6.2. Course Content Data

For each course, the database files include a {org}-{course}-{date}-course_structure-{site}-analytics.json JSON file. Researchers can use this file to gain an overview of a course’s content and investigate course state at a point in time.

This section describes the contents of the course_structure file.

6.2.1. Shared Fields

The following fields are present for all of the objects in the course_structure file.

  • category
  • children
  • metadata

Descriptions of these fields follow.

6.2.1.1. Course Structure category Field

In the course_structure JSON file, the root level category field identifies core structural elements of a course. Each course_structure file contains a single "category": "course" object, and one or more of the objects for each of the other categories. For each object in the file, the category field contains one of the following strings.

Category Value Description
chapter The sections defined in the course outline. For more information, see Course Building Block Data.
course The dates, settings, and other metadata defined for the course as a whole. For more information, see Course Data.
discussion The content-specific discussion components defined for the course. For more information, see Course Component Data.
html The HTML components defined for the course. For more information, see Course Component Data.
problem The problem components defined for the course. For more information, see Course Component Data.
sequential The subsections defined in the course outline. For more information, see Course Building Block Data.
vertical The units defined in the course outline. For more information, see Course Building Block Data.
video The video components defined for the course. For more information, see Course Component Data.

The category file can also contain additional values. These values, such as poll_question, identify optional components. These components add different types of exercises or tools to the course.

6.2.1.2. Course Structure children Field

The children field is an array. It identifies the modules that a specific structural element in the course contains. The children field for the "category": "course" object lists all of the sections in the course. For one of the "category": "vertical" objects, this field lists all of the HTML, discussion, problem, and video components in that unit.

6.2.1.3. Course Structure metadata Field

The metadata field is an object. This field contains key-value pairs that describe the settings defined for the course and for each of the modules that it contains.

6.2.2. Course Data

In the "category": "course" object, the children field lists all of the sections defined for the course. In the sample that follows, the edX DemoX course has five sections, or chapters, defined.

The metadata field provides information about parameters set for the course, including dates, pages, textbooks, and advanced setting values. In the sample that follows, note that the edX DemoX course includes a course-specific page, or tab, named “edX Community”.

A partial list of the metadata member fields for a course follows. For information about the settings that course teams define for a course in Studio, see Building and Running an edX Course.

metadata Member Field Description
advanced_modules This array stores values entered for Advanced Module List on the Studio Advanced Settings page.
days_early_for_beta This field stores the number entered for Days Early for Beta Users on the Studio Advanced Settings page.
discussion_topics This object lists the course-wide discussion topics entered for Discussion Topic Mapping on the Studio Advanced Settings page.
showanswer This field stores the string entered for Show Answer on the Studio Advanced Settings page. Valid values are ‘always’, ‘answered’, ‘attempted’, ‘closed’, ‘finished’, ‘past_due’, or ‘never’.
start This field stores the value entered for Course Start Date on the Studio Settings & Details page.
tabs

This array contains member objects that describe the tabs, or pages, that appear for the course in the learning management system (LMS). Course teams can change the order of the default pages, and add custom pages, on the Studio Pages page.

The default Course page uses the structure defined by the course building blocks to deliver the content defined by the course components as well as the updates that are defined on the Studio Course Updates page.

For more information, see Managing the Pages in Your Course.

6.2.2.1. Course Data Sample

{
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/course/1T2015":{
       "category":"course",
       "children":[
          "i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/1ff96c6155eb40c39140c656cdc2708b",
          "i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/00d4374f346b4744aa6f4708cdf46d53",
          "i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/abc5cf5203ee494faf73fa3f55b4485b",
          "i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/a783b6e59fe24917985a8aa29eeec150",
          "i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/0cdd0de7b1f740468381c265796f6f63"
       ],
       "metadata":{
          "advertised_start":"4/15/2015",
          "days_early_for_beta":90.0,
          "discussion_topics":{
             "General":{
                "id":"i4x-edX-DemoX-course-1T2015"
             }
          },
          "display_name":"edX Demonstration Course",
          "end":null,
          "graceperiod":"18000 seconds",
          "start":"2014-08-10T07:00:00Z",
          "tabs":[
             {
                "name":"Course",
                "type":"courseware",
                "course_staff_only": false
             },

             {
                "name":"Discussion",
                "type":"discussion",
                "course_staff_only": false
             },
             {
                "name":"edX Community",
                "type":"static_tab",
                "url_slug":"67e8a9e44dde4e97b2bd33a928b9099e",
                "course_staff_only": true
             },
             {
                "name":"Progress",
                "is_hidden": false,
                "type":"progress"
                "course_staff_only": false
             },
             {
                "name":"Wiki",
                "is_hidden": true,
                "type":"wiki",
                "course_staff_only": false
             }
          ]
       }
    }
 }

6.2.3. Course Building Block Data

In Studio, a course team organizes course content by defining hierarchical sections, subsections, and units. Internally, the edX code identifies these building blocks with a category value of ‘chapter’, ‘sequential’, and ‘vertical’.

The sample that follows extracts the objects that represent one of the sections in a course, a subsection that the section contains, and a unit that the subsection contains from a JSON course_structure document.

The children array for each of these types of objects lists identifiers for objects that it contains.

  • Objects with a category of chapter list all of the sequentials (subsections) that they contain.
  • Objects with a category of sequential list all of the verticals (units) that they contain.
  • Objects with a category of vertical list all of the components that they contain.

The metadata field provides information about parameters set for the section, subsection, or unit. A partial list of the metadata member fields for a section, subsection, or unit follows. For information about the structure that course teams can define for a course, see Developing Your Course in the Building and Running an edX Course guide.

metadata Member Field Description
display_name This field stores the string in the name field for the section, subsection, or unit on the Studio Course Outline page. Course teams can edit the default name that Studio supplies. This name identifies this structural element to learners in the LMS and in edX Insights.
start This field stores the value entered for the section, subsection, or unit on the Studio Course Outline page. Course teams provide these optional start dates so that course content is released incrementally after the course start date.
visible_to_staff_only This Boolean indicates the setting selected for the Hide from Students option for the section, subsection, or unit on the Studio Course Outline page.

6.2.3.1. Course Building Block Data Sample

"i4x://edX/DemoX/chapter/00d4374f346b4744aa6f4708cdf46d53": {
  "category": "chapter",
  "children": [
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/sequential/9681154b9c0a4baaafb5f4e26bc71550"
  ],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Introduction to edX Studio",
    "start": "2020-08-09T16:00:00Z",
    "visible_to_staff_only": true
  }
},
.
.
.
"i4x://edX/DemoX/sequential/547f430ffd414a5fbb4a080fd5eb7566": {
  "category": "sequential",
  "children": [
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/vertical/2ea89cbec5bd4034981a70abff7a82e1",
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/vertical/7405431e9fe14354a39ac52a2973bc1c"
  ],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "What Does an edX Course Look Like?"
  }
},
.
.
.
 "i4x://edX/DemoX/vertical/7405431e9fe14354a39ac52a2973bc1c": {
  "category": "vertical",
  "children": [
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/html/d3bd5215cf044056beb8e6f7f3e3afc4",
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/video/ddf62dd7bff249efa1add6776f1e2ab8"
  ],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Your Course Info"
  }
},
.
.
.
"i4x://edX/DemoX/vertical/778671e308e446409c0c797d9d424eae": {
  "category": "vertical",
  "children": [
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/problem/db71da27320a44bdb45df31d0d801e20",
    "i4x://edX/DemoX/discussion/05d808aad49543de997964be3bfac528"
  ],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Exercise Gallery"
  }

6.2.4. Course Component Data

In Studio, a course team specifies course content by adding components to units. The core, or basic, types of components that course teams can add have a category value of ‘discussion’, ‘html’, ‘problem’, and ‘video’. The sample that follows extracts objects for each of these component types from a course_structure file.

The children array is not used for these types of objects.

The metadata field provides information about parameters set for a component.

  • The metadata.display_name member field applies to all of the basic component types. This name identifies the component to learners in the LMS and in edX Insights. Course teams can edit the default name in the Studio Settings dialog box.
  • The other metadata member fields reflect settings specific to each component type. For information about the settings that course teams can define for components, see Adding Course Components in the Building and Running an edX Course guide.

6.2.4.1. Course Component Data Sample

"i4x://edX/DemoX/html/d3bd5215cf044056beb8e6f7f3e3afc4": {
  "category": "html",
  "children": [],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Intro to Video"
  }
},
.
.
.
"i4x://edX/DemoX/video/ddf62dd7bff249efa1add6776f1e2ab8": {
  "category": "video",
  "children": [],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Your Course About Page",
    "download_track": true,
    "download_video": true,
    "end_time": "00:07:24",
    "html5_sources": [
      "https://d2f1egay8yehza.cloudfront.net/BERGG101/BERGG101T314-V001800_100.mp4"
    ],
    "sub": "BERGG101T314-V001800_100",
    "youtube_id_1_0": "uxypPaUu8ng"
  }
},
.
.
.
  "i4x://edX/DemoX/problem/db71da27320a44bdb45df31d0d801e20": {
  "category": "problem",
  "children": [],
  "metadata": {
    "display_name": "Multiple Choice Questions",
    "markdown": "Many edX courses have homework or exercises you need to complete.  Notice the clock image to the left?  That means this homework or exercise needs to be completed for you to pass the course.\n\nAs you go through the question types, notice how edX gives you immediate feedback on your responses - it really helps in the learning process.\n\nWhat color is the open ocean on a sunny day?\n\n[[yellow, (blue), green]]\n\n\nWhich of the following are musical instruments?\n\n[x] a piano\n[ ] a tree\n[x] a guitar\n[ ] a window\n\n\n ",
    "max_attempts": null,
    "rerandomize": "never",
    "showanswer": "never",
    "weight": null
  }
},
.
.
.
"i4x://edX/DemoX/discussion/05d808aad49543de997964be3bfac528": {
  "category": "discussion",
  "children": [],
  "metadata": {
    "discussion_category": "Week 2",
    "discussion_id": "7be676c36bba4486aeeabe3ecb5b06e8",
    "discussion_target": "Improve the Question",
    "display_name": "Discussion Space: Improve the Question"
  }
},