Optimised for the needs of universities and colleges from 5 years of experience within the HE sector, OnCourse is a premium WordPress plugin from SMILE that adds a Course Information System (CIS) to your website and can act as your single source of truth for course information, or integrate with third party systems with an API to serve data from an external source.
When engaging with HE staff and stakeholders on a day-to-day basis, as we do here at SMILE, it quickly becomes clear what users want from a CIS. They want to be able to create courses easily in a user-friendly environment that makes visual sense, regardless of their technical background. They want to be able to author modules, pass those modules between courses, edit specific custom fields in bulk and confidently store related media in a wide range of formats. They want a powerful and endlessly-customisable taxonomy system that can be used to template and filter content and for all of this metadata to be as easily imported and exported as the content itself. Above all, HE staff want to do what they do best and for the technology behind their work to empower rather than restrict them.
No sector moves faster or transforms so dramatically over time as the Higher Education sector. Course Information Systems need to be robust, of course, but they also need to be able to evolve with the business, and pretty quickly too. OnCourse has the flexibility to adapt to changes in the requirements of the institution, with, or without us. And by ‘us’ we mean institutions, we mean HE staff, and we also mean SMILE. Thanks to its open-source roots, you and your successors have the opportunity to recreate OnCourse in a free and open marketplace moving as far into the future as you can imagine.
It’s no secret that the sector is crying out for integrated approaches to course management that move away from the proprietary codebases of the past. We see absolutely no need for a CIS to be restrictive and inflexible with expensive licenses and heavyweight processing. That’s why we created OnCourse.
We understand that CMS dashboards can seem overwhelming, often containing multiple options, sections and subsections, some of which the average user never need visit. We also understand that not every member of staff will use the CIS for exactly the same purpose. Not to mention the levels of permissions required to ensure that no content is mistakenly or maliciously published by unauthorised people.
OnCourse takes advantage of the core WordPress infrastructure to create bespoke user roles with their own customisable permissions. This ensures each individual user sees only what they need to see, both from a governance perspective and from a user experience standpoint too. In fact, OnCourse works hand-in-hand with SMILE’s governance management system, Border Control, to construct a common-sense, robust and thoroughly audited workflow of create/edit/publish permissions across an organisation.
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