You asked.

We listened.

Want to be able to batch enrollments so all of your students start on a specific date or schedule? We created a walkthrough to teach you exactly how to accomplish that with Teachable.

Why would you want to do this?

There are several reasons why online course creators would want to do this:

  • If all of your students go through the lectures at the same time (especially if it’s a drip course) you can generate discussions about specific topics using our comment functionality.
  • You might want to do a live introductory webinar to kick off the course on the start date.
  • If all of your lectures include live sessions, this format probably works best for you.
  • Some instructors include time-sensitive assignments for their students. If you’re like them, this allows you to have a single due date for all of your students.

How to automate scheduled enrollments with Teachable and Zapier

The basic overview of this process is that you’ll create two courses:

  • Course 1: a (mostly) empty course that students will pay for.
  • Course 2: an unpublished course containing all the actual content.

Then, you’ll use Zapier to enroll all Course 1 students into Course 2 after a delay, which you’ll specify, so they start the course on the day you want them to.

Important: Zapier Actions are only available for professional plans and higher.

Here’s the in-depth step-by-step process to achieve this.

  1. First, go ahead and create Course 1. This will be your student-facing course that they can see on your course directory and purchase.1-courseone.png
  1. On the sales page of Course 1, add all of the information that you would normally include to sell the course. Since this is the course students will see first, this is the one you should share and market.
  1. In Course 1, either create one lecture or set up an automatic email saying something like “Class will begin on April 15. You will automatically receive an email from us to get started!” This will let your students know when to expect the course content.3-comingsoonlecture.png
  1. Set up your pricing plan(s) for Course 1, and add any affiliates or authors so they get their share of the course revenue. (It’s important to do this here, because Course 2 will not have any pricing.)
  1. Now, you can start creating Course 2. Leave Course 1 unpublished for now, so nobody tries to enroll before the whole process is ready.
  1. Add all your course content to Course 2. If you want, you can also recreate the sales page you made on Course 1, but it’s not necessary to do so, as students shouldn’t see the Course 2 sales page once they’re enrolled.

Next, we’re going to head over to Zapier to set up the automation to enroll students from Course 1 into Course 2 on a schedule you specify.

  1. Make a new zap and select Teachable as the trigger app.7-chooseapp.png
  1. On the next step, choose New Enrollment as the Teachable trigger.8-newenrollment.png
  1. Choose the Teachable account (school) you want to use this zap on. If it’s your first time using Zapier and you haven’t connected an account yet, you’ll be prompted to do so here.9-selectaccount.png
  1. Now, Zapier will perform a test, using a previous enrollment in your school to get the data it needs to understand your zap. If you have no enrollments, you may want to create an alternate email address and enroll a fake user before you click the Fetch & Continue button.10-test.png
  1. Before you move on to the action step, you’ll need to create a filter so this zap only applies to Course 1. Click the small plus sign icon in between the trigger and action step to create an “Only continue if” filter.11-addfilter.png
  1. For the filter details, use “Course ID” and “Exactly Matches,” then put Course 1’s course ID into the third box. (It’s better to use the course ID for the filter instead of the course name, in case you want to change the name later.)12a-filterdetails.png

You can find your Course ID by going to the admin area of your course and looking in the URL. It’s highlighted in the screenshot below.12b-url.png

  1. When you’re done with the filter and click Continue, Zapier will run another test. After that, click the small plus icon again. This time, add an action instead of a filter--we’ll be using this intermediary action to add a delay between the main trigger and action steps of your zap. Search for “Delay” and choose the Delay by Zapier app.13-delayaction.png
  1. Choose the “Delay Until” action.14-delayuntil.png
  1. In this field, specify when in the future the action should be executed. Zapier is fairly flexible in the date-time parameters it accepts. For example, if you want your course to open on a specific date, put in that date (with Zapier, you can set it up to a month in the future.) If you want your course to open every Wednesday, put Wednesday.15-entertime.png
  1. Click Save+Continue, and Zapier will conduct another test to make sure all is well.
  1. Now, you can move on to the final Action step of your zap. Select Teachable as the app. Then, choose the “Enroll User In Course” action.17-enrolluser.png
  1. Choose the same Teachable account as before. Then, you’ll set up the details of the action on the action template. Choose your course from the dropdown, then set Email as the user email from the New Enrollment step, and Name as the user’s name. Accomplish this using the Insert A Field button to the right of those fields and expanding the New Enrollment options.18-edittemplate.png
  1. After one more test, you’ll be able to name your zap and turn it on!19-turnonzap.png
  1. For the last step, return to your school’s admin area and publish Course 1, but leave Course 2 unpublished. When a course is unpublished, enrolled students can still view the content--the course just won’t appear on your school’s course directory.

Now, any student who enrolls in Course 1 will automatically be enrolled in Course 2 and gain access to the content at a time you choose.

If you want to close the course after the fixed start date has passed, remember to delete all the pricing from Course 1 so new students cannot enroll in it.

How you can take this further

This post is just a baseline on how to create courses that start on a schedule.

Here are a few ideas I think would be cool to add to all of this:

  • Create an email announcement for the start date of the course.
  • Offer a referral bonus to students upon purchase.
  • Include a workbook in the first lecture of Course 1, so students can prepare some work before the class begins.
  • Add a pre-recorded video to Course 1 to welcome your new students and give them indications on what’s going to happen next.

Have other ideas? Would love to hear them in the comments!

We'd love to see you take your school beyond what's explained in this post. To get started, please visit our knowledge base or, better yet, click below to attend one of our weekly webinars.

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Limitations (that I could find)

Need to close enrollment manually

As mentioned above, if you use a fixed start date, you will need to close enrollment manually (by removing the price plan from Course 1.)

Only weekly our fixed start date (using this exact process)

If you want to do something like start your courses every Monday and Thursday or on the third Monday of each month, you will need to deviate a little from the process described above (which, unfortunately, escapes the scope of this post.)

Did you find this useful? Want to see more content like this?

Now, I want to hear from you.

If you found this useful (or didn’t), found something I missed (I’m sure I did), think of something cool we could add to this process, want to see a similar post about another topic, or just want to say hi - pleeease add a comment below!

I’ll personally read and answer every one. 

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Eduardo Yi

Written by Eduardo Yi

Eduardo Yi is a content marketer at Teachable, the platform that allows anyone to teach online, where he gets to work on the intersect of his four passions: education, digital marketing, and incomplete lists.