Today I am reviewing the very popular plugin for helping you schedule appointments with students – Scheduler 2.x
This Moodle plugin has been around for a few years, originally for Moodle 1.9 which was maintained by Valery Fremaux but now has been migrated to Moodle 2 by Henning Bostelmann from the University of York.
What does it do?
In short, this activity enables you to plan and schedule one-to-one appointments with participants in the course. The teacher specifies time periods in which they are available for the appointments and how long each appointment can be. Then the students can select one of the time slots and book it. The teacher can then record the attendance of the student at the appointment. There is also an option to grade the session if so required.
One important feature is that it can support group scheduling as well as just one-to-one.
Is it simple to install?
Yes. You can download the plugin directly from the plugin database or access it through Github where you can browse the source code too.It should be noted that the author says that all minor updates will only happy on Github so you should keep an eye on that!
After I downloaded the zip, and unzipped it there was a folder called scheduler. I uploaded this into the moodle/mod folder of my Moodle site. When logging in as admin to the site I was prompted to upgrade to install the module. It installed and produced no errors.
It did create a number of global settings which as normal I left as default for my review.
Is there documentation for it?
The plugin entry has a brief overview on how it works but the Moodle Docs page provides a good overview and then details all the screens that a teacher or student can see, and explains the key features and settings. The README.txt in the zip also provides good installation information.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
This is a very nice activity for the teacher to use. There are a number of tasks the teacher can do with this:
Create the scheduler activity
This entails setting the overall settings for the scheduling in addition to the name and description; for example whether a student can only register one appointment total, or just one at a time and whether it is graded.
The activity options are:
- Role name of teacher
- Mode – (One single appointment vs. One at a time)
- Reuse guard time
- Default slot duration – (length in minutes for the slots you set up)
- Grade – (if you wish to grade and if so, the value)
- Grading Strategy
- Notifications – (teachers and students can receive notifications when appointments are booked or cancelled.)
Add Slots (multiple or single)
When adding a single slot, you specify exactly when it is, the start time, duration and other details related to the booking. When adding multiple slots you specify a range and what days/times you want the slots created between.
Below are the images for both options:
Some of the features I really like are the reminder emails which can be sent some days before the slot or on the morning of the appointment.
It is also possible to schedule the appointment for the student rather than having them do it themselves which is good if someone has forgotten to book.
There are a number of other features such as the reporting on statistics which can be reported by student, teacher, slot duration or group size which is very neat!
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
It is a very straight forward option for the student. They are presented with a range of options and can choose one.
Once they select and save the selection goes bold so it is easy to identify. The reminder emails are great way of ensuring attendance at the appointment.
Does it do what it promises?
Yes and more. I always liked this activity with Moodle 1.9 and now it is available for Moodle 2 it is great news. It is easy to use, has lots of good features and has plenty of documentation. This provides a much-needed feature for scheduling appointments with reminders and personally would love to see this or a similar feature end up in core Moodle as it is useful to academic and corporate training world.
Stars: 4 out of 5 stars for this activity.
These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.
This work by Gavin Henrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.