Post updated November 13, 2017
We have to admit...we’re pretty proud of how far WP Courseware has come!
When we first conceptualized the plugin in 2011, we had no idea just how popular it would become. Thanks to you, our very intelligent and responsive user community, we’ve been able to integrate customer feedback to develop the leading choice for utilizing WordPress as a learning management system.
While there are many LMS options on the web, WP Courseware leads the way in ease of use and affordability. We’ve done our best to include a robust feature set without bogging you down with complex technical requirements or bloated code.
As you may know, we recently hired a new lead developer for WP Courseware (you can read about it here) and he's leading the charge to begin adding a number of powerful new features. You’ll be the first to know as we roll these exciting new features out.
However, there are a few simple and, more importantly, free third-party WordPress plugins that we use on our own training sites powered by WP Courseware to extend its functionality. Today, we wanted to share our favorites with you so that you can consider using them in your own projects.
1. Theme My Login
Let’s face it. There’s nothing pretty about the default gray WordPress user login panel.
If you’re attempting to deliver professional and attractive training courses with WordPress, sending your registered users to this default screen can be confusing and inconsistent with your brand.
The Theme My Login plugin, from Jeff Farthing, has become an incredibly popular free solution for styling your WordPress registration, login, and forgot password screens to match the look and feel of your site.
By default, the plugin includes built-in CSS which will attempt to automatically match your current theme. Handy with CSS? Why not try creating your own template to fully customize your user-facing pages?
2. Export Users to CSV
As you may know, WP Coursware utilizes the default WordPress user management system. And if you’re using WP Courseware with a membership management plugin, it’s more than likely that your membership plugin of choice does the same. So where does all of that user data go? Well, it’s stored in complex MySQL database tables. And what happens when you want to export student information from your WP Courseware training course?
Simple! Just download, install, and activate the Export Users to CSV plugin recently adopted by our friend and developer Matt Cromwell, one of the founders behind the Give WordPress donation plugin.
With the click of a button (no kidding!), you’ll be able to download a CSV file which can then be used as a text file or spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel of iWork Numbers. After that, the sky is the limit. Pretty cool, huh?
3. Pretty Links Lite
We use a lot of multimedia files within our course units. At the end of each training unit in WP Courseware, we like to wrap everything up in a nice tidy PDF, which we customize and style in Keynote (or PowerPoint if you’re on a PC). Then it’s as simple as uploading the PDF to your WordPress media library and placing a link to it within the course unit.
So what’s the big deal? It’s ugly! This is what we get when we place a link to the media file in the course unit:
We can do better! With Pretty Links Lite, we can create a nice looking URL which redirects to this file. For example, we could shorten up the above URL to look like this:
You don’t even need to use the file extension! It’s clean and more importantly, uniform and memorable.
4. User Switching
When using WP Courseware, you're most likely logged in as an administrator when you are creating courses or adding course content. Need to quickly take a peek at your changes just as a student would? No problem!
The User Switching plugin by John Blackbourne allows you to toggle between user accounts with the click of a button. Obviously, this has a number of handy applications for WordPress developers. It's also compatible with multisite, BuddyPress, and BBPress.
Are there other third-party plugins that you’re using with WP Courseware? We’d love to hear about them!