This is my second simple review of a Moodle 2.0 compatible plugin, and the plugin for today is the Activity Module: Tutorship.
This is a block written by Alejandro Michavila from Spain. There have been a few modules over the years which helped tackle the issue of managing 1 to 1 sessions between mentor/tutor and student. This block is the first strong one for Moodle 2.0.
What does it do?
In short the module helps the scheduling of tutoring hours by provision of a appointment timetable. It enables teachers to select time slots in a timetable that they are free for appointments and it allows students to select one of the time slots to book an appointment.
Is it simple to install?
The file that is linked to is hosted on moodle.org site. So you can download the zip file easily, however you can also browse the source code as the module is within contributed code area of the Moodle Community site.. You can unzip the file and upload directly into your Moodle 2.0 mod folder. When upgrading through the notifications page, there was no issue and the mod installed successfully.
I checked out the settings for the new Activity plugin and there are a lot there. ( Click on Settings -> Plugins -> Activity Modules -> Tutorship). It is important to consider these settings now, by reading the documentation on the Moodle Docs site as you should not change any of these settings once it has started being used.
The basic configurations were for length of time slot, and a daily start time / end time and the rest were regading the different time periods for the timetable. Check out the docs for more info. Personally, I stayed with all the defaults which was a mistake. Make sure the periods are what you want, or you wont be able to book any slots.
After correcting this mistake, I then went into my test course, and turned editing on and added the Tutorship activity into Topic 1. There was no errors, and it seems to work fine.
Is there documentation for it?
Does it do what it promises?
This activity did exactly what it said on the tin. It allowed the teacher to manage his customisable timetable of appointment slots and allowed the student reserve and/or cancel the appointment if needed.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
Once it was added to the course, enabling appointment blocks was really easy, just clicking on the enable link (Shown below) on the timetable. This was really simple to use.
There were a number of other settings as a teacher which made ongoing management of this activity even easier.
After a student reserves a slot, the teacher has to confirm or cancel the reservation. This is really handy and a strong feature.
So yes, overall this was really easy for a teacher to use, well thought out and implemented.
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
If it was easy as a teacher to use, students have it even better. When selecting the activity link, they are presented with a dropdown of the teachers to view their timetable. After selecting the teacher, it showed a table which allowed the student to reserve his slot into the future. Once booked it required confirmation. This was a good touch.
Once confirmed by the teacher, the student is then able to cancel (unreserve) his booking. very handy if used!
Stars: 4 out of 5 stars for this block.
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.