Have you ever tried to sell online courses on your site? Have you ever wonder about a reliable system which will allow you to create and sell courses in your WordPress website?
Well, your wait is over. WPMU Dev has developed a new plugin titled ‘CoursePress‘ which will allow you to do all these things easily. As the plugin is completely free, why don’t you download it right nor from the WordPress plugin repository and follow the steps with me?
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you will be taken to a new page like the following –
At this point, you will find a new menu titled ‘CoursePress Pro’ in your website dashboard.
The plugin will also install another plugin named ‘MarketPress’ and a new theme titled ‘CoursePress’ in your website. It provides a complete solution to create and sell online courses including video, audio lectures, downloading facility, live chat integrations, forum style discussion and interactive elements like long-form answers, uploads, multiple choice answers.
To create a new course, go to CoursePress Pro -> New Course.
This page is cleverly divided between 6 steps to make the course creation process easier. And interestingly, later steps are not available until you complete the predecessors. So, you can’t skip step 2 and jump directly to step 3 from step 1.
Step 1 – Course Overview
In this step, provide the course name, a short overview of the course, an image for the course and set the course language. After setting up all these, click ‘Next’.
Step 2 – Course Description
In the next step, you can add a featured video for the course. This will be used in both the course description and course overview sections. Below this, there is the ‘Course Description’ box. In this area, you can provide an in-depth description about the course including course duration, contents, outcomes and course requirements.
In the ‘Course Structure’ section, you can choose to allow various options like course preview, displaying time estimates, etc. Click ‘Next’ once you have provided the necessary details.
Step 3 – Instructors
This is the section where you set the instructor details. If the course instructor is already a user of the site, then you can assign the course to him directly. It is also possible to assign multiple authors to a course. After selecting the author(s), click the ‘Assign’ tab, and that will show the avatar of that author below.
Or, if the author is not a user of the site, you can send an invitation to him to join in the site. Provide the first name, last name and e-mail address of the author and click ‘Send Invite’. Then, click ‘Next’.
Step 4 – Course Dates
The next step is for setting the necessary dates for the course. Provide the course start date and end date in their respective fields. It is possible to choose no end date for the course. To do that, check the box titled ‘This course has no end date’. This will make the End Date field non-editable.
The following section is ‘Enrollment Dates’. Like the previous section, you can define the starting and ending date of enrollment for the course. If you check the ‘Users can enroll at any time’ box, then the start and end date fields will become blurred. And the users will be able to enroll to the course anytime. After defining the dates correctly, click ‘Next’.
Step 5 – Classes, Discussion & Workbooks
The first option of this section allows you to limit class size to a fixed number of students. To do this, check the ‘Limit class size’ and then set the number in the following box. If you leave it unchecked, the number of students will be unlimited.
Next, there is a check box to allow course discussion. If you check this box, students will be able to post questions and get answers in the course. The analysis will be available from the ‘Discussion’ menu.
There is also an option to provide the workbooks for the students. If this box is checked, students will be able to view their progress and grades.
Step 6 – Enrollment & Course Cost
In the final step of the course creation process, you can define who can enroll in your course. If you didn’t allow the ‘Anyone can register’ option in Settings -> General, then you will have only one option – manually added only.
Once you allowed registration to your site, you will get these three options –
- Anyone with a pass code.
- Anyone who completed the prerequisite course.
If you are offering a paid course, then you have to check the last box of the page. Checking the box will request you to activate the previously installed MarketPress plugin. That is required because now you have to set the payment method along with other necessary details.
After activating the plugin, go to CoursePress Pro -> Courses. You will find your newly created course listed there. Click ‘Edit’ and you will be taken to the editing screen for the course. Here, you can finish the remaining setup for the course. The course costing section will look like this at this moment –
Provide the course price in the relevant field. You can set a sale price for your course too. To do that, check the ‘Enabled Sale Price’ box and provide the sale price in the following box. And lastly, you have to set up the payment gateways. To do that, click on the button.
The free version of the plugin offers three payment methods – Manual, PayPal and MasterCard. Select the ones you want to provide and click ‘Save changes’. In the following screen, you have to configure the payment methods. If you are unsure about any of the options, refer to your selected payment processor for help.
Once you are done with the settings, click ‘Done’, and the course will be saved. Then, you will be automatically taken to a new section titled ‘Units’.
Units are the real contents of your course. They are like the various chapters of the book. It is highly likely that your tutorial is divided into several parts. You can add each part as a separate unit. Provide a title and set the availability date for the unit.
Below, you can select to make the students answer all the required assessments and go through all the pages to proceed to the next unit. There’s also an option which requires the students to pass the assessments before moving on to the next unit.
Below, you can add pages to the unit. Along with the page label, you can add different types of content including text, image, audio, video, downloadable files, multiple-choice or single-choice questions, answer field and file upload. It is possible to add multiple pages to the unit.
After setting up the unit, toggle the unit from ‘Draft’ to ‘Live’ by dragging the circle on the top-right section of the ‘Unit Settings’ section. To add a new unit, click on the ‘Add New Unit’ button. As you add multiple units, you can re-order them by dragging and dropping into their ideal positions.
Next, we have the ‘Students’ section. Here, you can manually add students from the list if users. Or, you can invite new students by providing their first name, last name and e-mail addresses and clicking the ‘Invite’ button.
You can view a complete list of all the students by going to CoursePress Pro -> Students.
From that page, you can view their workbook, user profile, number of enlisted courses, registration date etc. You can also select users and withdraw them from all courses. The ‘Search Students’ section on top will help you to find out a specific student easily.
After you have gone through the course setup, units and student setup process, you are now ready to publish your course.
To do that, go to CoursePress Pro -> Courses.
You will find a list of all the courses in that page. It seems the free version of CoursePress does not allow more than 2 courses.
The page will display all the relevant information about the courses including course title, brief description, number of available and published units, number of students, course status and a link to delete the course. If you are confident that you have set up your course properly, drag the circle of the ‘Published’ section to the right. This will make the section green, which means your course is now published.
Hovering over the course name reveals some more actions for the course. By using these links, you can edit the course, edit its units, enrolled students, view the course and lastly, view its units.
A list of the instructors of your courses is available at CoursePress Pro -> Instructors.
The page will display the author’s name, date of registration, number of courses and see their profiles. There’s also a link for removing an instructor.
Well, those were the necessary steps for creating and selling an online course in your WordPress website. Obviously, you can take your courses further by purchasing the premium version of CoursePress from WPMU Dev. But if you have any confusion about the things discussed in this article, please let me know. I will be glad to help you.