How to Launch Online Courses by Importing EPUB3 Assets (Part II)

April 29, 2014
by Aditya Agarkar

epub logo (2)In How to Launch Online Courses by Importing EPUB3 Assets (Part I) we covered four essential topics: EPUB3; EPUB to online courses; the benefits of launching an online course using Snapwiz’s platform; and the Snapwiz EPUB extension specs. 

Now it’s time to see how the importation process of EPUB3 assets works—and take a final look at the overall benefits of utilizing this processes within the Snapwiz platform.

How Does It Work?

Importing EPUB3 into the Snapwiz course management system, and the launching of an online course, requires 4 distinct steps:

Process Steps


1.      Pre-Process EPUB

The first step is to prepare a standard EPUB document for an online course. This involves taking the standard EPUB and extending it by adding learning resources and semantic information for individual elements of the EPUB document.

Once the EPUB is processed, the course author checks-in on the EPUB document in a version control system (e.g. Subversion). It’s important to note that a new version number for the EPUB is automatically generated by the version control system. The version control system also manages the syncing and merging of changes when multiple authors are editing the EPUB at the same time.

2.      Upload Process

The upload process is prompted when a new version of the EPUB file becomes available in the version control system. The upload process expands the EPUB archive into a staging area in the storage cloud—preparing a precise list of files that need to be re-processed during the import process. Essentially this happens in order to avoid unnecessary processing of files during the import process.


EPUB Document Import Structure

3.      Import Process

Once an EPUB is uploaded to the staging area, the course manager can import the EPUB using Snapwiz content management system. The EPUB content is imported and mapped to relevant portions of the course. Next, the course hierarchy is automatically updated based on EPUB TOC (table of contents). The supplementary resources and media files are also automatically copied to course folders on Amazon S3 storage. The video and audio resources are copied to the video server. In addition the course content, metadata and assessments are automatically updated in the course database.

4.      Publish Course

Once the course import process is complete, the newly imported course content is automatically set to “QA” status. The QA Manager can review the newly imported content for accuracy, styling, and layout before publishing the content. Once the content is “Published,” instructors and learners can access the newly imported content from the Snapwiz Learning Spaces platform.


Content and process flow for EPUB import


Content Process & Flow


Benefits of Importing EPUB into the Snapwiz Platform

Faster Course Launch

The entire process—from authoring to launch—is made more efficient when using the EPUB import feature. This feature allows course authoring to be done concurrently for both EPUB as well as online courses on a single authoring platform. Once EPUB is ready for publication, it can be extended quickly and efficiently for an online course launch. 

Reuse of EPUB Content

The EPUB import feature maximizes the reuse of EPUB content. The course content, course hierarchy, and course style sheet are derived directly from the EPUB. In addition, the EPUB extensions can be used to store metadata such as learning objectives, thumbnails, etc. for effective online course delivery.

Auto-Sync of EPUB Content with Online Course Content

The Snapwiz EPUB feature can be used to assign a unique ID (UUID) to each content element. The UUID allows seamless revisions of content when an EPUB is edited externally and then reimported into Snapwiz. The sync of EPUB and course content ensures high degree of content accuracy and fidelity of course styling/layout.

Version Control of Course Content

The Snapwiz EPUB import allows auto-versioning of course content. The EPUB version is automatically updated when a new document is checked-in by an author. The version control also enables multiple authors to simultaneously work on the same course without worrying about merging the content later.

Support for Multiple Environments

Snapwiz allows the EPUB import to be carried out for a specific course environment (e.g. QA, Production, etc.). This allows the course to be uploaded and imported into a test environment for QA and review before the final upload and import into a live environment with real users transpires.



Between Part I & Part II, we covered a lot of ground. We took a broad look at EPUB and the value of importing content into online courses. And we digested, in great detail, the benefits of importing EPUB assets into the Snapwiz platform to enrich the learner’s experience with interactive content. If you’re a publisher, you can view our Publishers page to learn more about our authoring and import options. For Instructors or Students seeking to learn more about how the learning spaces look after the importation of textbook content, click on the appropriate link above—or take a our Product Assessment Tour.

Overall, converting textbook content into an eBook for your online course is now a simpler experience. We wanted to give students an unprecedented experience of course content through the Snapwiz platform because for us it’s more than a question of engagement; it’s about creating a new kind of learning space to transform learning outcomes.

Still have questions about importing EPUB assets?

Contact us to learn more about the process.

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