Keywords: scheduler, scheduling, slots, appointments, notes, meetings, personal tutor, tutoring, groups, individual, private, time, office hours, feedback, support
What is it?
The scheduler activity allows you to specify time slots for meetings, which students then choose on Moodle. Staff can in turn record that the student attended, make notes about the meeting - and optionally assign a grade - within the scheduler. The scheduler sends reminders to both students and staff and allows either to cancel the appointment and book another time. The scheduler also support group meeting, where multiple students can sign up at one time. It also allows staff to assign students to attend a meeting at a particular time.
Why use it?
There are lots of reasons to use the scheduler. For example:
- It's particularly helpful for setting up personal tuition sessions, presentation sessions, or any other meeting where participants choose a slot.
- Participants (one or more, depending on your settings) can register for one on a first-com-first-served basis.
- Once the slot is full it becomes unavailable, but if a student cancels it can become available again.
- Scheduler keeps track of the appointments, prevents clashes, and allows slots to be freed up if somebody's plans change.
- Staff can themselves set up appointments for students, and have Moodle send the participants a notification email.
- Staff can set different locations for meetings.
- Scheduler will optionally send out email reminders to both staff and students.
- Appointments booked in the Scheduler appear in the Moodle Calendar of each participant
- Scheduler lets staff record whether the meeting took place or not, and make notes about attendance.
- Staff can see which colleagues are seeing which students.
- Staff can see which students have not yet made or attended an appointment.
- Staff can add notes to the appointment, which are visible to the student(s).
Who can use it?
Tutor or Course Administrators can set up a Scheduler and add slots.
Students can then book slots and make notes.
How do I set one up?
Follow thse simple steps to get a Scheduler set up.
- Log into Moodle, go to the course area where you want the Scheduler to appear, and Turn Editing On.
- In the appropriate Section of the course area, click its Add an Activity menu, from that select Scheduler, then the Add button; the Scheduler settings display.
Let's go through each of the settings in turn.
- Name: choose a short distinctive one with the important information up front.
- Introduction: this displays for students above where they make their selection and is a good place to give concise, informative instructions.
- Role name of the teacher: this might for example be Personal Tutor, or Supervisor.
- Mode: if you want to use a single instance of the Scheduler for all subsequent meeting for e.g. the entire year, choose One At A Time, which means that only once an appointment is in the past can students return to choose a future appointment. Otherwise choose One Single Appointment.
- Reuse guard time: leave as default.
- Default slot duration: set to the number of minutes you want the slots to be (note this will also display to students).
- Grade: unless you want to assign marks for the meeting, leave this as No Grade.
- Notifications: setting this to Yes will send email notifications and reminders to students and tutors.
- The other settings are common to all Moodle activities, so we'll leave them for now.
- Scroll down and click the Save And Display button; the front page of the Scheduler displays with some settings to add appointment slots.
There are some limitations to the Scheduler, for example:
- It can't currently let students choose the location, only staff.
- You can now apply the Groups setting to Scheduler so that one Group member can make a booking for everyone in their Group. However, you have ensure that each slot that you want to be booked by a Group has the 'Maximum number of students per slot' setting set to at least the total number of users in your biggest group. But individuals can also book these slots. So it is important to make it clear to students whether you want them to book for themselves as individuals, or to make a group booking on behalf of their Group.
- Currently Scheduler notes do not appear in the MyFeedback report.
Examples and case studies
- See the Bulk enrolments miniguide for information on using groups to enable students to schedule Personal Tutor meetings.
Questions & Answers
Q.What do students do in Scheduler?
A. Students are presented with a list of available slots (slots which have already been booked are not displayed at all). Each student clicks a radio button for her preferred slot (one only), then clicks the Save My Choice button; the slot displays as Booked and (depending on settings) email notices are sent. If a student wants to cancel or choose a different appointment, they can do so via the Drop My Appointments link at the bottom; the slot then displays as free and (again depending on settings) email notices are sent.
Q. What do staff see as students book appointments?
A. Staff see student names (with their profile pictures) against each booked slot. If a Group booking is made then the names of each student Group member and their profile pictures are listed against the slot.
Q. What about students who don't make a booking?
A. Under the table of slots is a list of students who have not signed up for slots; you can schedule meetings for those students if you need to and notify them by email.
Adding slots - guidance on adding slots to a Scheduler is available from Moodle Docs.
Staff keeping records - A checkbox in combination with a Save As Seen link allows staff to note that they have seen a given student. Records can be kept by clicking each appointment's respective Cog icon - this displays a form including text fields for:
- Comments - these might be to guide preparation for the meeting.
- Notes for appointment - these might be a record of the meeting.
Please note that both of these fields display to the student who has booked the appointment - i.e. they are not private to staff.
It's possible to export the records as a spreadsheet, but n.b. the export does not include the aforementioned Comments or Notes. However, the annual Moodle snapshot means that a record is kept which can easily be accessed on demand.