15.2. Course Launching Activities#

To launch a course, you prepare the course itself, the course team, and the learners. This topic describes on how to accomplish this.

15.2.1. Course Launch Checklist in Studio#

You can access a course launch checklist from the Course Outline page and from the Tools menu. The checklist includes the following important items that you need to complete prior to launching your course.

  • Add a Welcome Message: Personally welcome learners into your course and prepare learners for a positive course experience. See Scheduling a Course Run.

  • Create Your Course Grading Policy: Establish your grading policy, including assignment types and passing score. All assignments add up to 100%. See Establishing a Grading Policy For Your Course.

  • Enable Your Certificate: Make sure that all text is correct, signatures have been uploaded, and the certificate has been activated. See Setting Up Certificates in Studio.

  • Set Important Course Dates: Establish your course schedule, including when the course starts and ends. See Scheduling a Course Run.

  • Validate Assignment Deadlines: Ensure all assignment deadlines are between course start and end dates.


The last two checklist items only appear for instructor-paced courses.

To help you communicate to the course team or to all course participants before the course launches and while it is running, you can send email messages from the LMS by selecting Instructor to access the instructor dashboard. For more information, see Bulk Email Messages from the Course Team. The topic on bulk email also includes a set of example messages to learners that you can use as guidelines when you write your own email messages.

15.2.2. Course Launch Checklist Timeline#

As the start date for your course approaches, the following checklist or timeline of activities can help you make sure that your course, and your learners, are ready to begin. Suggestions for activities to complete before your course starts follow.

Verify Course Settings

Verify Certificates

Review First Week Content

  • Verify that all units are present and published. See Developing Course Units.

  • Verify that videos, transcripts, and download links are in place and working. See Working with Video Components.

  • Check all assignments for completeness and verify their due dates. See Working with Problem Components.

  • Use edX Insights to review the answers that beta testers submitted for problems, and to proofread your display names, accessible labels, and answer text.

  • Review feedback from the course team and beta testers to be sure that the content has been thoroughly reviewed and tested.

Welcome Learners

  • Two months before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled learners. See Pre-launch Reminder and Send an Email Message to Course Participants.

  • Compose a welcome message and add it to the Course page. See Add a Course Update.

  • Verify that a syllabus and other references are available on the Course Handouts page. See Add a Course Handout.

  • One month before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled learners.

  • One week before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled learners.

  • Add an “Introduce Yourself” post to a discussion topic. For a MOOC, you may want to manage the size of the thread by distributing learner responses across multiple threads. For example, you can start different threads for introductions based on geographical location, such as “Introduce Yourself: Europe”, “Introduce Yourself: North America”, etc. See Running Course Discussions.

  • On the course start date, prepare and send a launch email message to currently enrolled learners. See Launch Day Welcome.

Prepare the Course Team

  • Define communication methods for all course contributors, including team members with the Staff, Admin, and discussion moderation team roles. For example, set up a course-specific email address.

  • Verify that all course contributors know how to record their work, report issues, and collaborate on tasks.

  • Verify that the people who will be Admins or Staff for your course have the correct role assignments in the LMS. See Planning Course Staff.

  • Verify that the people you have given the Discussion Admin, Discussion Moderator, and Discussion Community TA roles have registered and activated their user accounts and enrolled in the course. See Assigning Discussion Moderation Roles. Note that team members with the Admin and Staff roles must also be given one of these roles to have discussion moderation privileges.

  • Define methods for managing discussions and guidance for discussion moderators, and distribute to the discussion team. See Moderating Discussions and Guidance for Discussion Moderators.