The Open edX Platform Will Allow Accessing Course Content Without Registration

The upcoming Open edX release called “Ironwood” will include an option to make course content public. It allows users to access it without registration or enrollment (although discussions, problems, and exams won’t be visible).

This feature, called “Public Course Content”, has been sponsored by Cloudera and developed by OpenCraft in collaboration with the edX Architecture and Product teams.

It can be seen in action in these seven free courses of the Cloudera OnDemand training platform, based on the Open edX software, and designed to teach how to accelerate the ROI of Cloudera deployments.

In a blog post, edX explained that “you can decide which courses, and which parts of those courses, you want to to make public. For example, you can:

  • Make just the course outline public.
    The course outline will show without any links to internal course pages, giving potential learners an overview of what they will see when they enroll.
  • Make the entire course public.
    Anyone visiting your course outline can follow links to visit internal course pages, and freely navigate HTML and Video course content and handouts.
  • Show different content blocks to public learners vs enrolled learners.
    You can create content tailored to the public view, while still supporting the needs of your enrolled audit and paid learners.”

This functionality allows not only existing learners to browse your public course to see if they want to enroll, but is beneficial for SEO purposes, since Google and other search crawlers can index your public courses. As a result of it, the visibility of courses would increase and boost enrollments.

Currently, only HTML components, Video components, and course handouts have a “public” view. Unenrolled learners will see a message requesting that they sign in/register and enroll to see more complex content types like discussion forums, problem blocks, randomized content blocks, exams, Open Response Assessment, and other XBlocks.