In the past the course publish buttons used less ambiguous icons for the not published and publish buttons on the course home page as referenced in this old screen shot. Both buttons are using the old cloud icon. It is very clear that this course is not published.
The buttons have been updated in the past year as all of the icons have been updated. I am now dealing with mass confusion on course status. The problem is with the icon on the publish status which is checkmark. To most people the checkmark means yes I have published my course. Either get rid of the checkmark or make the publish button red when the course is not published.