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Publishing Guide

Catholic Online School – Publishing Guide v2.3 
'Help children fall in love with learning'
The purpose of our Publishing Guide is to teach you how to build a course.


Table of Contents

  1. Creating the Course in the School
  2. Posting the Course
  3. Reviewing the Course
  4. The Lesson Plan

Creating the Course in the School 

Creating the Course – There are two ways to create a course; duplicate an existing course and change the content within or create a new course. This guide will walk you through both processes.

Steps to create a new course.

Click “+ New Course” in the upper, right-hand corner of the Courses screen.


You will see a menu with several options. Choose “Blank.”

Next, name your course. Then, click “Create Course.”

After you click “Create Course,” you will see a page that says, “Let’s build your course!”

Look for the button in the lower left that reads, “Add Chapter.”

 Click “Add Chapter.”

Once done, you will see this screen. This is where you will enter the title of your chapter.

Some courses may have only one “chapter.” In such a case, you may use the same name for the chapter as the course name. This prevents students from being confused once they are inside the course.

Other courses will have many chapters, such as a course that lasts many days or sessions. In that case, the chapter names will be unique.

Under chapters, we will add “lessons.”

There is a menu of templates for lessons, which we will see in a moment.

Take note of the option to “Set new lessons to draft by default.” Leave this unchecked unless you wish to hide portions of the course from students for some reason, such as the quiz.

Note: When a course is published, draft lessons remain in draft, and are invisible to students. To make them visible, lessons must be removed from draft. Drafting lessons is a good way to keep content from appearing and confusing students before you are ready to show it to them. Common examples include future parts of a course (you do not want students to skip or look ahead), and parts of a course that you are still creating, or an upcoming quiz.

Name your chapter and choose whether or not to set new lessons to draft based on your needs.

IMPORTANT! Click “Save” as you step through this process to save your work.

Now, it is time to add a lesson.

Note: A lesson is often a portion of a lesson plan. For example, a video portion, or a quiz, or a download, or an assignment & etc.. Do not let this confuse you. Many courses, even those designed to last for a single class period, may have multiple lessons.

Click the “+ Add Lesson” button and choose which kind of lesson you wish to add.

From here, you will add lessons and chapters as needed to build your course.

Next, we will look at how to use a duplicated course as a template for a new course.

How to build a new course from a duplicated course.

You may find it easier to use a duplicated course to build your new course.  Duplicated courses have all the lessons already created, but you will still have to change the content in the course.

Note: A course will have to be duplicated for you by a Site Administrator.

Locate your duplicated course. The course will be in “Draft” form. It will also read, “Copy of” in the name. Click on this course to begin editing it. Most often this course is found at the bottom of the “Courses” page.

Once you click on the course to edit it, you will see a page that looks like this.

Your first step is to edit the lesson names. The fastest way to do this is in the “Bulk Importer.” Click “Bulk Importer” at the top.

Note: You can also rename the lessons by clicking on each section, renaming them, and clicking save afterwards. The Bulk Importer is just a little faster to use. But beware! Changes in the Bulk Importer take effect immediately, without the need to “save” them. This is different from changes made within each Lesson. A change made to a lesson must be saved to become permanent. The only exception to this is when deleting a video, which will also happen instantly without requiring you to hit “save.”

This is also the place to delete surplus lessons. The “trash” icons allow you to delete any lesson. Remember, this is an instant deletion.

IMPORTANT! Leave the - VIDEO, - QUIZ & etc. extensions on the names. This makes it easy for others to see exactly what is in each lesson.
This is also the place to delete surplus lessons. The “trash” icons allow you to delete any lesson. Remember, this is an instant deletion.
If you delete a lesson by mistake, you can recreate the lesson using the “Add Lesson” button at the bottom left of the screen. Be sure to choose the correct type of lesson (quiz, text, video, download, etc.).

Copy lesson allows you to copy a lesson from another lesson if it is on your Courses page.
If you need to re-order the lessons, they can be dragged and dropped into place. Look for the eight dots stacked vertically. Move your cursor over these dots, then click and drag the lesson where it needs to be.

Now that the course is ordered and named, it is time to fill in the curriculum.

Posting the Course

Editing/Uploading Your Course Content – With your course created, and the lesson names changed, it is time to edit the curriculum. Click on “Curriculum” in the upper left corner. ON the left side of the screen, you will see all of the lessons in your course. You can scroll through these as needed. A methodical approach is best, so that you do not miss anything. This guide will start at the top and work through the procedure for posting curriculum.

INTRODUCTION – The introduction is a “text” section and it should contain four elements. 

  • An image at the top that is appealing to learners.
  • The “Students will learn about…” portion copied from the lesson plan. 
  • The “By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:” portion copied from the lesson plan.
  • The “Student Study Guide:” portion which should contain all the questions a student will see on their quiz.

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.

Note, the text is centered. Students will see what they will learn about, what they will be expected to do when they have completed the lesson, and the questions they will be asked in the quiz.

RESOURCES for STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS – This is the resource page that features general resources for students, parents, and teachers. This section provides students with access to a large and powerful library of Catholic content. Catholic Online is the World’s Catholic Library, and students will find the Bible, Catholic Encyclopedia, Daily Readings, a Liturgical Calendar, and much more, including our vast library of You Tube videos.

If you have duplicated your course from a previous course, this page should be duplicated and should not need any work. You may move on to the next lesson.

If this page has not been duplicated, or if there is a problem, you will need to reproduce the page. Use the following steps to reproduce the page.

  1. Choose another course, and under the Curriculum tab, locate the “Resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers” section. Click that section.
  2. The content will appear for editing. WARNING! Do not edit this content, your goal is simply to copy it. Click anywhere in the box where the resources appear.
  3. Hit CTRL – A on your keyboard to select all the content in the box. [CMD - A on Mac]
  4. Hit CTRL – C to copy the material. [CMD - C on Mac]
  5. Return to the Resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers section in your lesson.
  6. Click inside the box. IMPORTANT! Make sure there is nothing in the box at this time. If anything is in the box, delete the content so the box is blank.
  7. Hit CTRL – P to paste the content in the box. [CMD - V on Mac]

STUDY GUIDE – This is where we place the study guide, often called “lesson plan.” The lesson plans in Catholic Online School are complete, since they are used by teachers, catechists, and homeschoolers, as well as by students learning on their own for enrichment.

Note: To learn more about our Lesson Plan format, see our Lesson Plan Guide below.

  1. If you have copied a course, there will be an existing study guide in the “Uploaded PDF File section.” Click the garbage can icon to delete the existing file. [See: 1 in the example below.]
  2. After deleting the existing file, you will now see the Drag & Drop PDF box appear. There are two ways to upload your PDF. The first is to drag and drop the file into the box, or you can click the “Select Files” button and select your PDF. [See: 2 in the example below.]
  • IMPORTANT! – Make sure the box, “Make this PDF content downloadable is checked on. This allows a person to download a copy of the study guide.

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.


VIDEO – The video should be the heart of your lesson, where direct instruction is delivered to the student.

Before you begin, there may already be a video uploaded to the lesson, which is normal when the lesson is duplicated from another. Click the “x” to delete the video. [See: 1 in the example below.]

There are three ways to get your video into this section. 

  1. Drag the video file from your computer (desktop) to the “Drag & Drop video file here” portion of the webpage.
  2. Click the “Select Files” button in the middle of the screen and choose the file you wish to upload.
  3. If the video you wish to use has already been uploaded to our library of videos, do not upload the video again. Instead, use the “Select a video from your library” option. This is a drop-down bar just above the section where you can drag and drop a video. Click inside the bar and scroll or begin typing the name of the video you wish to use. When the name of the correct video appears, select it, and click save.
  4. When the video is uploaded, you will see its name in the “Videos from your library box". [See: 2 in the example below.]

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.



QUIZ – The quiz is a short assessment intended to check student understanding after completing a lesson.

  • Edit the existing question bank as needed. There are two question types you can choose, “One correct answer” or “One or more correct answer.” All questions are multiple choice.
  • Type the question into the question box.
  • Enter the answers for the question in the “Choice” boxes below. If you need more choices, click the “Add Choice” button.
  • Make sure you mark the correct answer or answers by checking the small box next to the text that reads “This is the correct answer.” This box is at the bottom of each choice.
  • You should have at least two choices per question (True/False, correct answer/1 wrong answer) but you can include more if desired.
  • Add questions as needed.
  • You may delete a question by clicking on the vertical ellipses to the right of each question. This is at the top of the question box. [See: 1 in the example below.]
  • You may re-order questions and answers as needed. To re-order your questions or answers, look for the mini-tab in the upper left of the box, next to the Question or choice number. Drag and drop the question into the desired order. [See: 2 in the example below.]


IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.

Settings – Once your content is posted, you are almost ready to publish your course. However, there are several key steps that must be completed for the benefit of the user experience. Click the “Settings” tab at the top.


Basic Settings – This is where you will edit the course name, subtitle, URL, and instructor. 

  • Course Name – This is the full name of your course. In a duplicated course, you will see the prefix “Copy-of-.” Delete this where it appears.
  • Course Subtitle – This is where you put the subtitle of your course. It may be somewhat redundant with the full course name. That’s okay.
  • Course URL – This is the URL that will appear at the top of the page when the course is being edited. It also establishes the URL for students when the course is published. Enter the title of the course, but do not use upper case letters or spaces. Upper case letters will not make much difference, but the system will not display them as upper case. Do not use spaces, or you will not be able to save your work in this section. Instead, separate words with a single dash. Do not use any special characters. WARNING! - Pay attention to any error messages that appear when you try to save your changes.
  • IMPORTANT! – There are a few common errors to watch for. Spaces can be inserted inadvertently, or even at the end of the url. Delete these. The course URL can already exist (your URL is not unique). When this happens, you will get the error message, “Course Slug Already Taken.” The solution is to change the URL to something unique.
  • In a duplicated course, you will see the prefix “Copy-of-.” Delete this where it appears.
  • Choose Your Instructor – Use the pull-down menu to choose an instructor. If the instructor is new and does not appear in the list, you will have to contact our Site Admin or your assigned Course Admin to add them as an instructor for the school.
  • Delete this Course – Will delete the entire course. It is permanent. You should NEVER delete a course unless explicitly authorized.

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.

Course Image & Description – The course card is the image that students will see when they look at the course in the school.

  • The image should be edited to the dimensions of 760px by 420px.
  • Upload the image by clicking “UPLOAD” and selecting the image from your computer.
  • Course Description – This is the text that appears below the image for the student.
    • Please add your course description here.

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.

Course Player appearance. - Please ignore this section and MAKE NO CHANGES to it.

IMPORTANT! Some sections and options have been omitted from the guide because they are not subject to change, and do not need to be addressed by the instructor/uploader.

  • Course Progress & Completion – This is where you configure two key video options for the student, as well as turn on the option for a Completion Certificate.
  • Video Lesson Autoplay – This option turns the autoplay feature on or off. Autoplay makes the video start playing for the student as soon as the page loads. If the autoplay if off, students will have to click a play button to begin playing the video. For our purposes, Autoplay should always be on. IMPORTANT! – Make sure Autoplay is always checked ON.
  • Video Completion (%) required – This is how much of the video a student is required to play to complete the section. This should be set to “ON” and “100%” at all times.
  • Completion Certificates – Leave unchecked. If certificate is needed, please contact your Site Admin.
  • Custom completion page – Leave checked.

IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.


Page code - Please ignore this section and MAKE NO CHANGES to it.

Admins & revenue partners - Please ignore this section and MAKE NO CHANGES to it.

SEO Settings – This is where you will adjust the search engine optimization options. These are important because they allow students to search for and find our content online.

  • SEO Title – Enter the course title as it will be shown in internet browsers.
  • SEO Description – Enter the course description as it will appear below the title in internet browsers.
  • Course Keywords – Enter any keywords, separated by commas.


IMPORTANT! – Click save once you are finished, otherwise your work will be lost when you move to another section.

Drip, Pricing, and After purchase - Please ignore these sections and MAKE NO CHANGES TO THEM.

Once done, click “Request Approval” for your course. This will submit the course for review and publication.

Reviewing Your Course

  • Checking Your Work – All work you complete should be checked from the web. This includes reviewing the work from the student’s perspective.
  • Look for the “Preview Course” button in the upper right corner of your screen. Click this to see the course as a student would.

Use the following list to check your work.


  • Lesson Title
  • Introduction
  • Resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers
  • Study Guide
  • Video
  • Quiz

NOTE: Use the “Complete & Continue” button on the bottom of the page to advance through the lessons.


  • Check image (make sure it is centered and looks large and attractive.)
  • Section Header Bold (Student will learn about…)
  • Bulleted Objectives
  • Outcomes Bold
  • Bulleted Outcomes
  • Study Guide Bold
  • Instructions for questions
  • Questions numbered
  • All items center justified.

Click “Complete & Continue” to move to the Resources Page.


  • Make sure this page appears.

Study guide

  • Make sure the correct Study Guide appears for the student.


  • Make sure the correct video appears and begins playing.


  • Questions
  • Answers
  • Check correct answers selected
  • Explanation for answers appears
  • Take your quiz; the best way to check your quiz is to take it!

Checklist for settings:

Settings - Basic Settings

  • Course name
  • Course URL
  • Instructor

Course Image & Description

  • Course Image (760x420)
  • Course description


  • SEO Title
  • SEO Description
  • Course Keywords


Lesson Plan Guide

The Header:

Each page should have a header.

Course Name

Lesson Number - Lesson Name

Lesson Plan


Example 1:

Explore the Bible

Lesson - Elijah’s Chariot of Fire

Lesson Plan


Example 2:

Note, the grade level may be indicated first on some lessons.

Grade 4 - From Babylon to Jesus

Lesson 2 - John the Baptist

Lesson Plan


The Overview:

The overview will give students and teachers an idea of what they are about to learn. Bullet the specific things students will learn.

Each bullet point should be a single line in length.



Students will learn the Israelites spent 40 years in the desert:

  • Students will learn the people grumbled against God.
  • Students will learn God let the people wander in the desert for 40 years.
  • Students will learn God eventually gave the Israelites the Promised Land.


The Table of Contents:

You should have a table of contents for every lesson. This will provide students and teachers with a list of what is included in the lesson.


  1. Cover Page / Lesson Plan
  2. Table of Contents / Overview
  3. Introduction
  4. Interactive Video/ Interactive Video Script
  5. Study Guide
  6. Printouts
  7. Quiz
  8. Quiz Answer Key
  9. Supplementals / Educational Resources


The Introduction:

The introduction tells students and teachers what specific outcomes they should expect to achieve by the end of the lesson.

Use the phrase, “By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:”.

There should be one bullet point for each specific outcome you want students to achieve. Each point should include a verb which indicates how the student will be evaluated. For example, students will be able to explain, write, list, do, & etc..



By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain what happened when the people grumbled against God.
  • Explain why God let them wander in the desert for 40 years.
  • Explain where God led His people.

The Video:

This is where you put the full text of your video script. This allows students to read along with the video. The script and the video text should match exactly, word-for-word.

The Study Guide:

The study guide should tell students what to focus on in the lesson. The questions for the student assessment should be the same as, or close to the items on the study guide. In our Catechism courses, the items on the study guide match the assessment questions word-for-word. Other subjects will vary. For example, a math course will include the same kinds of problems, but not the exact same ones as on the assessment.

Make sure you leave ample space between items on the study guide for students to write full answers and notes.


Study Guide:


  1. Explain what happened when the people grumbled against God.






  1. Explain why God let the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years.







  1. Explain where God led His people.






The printouts section is for images, worksheets, additional readings or any other printable or supplemental materials you want students to have. Not every lesson will have a printout. Some lessons may have several printouts.



The quiz is how you will evaluate if a student has learned the material or not. It is intended to be a small assessment, not a major exam. Students may be invited to answer a question as ‘true or false,’ to make a list, or to provide a short answer. In our present software, questions are multiple choice with students asked to choose between two or more short answers.

There should be an assessment question for each bullet point listed in the learning objectives.


  1. What makes the Church unique as an organization?



  1. How is the Church protected?


Quiz Answer Key:

For most subjects, the answers to the quiz should be found within the video itself. Word-for-word is best, but not required. Answers may also be drawn from material in the printouts section. Some subjects will have exceptions, such as math, where the problems in the assessment will be of the same kind as those in the video, but otherwise unique.



  1. Explain what happened when the people grumbled against God. - God provided the people with water, quail, and everything they needed. But many still complained. 


  1. Explain why God let the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. - The Israelites were not ready to receive the gift of the Promised Land. Their time was a time of preparation when they slowly learned to trust God.


  1. Explain where God led His people. - Eventually, God led his people to the Promised Land.


Supplementals / Educational Resources:

Supplementals are links or printouts to additional content you’d like the students to have available, but do not require them to view as part of the current lesson.



Supplemental / Educational Resources:

Catholic Online - World’s Catholic Library


Catholic Bible (New Jerusalem Bible)


10 Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church


Popes of the Catholic Church


Catholic Encyclopedia