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Sep 6, 2021

Getting started with Open Edx course

A Quick Guide to Develop and Run a CEPHEI Course on OpenEdx

Teacher Manual. Download guide in pdf


This manual gives a short overview for teachers to develop and run a course on OpenEdx. It focuses on the essential elements of the course development process and provide a step by step instruction for course creation, course structure design, course content development and assessment options. 

Please be aware that this process only provides the basic components to develop and run a course on OpenEdx, it’s up to the teachers to adjust this process and make it suitable to different teaching and learning situations at their universities. 

Platform Overview 

The CEPHEI Platform consists of multiple components, serving its own purpose. The main entrance of the CEPHEI platform is based on a CMS (Content Management System) called “Webhare” (https://www.cephei.eu/en/) and is a portal to collect courses for the CEPHEI partners, as well for students searching for courses. 

The courses are being taught primarily in an LMS (Learning Management System), which is available (linked) from the CMS with the course description. For the CEPHEI project, OpenEx is chosen as our LMS. The OpenEdx environment exists of 2 separated environments:

Create a course

  1. Go to the learning platform https://learn.cephei.eu/ and click “Register Now” to create an account:

  1. Fill out your details, including a valid email address
  2. An email with an activation link is send to the email address provided. 

Request a course

Please request a course via the contact person at your university. This person will create a course and add you as a “teacher” to the course. 

Note: This might take up to a day, until the administrator has approved your request.

Adjust course setting 

  1. After your course is created, go to the learning platform Studio https://studio.edunext.co, and sign in to manage course design.
  2. Select your course, then “Settings” -> “Schedule & Details”, and upload a “Course Card Image”:

Design course structure

  1. Select your course to edit.
  2. If you are not in the “Course Outline”, go to “Content” -> “Outline”. You can start organizing your course by using create sections, subsections, and units in the course outline. 

An OpenEdx Course structure/outline exists of 3 levels (“Building and Running an edX Course,” n.d.): 

  1. Sections: Main Section, for instance “Week 1 - Introduction”
  2. Subsections: To group content
  3. Units: This is where the content goes. (Text, Quiz, Video, Etc.)

  1. Create a Section & Subsection 

The following diagram summarizes the course structure creation workflow (“Building and Running an edX Course,” n.d.). For more information, check out the official OpenEdx documentation site: https://edx.readthedocs.io/projects/edx-partner-course-staff/en/latest/developing_course/workflow.html#understanding-course-building-blocks) :

Diagram of the content creation process

Develop Course content 

By default, there are four basic types of components for you to add to a Unit (“Building and Running an edX Course,” n.d.). 


Videos are recommended to be hosted on a separated platform. Primarily OpenEdx uses YouTube as the preferred hosting platform. Since YouTube is not accessible in all countries worldwide, a “self-hosted” video platform subscription has been made on AmazonWS.

For teachers to upload and use the video’s on the learning platform, it is required that the video files are uploaded in .mp4 format.

  1. Through Youtube:
  2. Upload a video to YouTube through: https://studio.youtube.com. In case you don’t have rights to upload video through the YouTube Studio, contact CEPHEI administrator for support.  
  3. Place the video in OpenEdx, using the YouTube video ID.

In order to put subtitles for a video, YouTube Studio allows to give free subtitles (transcripts) once you upload your video. This method is valid for these languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Best working option is English.  For more information, check the documentation of the CEPHEI project: “Implementation of Subtitles for Open edX Videos”. 

  1. Through Amazon
  2. Upload a video to Amazon through: https://console.aws.amazon.com/s3/buckets/cephei-videos/. In case you don’t have rights to upload video through Amazon, contact CEPHEI administrator for support.  For more information, check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsLpMLvLXY8Place the video in OpenEdx, using the Amazon video ID.

Assessment Options 

You can use a “Problem” for formative assessments. The image below lists some simple question types available: 

Note: if you would like students to upload files to you as an assignment submission, then you need to choose Open Response Assessment option under the Advanced tab. 


We advise you to choose different types of Problems to deliver a formative assessment for each Unit. This allows you to provide frequent and continuous feedback for students to improve their learning outcomes. 


If you would like students to receive a certificate, a separate subsection is needed to include all the graded components.

For more information, check the next chapter: Grading and Certificate

Grading and Certificate

It’s possible for students to receive a certificate upon successfully passing a course on OpenEdx. 

The following steps are to be taken:



Any changes that you make to the course grading policy, to graded subsections, or to graded components after the course begins will affect learners’ grades and their experience in the course as well as analysis of course data.

We recommend that you announce any unavoidable grading related changes to learners by using, for example, updates on the Course page. You should also carefully track such changes for researchers.

After a student earns a passing grade in a course, View Certificate option is visible on the course dashboard and the course Progress page. Select View Certificate to open the certificate in a browser. 

The image below gives an impression of a course certificate: 


Building and Running an edX Course. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://edx.readthedocs.io/projects/edx-partner-course-staff/en/latest/index.html