Create a Hidden Subsection

There are times when it makes sense to have hidden content in your course.  One way of doing that is by creating a hidden subsection.  This subsection will not be visible in the Courseware menu, even when viewing the section your subsection is in.

In the image below, we are looking at the the Hidden Content section in the Course Outline in Studio.  The following subsections can be seen here:

  1. Subsection 1
  2. Using Hidden Subsections in a Course
  3. Displaying and hiding content in a unit...
  4. Hide correctness

In this next image taken from the live course, we are looking at the Hidden Content section in the Courseware page.  Notice that here, only three subsections appear:

  1. Using Hidden Subsections in a Course
  2. Displaying and hiding content in a unit...
  3. Hide correctness

To set this up in your course, follow these steps:

  1. Create a subsection and add one or more units. 
  2. Publish the unit.
  3. From the unit page in Studio, hover your mouse over the subsection's breadcrumb link above the unit content.

  4. The URL that displays in the status bar at the bottom of the screen will show the location ID for that subsection. In the above example, the URL contains this string:


    The string following "sequential" is this subsection's location ID.  You'll need this string after you export your course.
  5. Go to Tools > Export.

  6. Click the blue "Export Course Content" button. You'll end up with a tar.gz file. 
  7. Unzip this file.
  8. Open the course in a code-editing program.
  9. Find the "sequential" folder, then find the XML file that matches the string you noted in step 4.
  10. The XML for your subsection will look something like this:

    <sequential display_name="Subsection 1">
    <vertical url_name="c74ed93121e6470c8b4a9d954bfc4a66"/>
    <vertical url_name="305fd6726c94406a860cc6d2ff6b0c38"/>
    <vertical url_name="d669b491f89048d3996ccc199e26275e"/>

  11. To hide this subsection, add these two attributes and values to the <sequential> tag (the start attribute is optional and you can change the start date as you see fit):

    hide_from_toc="true" start="2014-01-28T22:33:00Z"

  12. Your XML should now look like this:

    <sequential display_name="Subsection 1" hide_from_toc="true">
    <vertical url_name="c74ed93121e6470c8b4a9d954bfc4a66"/>
    <vertical url_name="305fd6726c94406a860cc6d2ff6b0c38"/>
    <vertical url_name="d669b491f89048d3996ccc199e26275e"/>

    or with a start date:

    <sequential display_name="Subsection 1" hide_from_toc="true" start="2014-01-28T22:33:00Z">
    <vertical url_name="c74ed93121e6470c8b4a9d954bfc4a66"/>
    <vertical url_name="305fd6726c94406a860cc6d2ff6b0c38"/>
    <vertical url_name="d669b491f89048d3996ccc199e26275e"/>

  13. Save your updated file.
  14. Zip the course file back up into a tar.gz file.
  15. Go to Tools > Import.
  16. Import the updated course file back into your course.
  17. In Studio, go back to the now-hidden subsection (still accessible in Studio in the Course Outline), click on a unit in the subsection, and click on the "View Live Version" button. 
  18. Copy the URL of the page you are taken to.

Now you have a URL to a hidden subsection, which you can then paste into another unit, or anywhere you please. The only way participants in your course will be able to access this subsection will be by clicking on a link to it.

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