9. How to Configure Course Certificates

This article provides information and guidance on how to configure course certificates in an Open edX course.

9.1. Course Certificate Overview

Course administrators can choose to generate certificates for learners who pass a course.

Learners can view, print, or share their certificates.

To enable course certificates on your instance of Open edX, you must enable the honor mode for your Open edX course in both Studio and the Learning Management System (LMS) and complete the configuration tasks described in this topic.

Note

If your LMS site is integrated with e-commerce, the process is different. To complete this step, please submit an eduNEXT customer support ticket and provide the following information: Course ID and price.

Working with Certificates

Here are a few things to consider when working with certificates.

  • Specify a course title to use of the certificate if the course`s official title is too long to be displayed well.

  • For verified certificates, specify between one and four signatories and upload the associated images.

  • To edit of delete a certificate before it is activated, hover over the top right corner of the form and select Edit or the delete icon.

  • To view a sample certificate, choose a course mode and select Preview Certificate.

There are four types of course modes or enrollment tracks. Below, you will find an explanation of the course modes used in Open edX courses.

Course Modes and Descriptions

Audit | When a learner enrolls in the course for free, does not have the right to opt for a certificate.

“Audit” is the course mode set by default in all new courses which is the reason why at first you are not able to configure certificates for your course.

Honor | This is a course mode used in cases where you need your learner to enroll in a course for free and still have the right to get a certificate when passing the course.

The course mode is called “Honor” because it dates back to the time edx.org offered certificates to non-paying users and there was no way to assure that the user in the certificate was the one that truly took the course and the exams. The certificates with this course mode rely on the learner compliance of the “honor code”.

No-id-professional | This is used when the course is only paid, but there is no ID verification.

This mode requires activating the e-commerce module for the site.

Verified | This is a course mode designed for the case where the learner enrolls in the course for free but eventually has to pay to get a certificate.

This mode requires enabling the e-commerce module for the site as well as an id verification process.

The way edx.org works is unique and its verification procedure is not available to anyone else. Based on this, we have simplified the verification process to have courses free with an upgrade option. In the simple verification procedure, the user may get to upload their id photo and may have to take a webcam picture.

However, there is not a real verification process that confirms that the data in the images match.

Let`s begin to configure your certificate.

9.2. Enable the Course Certificate Honor Mode in Studio

To enable the course certificate honor mode, complete the following steps in Studio.

  1. Go to Studio > Settings > Certificates.

Note

The button on the certificate`s page will enable the honor mode for the Open edX course. If your LMS site is integrated with e-commerce, the process is different, and this first step has to be done by the eduNEXT customer support team.

../../_images/certificates-configuration-honormode.gif
  1. Select Enable Honor Mode.

Note

In the Open edX jargon, a “course mode” is the specific track or enrollment status that one learner can have in a particular course. This record mainly affects the way the certificate and e-commerce work.

9.3. Create the Certificate in Studio

To create your certificate, you will need to fill out the information form in Studio.

  1. Go to Studio > Settings > Certificates.

  2. Select Set up your certificate.

  3. Enter your information in the following fields:

  • Course title override.

  • Signatures:

    • Name for the Certificate signatures (the person who signs and approves the certificate).

    • The title for the signatures of the certificates (position).

    • Organization.

    • An image file in PNG format which contains the signature(the current template supports up to 4 signatures).

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9.4. Enable and Configure the HTML Properties for Course Certificates

To enable HTML properties for a course certification, you will need to configure the HTML properties in Studio.

  1. Go to Studio > Settings > select Advanced settings.

  2. Set the following properties:

  • Certificate Name (Long)** : Enter “long name of your choice for the certificate”.

  • Certificate Name (Short) : Enter “short name of your choice for the certificate”.

  • Certificates Display Behavior: Enter “early_no_info”, “early_with_info” or “end” depending on the desired behavior. (We recommend using early_no_info which is the option that allows learners getting certificates at their own pace).

Certificate properties

9.5. Activate Your Certificate

Once you have created the certificate in Studio, you must select the Activate button on the upper right corner to make it available for learners.

9.6. Preview Your Certificate

Note

To be able to see the certificate preview, it is necessary to be logged in to the LMS platform.

You can use the Preview Certificate option to see how your certificate looks so far. This option can be useful to verify that the configuration for the certificate is correct. At first, it might seem simple and without an established style.

To customize your certificate, go to Customize Your Certificates’ Variables for more information.

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9.7. Customize Your Certificates’ Variables

Now, you can customize some variables of the certificate according to your specific needs.

Go to Settings > Advanced settings > Certificate to see Web/HTML view overrides.

You may choose from one of three options to customize your certificate.

  • Simple Certificate Configuration String (template). This option uses a JSON string that overrides the certificate’s template.

  • Customize Your Own JSON String. This option allows you to build your own configuration string in JSON format.

  • Customize Your Background Image on Your Certificate. This option allows you to use your own custom-designed image.

9.7.1. Simple Certificate Configuration String (template)

The following example is the simplest certificate configuration string you can build. The JSON string produces, as a result, a template like the one below, and all you will need to do is to replace the captions and URLs for your own.

{
  "document_title": "CERTIFICATE",
  "certificate_logo_large": "https://via.placeholder.com/350x150" ,
  "certificate_description": "This caption goes first above the learner`s name",
  "accomplishment_copy_description_full": "This caption goes below the learner`s name",
  "accomplishment_copy_course_description": "This caption goes below the course name",
  "course_number": " ",
  "course_number_separator": " ",
  "logo_src": "https://via.placeholder.com/100x50",
  "logo_url": "https://YOURLMSDOMAIN.com"
}

9.7.2. Customize Your Own JSON String

If you require extra customizations for the certificate, you can build your own configuration string in a JSON format by using any of the variables listed and exemplified below:

{
  "certificate_logo_large" : "https://mydomain.com/mylogo.jpg",
  "certificate_url_large" : "https://mydomain.com/",
  "certificate_logo_large_alt" : "Alternative text",
  "logo_url": "http://mydomain.com/",
  "logo_subtitle": "logo_subtitle_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_banner_opening": "accomplishment_banner_opening_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_banner_congrats": "accomplishment_banner_congrats_overwritten",
  "document_banner": "document_banner_overwritten",
  "document_title": "document_title_overwritten",
  "certificate_description": "certificate_description_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_name": "accomplishment_copy_name_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_description_full":
  "accomplishment_copy_description_full_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_course_org": "accomplishment_copy_course_org_overwritten",
  "course_number": "course_number_overwritten",
  "course_number_separator": "course_number_separator_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_course_name": "accomplishment_copy_course_name_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_course_description":
  "accomplishment_copy_course_description_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_more_about": "accomplishment_copy_more_about_overwritten",
  "logo_src": "http://mydomain.com/mylogo.jpg",
  "recipient_img_override": "recipient_img_override_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_username": "accomplishment_copy_username_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_separator": "accomplishment_copy_separator_overwritten",
  "platform_name": "platform_name_overwritten",
  "certificate_id_number_title": "certificate_id_number_title_overwritten",
  "certificate_id_number": "certificate_id_number_overwritten",
  "certificate_id_number_separator": "certificate_id_number_separator_overwritten",
  "certificate_date_issued_title": "certificate_date_issued_title_overwritten",
  "certificate_date_issued": "certificate_date_issued_overwritten",
  "company_about_title": "company_about_title_overwritten",
  "company_about_description": "company_about_description_overwritten",
  "company_about_urltext": "company_about_urltext_overwritten",
  "company_about_url": "https://mydomain.com/about",
  "accomplishment_copy_about": "accomplishment_copy_about_overwritten",
  "certificate_info_description": "certificate_info_description_overwritten",
  "company_honor_url": "https://mydomain.com/honor",
  "company_honor_urltext": "Code of honor",
  "company_tos_url": "https://mydomain.com/tos",
  "company_privacy_url": "https://mydomain.com/privacy",
  "copyright_text": "copyright_text_overwritten",
  "course_number_separator": "course_number_separator_overwritten",
  "accomplishment_copy_separator": "accomplishment_copy_separator_overwritten",
  "certificate_id_number_separator": "certificate_id_number_separator_overwritten",
  "recipient_img_override": "http://mydomain.com/mylogo.jpg"
}

Note

Make sure you reload your certificate preview every time you change your HTML overrides configurations so that you can see how your certificate looks with the applied changes.

9.7.3. Customize Your Background Image on Your Certificate

  1. Request eduNEXT to activate the simplified certificates template. It is necessary to request eduNEXT for activating the simplified certificates template; you should send us the course ID for that purpose. E.g. course-v1:hawthorn-enero-2019+mill+2019_1

  2. The background image should be 1140 pixels width and 795 pixels high.

  3. You must rest assured that the space intended to show the user`s name matches with your image. The user`s name must be shown in the correct place of your uploaded image. Otherwise, you should adjust your image and upload it again.

Did you know? With eduNEXT you may be able to explore advanced certificate customization options for a fee. Contact Customer Support to learn more. Go to the eduNEXT Control Center (ECC) and open a ticket.

Examples of customized advanced certificates:

Custom certificate example 1. Custom certificate example 2. Custom certificate example 3.

9.8. Configure How to Issue Learner Certificates

Note

Issuing certificates to learners must be done from the instructor dashboard in the LMS, and not in Studio. The learners can generate the certificates from the progress tab on the LMS site. Even though instructors can see the progress page of learners, they cannot generate the certificates on behalf of the learners. The learner must log in with its account and get the certificate from the progress page.

The final configuration step is to set how learners will get their certificates.

If the course is instructor-paced, you can select which option you prefer.

Option 1: Enable student-generated certificates.

Option 2: Disable Student-generate certificates so that the instructor can generate certificates.

Enable Student-Generated Certificates

To allow your learners to generate the certificates by themselves, you must enable student-generated certificates.

  1. Go to the LMS platform > Instructor tab > Certificates > Student-Generated certificates.

  2. Select Enable Student-Generated Certificates.

Disable the Student-Generated Certificates

If you prefer to have your learners wait until you generate the certificates for all the learners in batch, you will need to disable the Student-generated Certificates, and proceed with the manual generation.

  1. Go to the LMS platform > Instructor tab > Certificates > Student-Generated certificates.

  2. Select Disable Student-Generated Certificates.

If the course is self-paced, the only option is for learners to generate their certificates once they complete the course.

  1. In Studio, go to Schedule and Details.

  2. Set the start date in the future as if the course has not started yet, and select Save.

Course start date on the Schedules and Details page.
  1. Change the course pacing to Instructor paced, and select Save.

Course pacing section on the Schedules and Details page.
  1. Go to the LMS platform > Instructor > Certificates and enable the auto-generation option, and select Save.

Certificate self-generation option in the instructor dashboard in LMS.
  1. Go back to Studio > Schedule and Details and set the course to self-paced, and select Save.

Course pacing section on the Schedules and Details page.
  1. Change the dates back, and select Save.

Course start date on the Schedules and Details page.

9.9. Frequently Asked Questions About Certificates

9.9.1. Why am I getting an error when I try to preview my certificate?

Verify that you are logged into the account. If your user is not logged in, an error 500 is displayed.

9.9.2. Why is the certificate not visible?

When selecting generate certificate, the platform doesn`t show the view certificate button.

Go to Studio > Settings > Grading policy, and make sure that the grading scale doesn`t have the threshold labels empty. See Course Visibility in the Course Catalog Page for more information.

If all of the information is correct and the problem persists, contact Customer Support. Go to the eduNEXT Control Center (ECC) and open a ticket.

9.9.3. Why does a student not see the certificate button?

Despite already having a certificate generated, the button to see the certificate does not appear on the progress page.

  1. You may be informed by a student that he is unable to see his certificate. This can also happen when a student who is on the exception list does not see his certificate. The enrollment mode is probably in audit mode, so you have to unenroll and enroll the student again in the course so that the student takes the honor mode.

Go to Studio > Settings > Certificate and activate the certificate.

  1. The self-generation certificates option is not enabled from instructor-certificates.

  2. If the learner has passed the course and the certificate is still not visible, make sure that the property Certificates Display Behavior under the advanced settings page is set in “early_no_info”.

9.9.4. Troubleshooting “There is a problem with this certificate”

To resolve the problem, your partner manager should verify that the following information is correct. -The institution`s logo. -The institution that is linked to the course. -The course information in the Course Administration tool.

If all of the information is correct and the problem persists, contact customer support.

Note

The following is a short list of potential reasons why an error may occur.

The course has the option to generate open badges activated in the advanced properties and that is not properly configured inside.

The template has a variable that is not received by the json object in advanced settings. Contact Customer Support. Go to the eduNEXT Control Center (ECC) and open a ticket.

The instructor users has not logged in to the LMS.

9.9.5. Why do my students not get the certificates when adding exceptions in my verified-mode course?

Since the course was configured to grant certificates upon payment, we must assign the verified mode for students that need to get the certificates as an exception. Contact support.

9.9.6. Why do my students not get the certificates even though they have passed the course?

There is a setting in Studio on the advanced settings page called “course not graded” that might be set in “True”.

  1. Go to Studio > Advanced Settings > change “True” to False.

  2. Select Save.

9.9.7. How do I activate users?

To activate users, you may need to manually activate user accounts from the eduNEXT Control Center (ECC). See Manual User Activation for additional information and instructions on how to activate a user.

See also

Here are some related topics that may interest you: Certificates Report, Configure Multi Course Program, and Manage Certificates.

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