Digital Marketing Manager at Global Technology Distributor. Creative Director at Make Magic Media.
You mention the company had developed free content assets to 'bait the hook' for optins already. So whether it's using the most valuable piece or pieces of already-created content or ruining a contest to give away one or several premium pieces of content or free registrations/downloads to the course; create a squeeze page for option/sign ups with either immediate download of that content or registration into the contest/giveaway.
A couple of optin apps I have experience and success using are option monster and pop up domination.
A great way to use either app is an "inline" form on your page along with graphics/copy and an exit intent pop up that prompts a user as they attempt to leave the page.