Online Course Versioning vs. Modifying - Overview

There are two ways to make updates to an online course. When an online course requires updates, the administrator can either reversion the course or modify the course:

  • Reversion - Reversioning a course creates a new version of the online course, with a new version number.
  • Modify - Modifying a course allows administrators to make minor modifications to an online course WITHOUT creating a new version.

Note: Content Publisher functionality is only available after it has been activated in your portal. To access Content Activation Preferences, go to Admin > Tools > Learning > Learning Preferences and click the Content Activation Preferences link.

When should you reversion a class vs. modify a course?

Online Class Update method

type of update


The versioning process is the appropriate choice for major changes to an online class, and administrators can control who receives the new version of the online class.

Modify The online class modification process allows administrators to make minor updates to an online class without creating a new version. Within the legacy Course Publisher functionality, the process similar to modifying a class is referred to as "Replace Files."

Online Course Update Scenarios

Examples of Needed Changes Major or minor?

Appropriate update method

Use Cases

The following changes are examples of major online course changes which require you to reversion the course:

  • Replacing a segment of the course
  • Making substantive updates to the course content
  • Modifying the course structure, such as by adding or removing a SCO (Sharable Content Object)
  • Adding or removing a quiz
  • Removing or adding resources such as audio, video, animations, pdfs, etc.

This list of examples is not an exhaustive list of changes which necessitate a new online course version.

Any update which causes a change to the course manifest file forces you to reversion the online course.

If you are using course publishing software (e.g., Lectora or Captivate), which regenerates all files including the manifest file, when you publish, then any change would be rejected because the manifest file changed.

Major Changes

Reversion the online course

Holly, an instructional designer and learning administrator at Ventonix, is responsible for creating online courses and uploading them to her organization's portal. Following a quarterly release, Holly needs to update a collection of online courses about Ventonix's product in order to keep the courses up-to-date. She needs to replace the quizzes in two classes, add a few lines of audio to one course, and add sections to two more courses.

Once Holly makes all these changes to her online courses, each class' files structure is changed from its original structure, which means changes are needed to each manifest file, and she is required to reversion each of the five courses.

She uses the Create Version option on the Course Console pages for the courses, uploads her new course files, configures versioning options, and decides who will receive the new course versions on their transcripts, ensuring that people continue to receive accurate information from the online course collection.

The following changes are examples of minor online course changes which can be accomplished using the option to modify the course:

  • Fixing typos in the online course closed captioning
  • Removing background noise from an audio clip
  • Making minor edits to a slide's graphics or text

There is no exhaustive list of "minor changes" that are allowed. The only validation that prevents you from using the Modify Content option is that there cannot be any changes to the manifest file. Beyond that, you can change other files in the course package at your own risk. Administrators should do sufficient testing to ensure they've maintained backward compatibility with their changes; users who are in progress on the pre-modified course, with saved "suspend data," need to be able to resume the modified course without issue.

Note: Any changes made to the metadata of the online course via the Course Catalog or Course Console, such as description, keywords, and subjects, DO NOT trigger a new version of the class.

Minor Changes Modify the online course

Andy, an instructional designer and learning administrator at ACME Corp, is responsible for creating online courses and uploading them to the portal. He has just noticed a typo in the closed captioning text for one of the slides in his Employee Benefits online course. He wants to quickly fix this minor typo without having to create a whole new version of the online course.

Andy incorporates the fix into his course files and then navigates to the Course Console for the course and clicks the Modify Content option in the Content section.

Since the manifest file is unchanged, he is then able to upload his zipped files and seamlessly fix the course typo without generating a new version.

Online Course Versioning

The course reversioning process is comprised of two steps:

When reversioning a course, you can either replace the original version or append the original version:

Reversioning an online course impacts any curricula the course is contained within:

Online Course Modification

For information about modifying an online course to make a simple change, See Modify an Online Course.