Adding a Custom Certificate for Students to Download

Article Last Updated June 2021

In non-credit and training course situations, it may be useful to have students print a custom certificate upon completing any requirements set by the course instructor/designer. Certificates can be set to be released for the completion of an entire course or for specific activities within a course. The article Completion tracking describes how to set up the restriction and release of items based on specific criteria.

The Simple Certificate activity in eClass allows instructors to configure a custom certificate that displays any necessary course information as well as information specific to each student. There is also some flexibility in terms of the overall design and display of the certificate as well as some useful notification and reporting tools that track the delivery of certificates.

To add a custom certificate to your course, select it from the Activity chooser:

Constructing your certificate

Simple certificate has a number of configuration options in the settings area that you should be aware of:

General - Basic settings:

  • "Certificate Name" - Provides a descriptive title so that students can identify and click on this item to receive their certificate.
  • "Introduction" - Provides additional optional details about the certificate to explain any processes or further instructions that students need to complete in order to access their certificate. When the students access their certificate, they will see these instructions above the Get certificate button.

Design Options - Settings that control the visual appearance and layout of the certificate's front page:

  • "Certificate Image File" - This is the picture that will be used in the certificate’s front page as the background/frame to your certificate text.
  • "Certificate Text" - This is the text that will be used in the certificate’s front page. Some special words will be replaced with variables such as course name, student’s name, grade, etc. These are:

    {USERNAME}  User full name
    {COURSENAME}  Full course name (or a defined alternate course name)
     {GRADE}  Formatted grade
     {DATE}  Formatted date
     {OUTCOME}  Outcomes
     {TEACHERS}  Teachers list
     {IDNUMBER}  User ID number
     {FIRSTNAME}  User first name
     {LASTNAME}  User last name
     {EMAIL}  User email address
     {ICQ}  User ICQ
     {SKYPE}  User Skype
     {YAHOO}  User Yahoo! Messenger
     {AIM}  User AIM
     {MSN}  User MSN
     {PHONE1}  User 1 Phone number
     {PHONE2}  User 2 Phone number
     {INSTITUTION}  User institution
     {DEPARTMENT}  User department
     {ADDRESS}  User address
     {CITY}  User city
     {COUNTRY}  User country
     {URL}  User webpage
     {CERTIFICATECODE}  Unique certificate code text
     {USERROLENAME}  User role name in course
     {TIMESTART}  User enrolment start date in course
     {USERIMAGE}  User profile image
     {USERRESULTS}  User results (grade) in other course activities
     {PROFILE_xxxx}  User custom profile fields
    Note: In order to use custom profile fields, you must use “PROFILE_” prefix. For example, you have created a custom profile field “birthday”. In this case, the text mark that must be used on certificates must be {PROFILE_BIRTHDAY}. The text can use basic html, basic fonts, tables, but avoid any position definition.

  • "Certificate Width", "Certificate Height" - Specifies the width and height (in millimetres) of the certificate. The default size of the certificate is the A4 Landscape size.
  • "Certificate Text Horizontal Position", "Certificate Text Vertical Position" - The XY-coordinates (in millimetres) of the first character of the certificate text.

Certificate Back pageSettings that control the visual appearance and layout of the certificate's back page:

  • "Enable Certificate Back page" - If set to Yes, you will be able to add a separate image file and text for the back page of the certificate. If set to No, only the certificate QR code will be printed in the back page provided that the QR code is enabled.
  • "Certificate Back Image file" - This is the picture that will be used in the certificate’s back page as the background/frame to your certificate text.
  • "Certificate Back Text" - This is the text that will be used in the certificate’s back page. See the table above to what the replacement variables are for some special words.
  • "Certificate Back Text Horizontal Position", "Certificate Text Vertical Position" - The XY-coordinates (in millimetres) of the first character of the certificate back text.

Other Options -  Settings that dictate what textual content is included in each certificate:

  • "Alternative Course Name" - If defined, this name will be shown as the course name in the certificate. The default course name is the course full name that can be modified in the course settings page.
  • "Print Outcome" - You can choose any course outcome to print the name of the outcome and the user’s received outcome on the certificate. An example might be: Assignment Outcome: Proficient.
  • "Print Date" - This is the date that will be printed, if a print date is selected. If the course completion date is selected but the student has not completed the course, the date received will be printed. You can also choose to print the date based on when an activity is graded. If a certificate is issued before that activity is graded, the date received will be printed.
  • "Date Format", "Enrolment start date format" - Enter a valid PHP date format pattern([Date formats]). If left empty to use the format of the user’s chosen language.
  • "Print Grade" - You can choose any available course grade items from the gradebook to print the user’s grade received for that item on the certificate. The grade items are listed in the order in which they appear in the gradebook. Choose the format of the grade below.
  • "Grade Format" - There are three available formats if you choose to print a grade on the certificate.
    • 'Percentage Grade' - Prints the grade as a percentage.
    • 'Points Grade' - Prints the point value of the grade.
    • 'Letter Grade' - Prints the percentage grade as a letter.
  • "Print Certificate QR code" - Toggles whether or not the QR code will be printed at the back of the certificate.
  • "Certificate QR Code Horizontal Position", "Certificate QR Code Vertical Position" - The XY-coordinates of the top right corner of the QR code.
  • "Print QR Code in the first page" - Toggles whether or not the QR code will be printed in the first page.

Issue Options - Settings relating to the release and tracking of certificates:

  • "Email Teachers" - If enabled, teachers are alerted with an email whenever students receive a certificate.
  • "Email Others" - Enter the email addresses here, separated by a comma, of those who should be alerted with an email whenever students receive a certificate.
  • "Email From name" - Enter an alternate email from name here.
  • "Delivery" - Choose here how you would like your students to get their certificate.
    • 'Open in Browser' - Opens the certificate in a new browser window.
    • 'Force Download' - Opens the browser file download window.
    • 'Email Certificate' - Choosing this option sends the certificate to the student as an email attachment.

Note: After a user receives their certificate, if they click on the certificate link from the course home page, they will see the date they received their certificate and will be able to review their received certificate.

Common module settings

  • "Availability" - This setting has 3 options:
    • 'Show on course page' - The activity is available to students (subject to any access restrictions which may be set).
    • 'Hide from students' - The activity is only available to users with permission to view hidden activities (by default, users with the role of teacher or non-editing teacher).
    • 'Make available but now shown on course page' - A link to the activity must be provided from elsewhere, such as from a page resource. The activity would still be listed in the gradebook and other reports.
  • “ID number" - An ID number identifies the activity for grade calculation purposes.
  • "Group mode" - The group mode defined at course level is the default mode for all activities within the course. Each activity that supports groups can also define its own group mode, though if the group mode is forced at course level, the group mode setting for each activity is ignored. This setting has 3 options:
    • No groups - Students are not segregated into groups.
    • Separate groups - Only group members can see their own group while other groups remain invisible.
    • Visible groups - Group members can see other groups but still work in their own group.
  • "Grouping" - A grouping is a collection of groups within a course. If a grouping is selected, students assigned to groups within the grouping will be able to work together.
  • “Add group/grouping access restriction” - Allows access only to students who belong to a specified group, or all groups.  

Restrict access



Previewing Your Certificate

Once you have specified the settings for your certificate, click Save and display to immediately see how the certificate will look upon changing any of the settings. Under the Issue a test certificate tab, click on the Get Certificate button. This will give you a preview of how your students will see your certificate.

Viewing Student Certificates

Once you have set up your certificate and students begin to complete the requirements for your course, you can view a report of the issued certificates by click on the Issued certificates tab. This displays a list of delivered certificates including student information, timestamps, and other details including the option to download the data in a number of formats.

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