7. Starting a Course

This section describes how to start a course and begin doing course work, and how to change settings that apply to a specific course.

As soon as you enroll in a course, you can access some information about the course and change course-specific settings on your dashboard. If the course start date has not passed, you cannot access course lessons or assignments.

For more information, see When is a Course Available? and Differences Between Instructor- and Self-Paced Courses.

7.1. Find a Course’s Start Date

You can usually enroll in a course before the start date, although you might not be able to access course materials yet.

  • You do not need to sign in exactly when the course begins.
  • If the course content is not immediately available, you can set a calendar reminder for the course start date, and check back later.

You can find a course’s start date on its About page. Not all courses publish the exact start time.

A course's About page with the start date above the Enroll Now button.

If you have enrolled in a course, the course is added to the list of courses on your dashboard. You can find the start date on the course listing on your dashboard.

A course listing on a learner's dashboard with the start date underthe name of the course.

For more information about different course statuses, see When is a Course Available?

7.2. Start a Course

To start work in a course that is in progress, follow these steps.

  1. On your dashboard, click View Course for the course that you want to open.

    A course card on the dashboard, with the View Course button circled.

    The course opens on the Course page, where you usually see a welcome message from the course team.

    The landing page of a course, with the Dismiss link in the welcome message circled, and the Updates link under Course Tools in the sidebar highlighted.
  2. When you have read a message from the course team, you can click Dismiss to stop displaying the message. If you want to read the message again, click Updates under Course Tools.

    Below any messages from the course team, you see the course outline.

    The course outline, with a section selected.
  3. Click Start Course to go to the first section of the course, or select any part of the course to jump to it.

    If you have already accessed or worked in the course, you see a Resume Course button instead of a Start Course button. Click Resume Course to jump to the part of the course that you last accessed.

7.3. View an Archived Course

You can enroll or continue to work in some courses even after the course end date. These courses are archived, which means that while you can access the course content, you cannot submit answers for graded problems or participate in course discussions.

To view the content of an archived course, follow these steps.

  1. On your dashboard, locate the course.
  2. Select View Archived Course.

7.4. View a Course Grade

To view your current grade in a course that has not yet ended, see Checking Your Progress in a Course.

To view your final grade in a course that you have completed, follow these steps.

  1. On your dashboard, locate the course. Your final grade appears under the course name.
  2. Optionally, print your dashboard to obtain a record of your achievement in the course.

You can also view the course and open its Progress page to view your final grade, as well as your grades on all course assignments.

7.5. View Certificate Status

If you are enrolled in a certificate track for your course, updates on the status of your certificate, and options for accessing earned certificates, are available in the course card on your dashboard.

For example, if you have earned a certificate and the course team has generated certificates for the course, you can use the View Certificate option to access your web certificate.

Dashboard with course name, grade, and link to the certificate.

For information about how to access certificates, including how to view, print, and share certificates, see Receiving and Sharing edX Certificates.