Ability to offer free course certificates

Our edX site is used to provide free product training courses to our customers. While course completion certificates are not a hard requirement for us, they are a nice touch that customers appreciate.

Unfortunately, the ability to provide completion certificates for free courses was removed in the Hawthorn release.

There is a way to generate a certificate for a student in Hawthorn. Not logical though. Works only for honor-mode, certificates are requested by a student via dashboard:

Hawthorn Certificate HONOR on a Dashboard

  1. Instructor paced course
  2. Advanced settings: Certificates Display Behavior - “early_no_info”
  3. Settings - Certificates - Active


  1. Course mode - honor
  2. Certificate generation configurations - Add Certificate Generation Configuration
  3. Certificate html view configurations - Add Certificate html view configuration


  1. Instructor - Certificates
  2. Students- generated certificates - must be DISABLED

Hope this helps.


Hi @cotoha,
Thanks for your tips. I followed your steps, but I am confused about the last point:

Students- generated certificates - must be DISABLED

How should the students request/generate the certificates via their dashboard since this feature is disabled? Perhaps I am mixing this up, but prior Hawthorn, our students would use the “request certificate” button on the progress tab of the course.

Additionally, when I follow the steps, I still see this message on the progress tab:

You are enrolled in the honor track for this course. The honor track does not include a certificate.

Thanks for any tips!

i told it’s not logical :slight_smile:

so yes. you should disable certs (don’t ask), and yes, by default there will be a message saying “doesn’t include certificates” (you can only disable it via code), yet - students will be able to request a certificate for a completed course in their dashboard (not progress tab).

i suppose this is something to be addressed in upcoming releases.

Thanks @cotoha for this suggestion!

There’re actually two other options one might consider:

  1. Enabling ecommerce, using professional seats and overriding ecommerce/static/templates/professional_course_seat_form template as suggested by Bill DeRusha.

  2. Bringing back a free certificate mode behind a waffle or configuration flag
    Since the ability to offer free certificates was removed in this commit one could implement a WaffleFlag that would bring this ability back depending on the flag’s value.

yeah. we’ve implemented the WaffleFlag and now testing this approach. I’ll post more when it’s opensourced

Thanks @cotoha,
I tried your proposal to offer the cert via dashboard, but it seems to offer only older certificates created prior the Hawthorn update. My test students who achieved passing grade do not see any option to request certificate via dashboard despite following the settings from your post above.

It seems that the flag change is the only way right now. Let us know if you learn more.

Thanks for working on this @cotoha.
Once there’s a PR we’d love to take a look and can help review if necessary.

Any word on the waffle flag approach @cotoha ?

Has this code been posted yet @cotoha?

Not just honor certificates; we would like to be able to offer free certificates with instructor signatures on them. After all, what is the point of having verified-priced certificates for not-for-profits and NGO’s that offer online courses as part of their activities?

heh. it’s been a while :slight_smile:

i’ll check and get back on this. hopefully earlier than in 3 months

not sure it’s still relevant, but here’s our current code for this https://github.com/raccoongang/edx-platform/pull/664 hope it helps