6.7. Controlling Content Visibility

As a member of the course team, you must carefully control which content is visible to learners and when.

You control content visibility through these features in Studio.

These features work together to control content visibility for learners.

6.7.1. Release Dates

You specify release dates and times for the sections and subsections in an instructor-paced course. By defining release dates, you ensure that content is available to learners on a planned schedule, without requiring manual intervention while the course is running.


Self-paced courses do not have release dates for sections and subsections. For more information about instructor-paced and self-paced courses, see Setting Course Pacing.

By default, a subsection inherits the release date and time of the section it is in. You can change the release date of the subsection to another date.

Published units are not visible to learners until the scheduled release date and time. When the section and subsection have different release schedules, published units are not visible until both dates have passed.

Prior to release, content is visible to course team members by previewing the course or viewing the live course as staff.


When you set release times in Studio, times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). You might want to verify that you have specified the times that you intend by using a time zone converter such as Time and Date Time Zone Converter.

Learners who have specified a time zone in their account settings see course dates and times converted to their specified time zone. Learners who have not specified a time zone in their account settings see course dates and times on their dashboards, in the body of the course, and on their Progress pages in the time zone that their browsers specify. Learners see other course dates and times in UTC.

For more information about setting release dates in an instructor-paced course, see the following topics.

6.7.2. Unit Publishing Status

You publish units to make them visible to learners. In both instructor-paced and self-paced courses, units must be published to be visible to learners. Learners see the last published version of a unit if the section and subsection it is in are released.

Learners do not see units that have never been published, and they do not see unpublished changes to units or components within units. Therefore, you can make changes to units in released subsections without disrupting the learner experience.

For more information, see Unit Publishing Statuses.

You can publish all changes in a section or subsection at once, or publish changes to individual units. For more information about publishing units, see the following topics.

6.7.3. Hiding Content from Learners

You can hide content from learners in both instructor-paced and self-paced courses. Such content is never visible to learners, regardless of the release and publishing status.

You might hide a unit from learners, for example, when that unit contains an answer to a problem in another unit of that subsection. After the problem’s due date, you could make the unit with the answer visible.

You might also hide a unit from learners if you want to use that unit to provide instructions or guidance meant only for the course team. Only course team members would see that unit in the course.


As a best practice, do not hide sections, subsections, or units that contain graded content. When the platform performs grading for a learner, the grading process does not include problems that are not included in the course navigation for that learner. For more details, see Hiding Graded Content.

You can hide content at different levels, as described in the following topics.


Units and subsections inherit visibility settings from their parent subsections or sections. Be aware that when you make a previously hidden section or subsection visible to learners, all child subsections or units also become visible, unless you have explicitly hidden the subsection or unit. Subsections or units that are explicitly hidden remain hidden even when you change the visibility of their parent section or subsection. Hiding Graded Content

Grading is affected if you hide sections, subsections, or units that contain graded problems in such a way that they are not included in the course navigation. When the platform performs grading for a learner, the grading process does not include problems that are not included in the course navigation for that learner.


Grading is not affected when you hide the content of a subsection or a timed exam based on due dates. For more information, see Timed Exams and Hide a Subsection after Its Due Date.

6.7.4. Content Groups

If you have cohorts enabled in your course, you can use content groups to designate particular components in your course as visible only to specific groups of learners.

For details, see Content Groups and Creating Cohort-Specific Course Content.

6.7.5. Configuring Prerequisite Course Subsections

You can hide subsections of your course until learners complete other, prerequisite subsections. If a subsection has a prerequisite, it is not visible in the course navigation unless a learner has earned a minimum score in the prerequisite subsection. Enable Subsection Prerequisites

To enable prerequisite subsections in a course, follow these steps.

  1. From the Settings menu, select Advanced Settings.
  2. In the Enable Subsection Prerequisites field, enter true.
  3. Select Save Changes. Create a Prerequisite Subsection

To prevent learners from seeing a subsection of your course until they have earned a minimum score in a prerequisite subsection, follow these steps.


Make sure that you configure subsection prerequisites in the order that you intend for learners to encounter them in the course content. The prerequisite configuration controls do not prevent you from creating a circular chain of prerequisites that will permanently hide them from learners.

  1. Enable subsection prerequisites for your course. For more information, see Enable Subsection Prerequisites.

  2. Select the Configure icon for the subsection that must be completed first. This is the prerequisite subsection.

    A subsection in the course outline with the configure icon indicated.
  3. Select the Access tab.

  4. Select Use as a Prerequisite > Make this subsection available as a prerequisite to other content.

  5. Select Save.

  6. Select the Configure icon for the subsection that will be hidden until the prerequisite is met.

  7. Select the Access tab.

  8. In the Limit Access > Prerequisite menu, select the name of the subsection you want to specify as the prerequisite.

  9. Enter the percent of the total score that learners must earn in the Minimum Score field. A learner’s score for all problems in the prerequisite subsection must be equal to or greater than this percentage in order to satisfy the prerequisite and display the current subsection.

    For example, if the prerequisite subsection includes four problems and each problem is worth the same number of points, set the Minimum Score to 75 to require at least three correct answers.

  10. Select Save.

  11. In the course outline, if a subsection has a prerequisite, the prerequisite name appears under the subsection name.