4. Test a course before launch¶
This section will explain the different strategies you can use to fully test a course before launch.
4.1. Test the course using an instructor user¶
Authors of the course normally set up and configure the course in STUDIO, but often also test it in the LMS platform using their own users. This will certainly help making sure that the course components are configured and behave as expected, but as the instructor interface in the LMS is slightly different to the learner interface, doing the tests this way can hide potential issues that will be faced by the learners when accessing the course.
In order for a course author or instructor to test the course in the LMS mimicking as much as possible the learner experience in the course, they will need to use the function to “see this course as” that is accessible on top of the page to actually see the course as a regular learner or as a learner that belongs to a specific enrollment track or cohort.
4.2. Test the course using a learner user¶
An alternative way to making sure that the learner experience of the course is tested thoroughly before the course launch, is to enroll one normal learner, without any additional permissions, and have that user test the full set of course contents.
During the testing time, the course can be set to “Invitation only” to avoid anyone but the enrolled students to access the course.
Once the tests have been completed and any issue has been identified and resolved, the course access policy can be changed from Invitation only to the desired option and the course can be launched.
4.3. Test the course using beta testers¶
Sometimes courses are built progressively during the course run period, so that when the first sections of the course are being used, the next sections are being built.
In these cases, normal learners should only get access to the sections that are already fully finished and approved and the sections that are still under construction should be hidden.
The visibility configuration of each section / subsection / unit can be used in these cases to make sure that only the sections that should be reached by learners are accessible, however this will exclude the possibility of a normal learner to test the course.
In order to allow some normal learners to test the courses, the Open edX platform has a special role called Beta tester who will behave just as a normal learner, except for the fact that they will be able to see the content a number of days before the release date for said content.
In order to use this approach for testing a course before, launch, you will need to:
Use the release dates functionality to ensure that normal learners will only access the sections progressively in specific dates.
Select one or more users to be named Beta testers and grant them the beta tester role, from the LMS instructor dashboard in the Membership tab.
Go to Settings -> advanced settings for the course in STUDIO and set the property called “Days Early for Beta Users” to the number of days ahead of the release date that you want beta testers to be able to see each course section.
Make sure to enroll your beta testers to the course and give them the instructions to test thoroughly the content as it becomes available to them and report on any anomaly.
This is documented in more detail in This section of the Open edX official Documentation.