How to Create Your own Online Lessons and Courses With Versal.com

by Ben Oren on October 31, 2013

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Create Rich Web-based Courses with Ease, for Free, Using Versal!

I frequently get questions about how to create online courses. While we all wish we had access to our own LMS/CMS, many educators don’t (especially in K-12), so free options like this are great to know about! – KW

Have you ever needed or wanted to create an online course but did not know where to start? If so, you are not alone (and in this article, the marketing experts at Dynamic Search will show you how easy it is using Versal.com!). Versal provides a free service that allows you to completely design and create an online course without ever having to worry about trying to code. Many people are still hesitant, however, because they fear that using the program will prove to be just as difficult as coding and as a result have a hard time figuring out how to use it. This could not be further from the truth. Versal is easy to use and easy to navigate, and they take all of the guess-work out of creating a course – all you have to do is have the knowledge that needs to go into the course and how to set-up a lesson plan.

Getting Started

Versal.com is the place to go when you want to create an online course but do not know how to code. Their website is very user-friendly and visually attractive, they make the process of creating a course very simple for even the most technically challenged person. Getting started with Versal.com is very simple and easy, all you have to do is log on to their website, where you will see a page like this:

VersalHomePage

Just click the button that says “create a course”, or on the “Get Started” button. You will be taken to sign-in page, if you do not already have an account there is a link just below the sign-in box that says “don’t have an account? Sign up here”. On the sign-up page, you will have to fill in your first name, last name, email address, and choose a password. After you have created an account you will be taken to the course design page, which will look like this:

VersalCreateCoursePage

Now you can create the course and lessons.

Picking a Course Title

The first thing to do after getting started is pick a course title. It can be anything that you want, as long or short as is necessary. Click where it says “untitled course” and type in the new course name, then hit enter to save it. If you change your mind about the title later, simply click on the title, backspace the old one and type in the new one, again hit enter to save it. The title can be changed at any time.

The First Lesson

Now you can move on to setting up the contents of your first lesson. Start by picking a lesson title, the title should be short and to the point but can be anything you choose. To set the lesson title, click where it says “Untitled lesson” and input your title choice, then hit the enter button to save it. Just like the course title, the lesson title can be changed later if you decide that something else would be better.

Next take a look at all of the options on the left of the screen, choose what you need such as a header, a text block, image, video, a quiz, or other lesson tool. After you choose what you want, click on it and hold down the mouse button and drag the icon over to the blank lesson page. If you choose to start with a text block it will look like this

Then click on where it says “Enter text” and type away. Keep adding text, images, videos, and headers etc. until you are satisfied with the finished lesson. You can always add or delete or edit gadgets until you are completely satisfied with the lesson. After you finish with the first lesson, you can add as many more as you need and set them up in the same manner as the first one, adding gadgets and editing them until you are happy with how it looks.

Using and Managing “Gadgets”

Versal’s “Gadgets” provide tools that make it easy to add an array of functionality to your course. This is where much of the power of Versal comes from. Once you’ve used a particular gadget, if you need to move it, just hover over the left side of the gadget and you will see an icon directly (above the trashcan) that looks like horizontal lines, when you move your cursor over it the cursor icon turns into arrows. Click and hold after your cursor icon becomes arrows and move the gadget up or down on the page as you see fit, when you are done simply release the mouse button. If you end up with too many gadgets or the wrong ones, just hover over the left side of the gadget and you will the trashcan icon, click it and the gadget will be gone.

Finishing

Keep adding to your course until it is completed; add graphs, quizzes, flow charts and other teaching aids until each lesson is complete. After you finish with your course, Versal.com offers you the option to create more courses on as many subjects as you wish to work on. Your work is automatically saved every time you complete a section and hit enter as well as every so many minutes. Any time that you need to leave your work and come back to it simply leave the page and then, when you are ready to start again, log back in and open the course that you wish to work on.

Sharing Your Course

You can publish your course using a URL, embed code, or share it via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, so it’s easy to provide access (and the availability of embed code opens up possibilities for managing the course’s privacy).

If you give Versal a try (or have already), please comment and tell us about your experience!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Create Digital Learning Content By Easily Combining Parts of One or More Videos with Images, Text, and Audio using Metta
Tackk – An Easy Free Tool for Creating Digital Assignments, Blended or Flipped Content
8 Great Free Flipped and Blended Learning Teaching Resources

About 

Ben Oren specializes in handling web marketing efforts and boosting online conversion for large corporations in highly competitive niches, mostly in the US and Europe. Ben Oren is the Head Marketing Consultant at Dynamic Search™ - a US based, reputable web marketing agency handling small and medium clients worldwide. He is also the Director of Web Marketing at WhiteWeb technologies.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Walsh February 23, 2014 at 6:43 am

Hi Bryan – Thanks for the feedback. I had taken Versal for a quick spin to validate Ben’s assertion and did find it very quick as pretty easy to use, but I did not stumble across theses limitation you cite as I just didn’t happen to try to do those things at the time. I just went back now and poked around to see if these functions were there but just not obvious, and I could not find them. I can insert a URL into a Text box, but it doesn’t work. Either having a ‘gadget’ for this or letting a URL work from within a text box would really seem to be a pretty fundamental requirement. This seems like a pretty big oversight. I submitted a request to address this on their Support page. As for uploading a PDF, I can see they do not allow any files to be uploaded (this is a fundamental, and costly addition, because then they would have to store sizable independent content, as opposed to just HTML). They DO allow Google Docs to be embedded, so if a document were converted to Google Doc format, that could be one way to accommodate this.

Bryan Dailey February 22, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I tried Versal. It seems to be very unfinished. I cannot find ways to:

-Add a link to another web site
-Upload a PDF file
-Create a discussion board
-Create an assignment submission link (aka “drop box”)
-Create a means to communicate in real time (chat or collaboration area)

I like that Versal is “clean” but it needs more features to be useful. The site says it’s in “Beta” .. but it feels more like an “Alpha.” It’s also not mobile-friendly. A modern day learning system needs to be mobile-friendly.

Cheers,
B. Dailey

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