

Course end date

The course end date is used for determining whether a course should be included in a user's list of courses. When the end date is past, the course is no longer listed in the list of courses and is listed as past in the Course Overview on students' dashboards.

The course end date is also used for calculating the retention period before data is deleted. It may also be used by a custom report e.g. reporting activity for the duration of a course.

Users can still enter the course after the end date; in other words the date does not restrict access.

Course ID number

The ID number is an alphanumeric field. It has several potential uses. Generally, it is not displayed to students. However, it can be used to match this course against an external system's ID, as your course catalogue ID or can be used in the certificate module as a printed field.

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Configure Your Course: Description

Course summary

The summary appears on the course listings page. This field is searched when searching for a course and also appears in the Course/Site description block.

This information will also be synced from Lambda Learn to the Lambda Store but not vice-versa.

Course summary files

Course summary files are the supplementary files or images required to describe or detail the course within Learn only.  Course summary files are not displayed in the Course Catalogue or on the Store.

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Configure Your Course: Format

A course format refers to the layout of a course. There are 5 course formats available in Lambda Suite:

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1. Topics Format

The course is organized into topic sections that a Trainer can give titles to. Each topic section can consist of activities, resources and labels. 

TIP: This is great to use if your course is objective based and each objective may take different amounts of time to complete. An example of this would be scaffolding where the learners are building upon the knowledge from earlier topics.

2. Single Activity Format

The single activity format only has 1 section, and allows the Trainer to add one activity only to the course. When the single activity format is selected, a drop down menu appears for the trainer to choose the activity they wish to use.

3. Collapsed Topics

An interchangeable topic or week based format that allows for a collapsible list when a course has many topics / weeks. All sections except zero have a toggle that displays that section. One or more sections can be displayed at any given time. 

4. OneTopic 

Similar to the Topics format though instead of each topic listed vertically, tabs are created along the top horizontal bar for the number of topics set to show

5. Weekly Format

The course is organized week by week, with a clear start date and a finish date. Lambda Suite will create a section for each week of your course. You can add content, forums, quizzes, and so on in the section for each week.

TIP: If you want all your students to work on the same materials at the same time, this would be a good format to choose.

NOTE: Make sure your course start date is correct. If it is not, the weeks will have the wrong date on it. This is especially important if you are restoring a course to use with a new section of learners.

Number of sections

This sets how many topics or weeks will be viewable to the learner in the left side content block.

TIP: The maximum number of weeks/topics may be set for all courses on the site. The default value is 52.

Hidden sections

This option allows you to decide how the hidden sections in your course are displayed to learners. By default, a small area is shown (in collapsed form, usually grey) to indicate where the hidden section is, though they still cannot actually see the hidden activities and texts. This is particularly useful in the Weekly format, so that non-class weeks are clear, or if you have quizzes you don't want your learners to see.

TIP: If you choose, these non-available items can be completely hidden, so that students do not even know that sections or an activity in the course are hidden.

Course layout

The Course layout setting determines whether the whole course is displayed on one page or split over several pages. The setting currently applies to the topics and weekly core course formats and contributed collapsed topics course format only.

Trainers choose from the dropdown whether they wish to "show all sections on one page" in the familiar scrolling format, or "show one section per page".

If one section per page is selected, the course page is abbreviated to a list of links to individual sections. If an individual section is shown, next and previous sections may be accessed via links above and below the section.

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Configure Your Course: Appearance

Course image

An image may be attached to the course summary. They will be accessible by anyone from outside of the course just like the course name and/or summary.

By default, only jpg, gif and png file types are allowed as course summary files.

This information will also be synced from Lambda Learn to the Lambda Store but not vice-versa. Additional images can be added via the Store admin for the specific product.

Force language

If you force a language in a course, the interface of Lambda Suite in this course will be in this particular language, even if a learner has selected a different preferred language in his/her personal profile.

Admins can remove this capability if they do not wish course trainers/managers to do this.

Number of Announcements

How many recent announcements from the Announcements forum should show in the Latest announcements block.

If an announcements forum is not required in the course, this setting should be set to zero.

Show Gradebook to learners

Legacy feature not available with Lambda Suite

Show Activity Reports

Legacy feature not available with Lambda Suite

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Configure Your Course: Files and Uploads

Maximum upload size

Here you can decide the largest size of file that learners can upload to a course. The site administrator can determine sizes available for the trainer to select.

Editing trainers or other users may be allowed to upload files larger than the maximum size by giving them this capability.

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Configure Your Course: Completion Tracking

Once done, it is important to determine the Completion tracking settings available under Learner Progress.

Completion tracking should be enabled by default so that you can effectively track progress through activities and courses. In the case where you don't care about completion tracking, you can simply select Do Not Track Activity Completion within the course activity settings.  For more information on course completion see Manage Course Progress, Completion & Grades.

Completion tracking

Course completion shows if a course has been completed. It can show the progress a learner is making towards finishing the course according to specific criteria. The criteria can include meeting an activity's grade level or a manual checking "complete" by either the learner and/or trainer. The report can also show if the learner has completed another course(s) that is marked as a "completion dependent" course.

Course completion does not have a "restrict access" function. It is best thought of as a report.

TIP: It is best to turn on ‘Completion tracking’ for all courses and then determine which courses may not need it deactivating the setting selectively.

Mark as In Progress on first view

Mark course completion status as In Progress as soon as learners view the course the first time (instead of when they meet the first criterion).


NOTE: Completion tracking must be enabled to track completion of course activities. 

Course completion criteria may also be based upon Activity completion values found in the activity's settings.

Find out more on completion tracking at Track Learner Progress: Activity & Course Completion

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Configure Your Course: Groups

Using Groups with a course allows you to filter your activities so only one class is visible at a time. You may also use Groups to act as a filter if shared amongst other trainers or perhaps you are filtering one class of your own amongst several. Customer Groups (either independently or created when a Company is created) will appear as options in Learn once a student accesses the course and is a member in a group.

Group mode

Here you can define the group mode at the course level by a pull down menu:

  • "No groups"
  • "Separate groups"
  • "Visible groups" 

The selected setting will be the default group mode for all activities defined within that course.

The group setting can affect what users see in the participants list and who they can interact with in activities.

Force group mode

If the group mode is "forced" at a course-level, then this particular group mode will be applied to every activity in that course. This will override any activities that may have a special group setting.

Default grouping

If groupings are enabled, a default grouping for course activities and resources may be set.

Upload a Course

Lambda Learn supports the process of creating and managing courses using a CSV text file.  In addition to creating new courses, the Upload Courses functionality may also be used to update or delete courses, or import content from another course. To upload one or more courses:

1.  From the site administrative menu, navigate to Courses and Categories > Upload Courses in the Courses block

2.  Either drag and drop the CSV file or click the 'Choose a file' button and select the file in the file picker.

3.  Select appropriate import options carefully. To prevent unexpected behaviour, you have to specify what you want the tool to be able to do. Then, click the preview button.

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Create a Course Using a CSV Text File

You can create course shells in bulk with a CSV upload.   On your CSV sheet, fill out the course settings - like name, category, format, language, etc. This is a great way to create multiple course shells all at once or to even manage/delete a whole course.

For detailed instructions see the article  "Create and Manage Course(s) Using a CSV Text File" on how to upload a course using a CSV text file. Sample uploadcourse.csv.

Example of an upload course CSV



What the CSV would look like in a spreadsheet

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