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The seminar activity module enables a Site Administrator or Editing Trainer to set up a booking system for one or many in-person/classroom-based events.

Each event within a seminar activity can have customised settings around training room, start time, finish time, cost, capacity, etc. These can be set to run over multiple days or allow for unscheduled and wait-listed events. An activity may be set to require manager approval and Trainers can configure automated notifications and event reminders for attendees.

Learners can view and sign up for events with their attendance tracked and recorded within the grades area.

Add a new seminar activity

Creating a seminar event is a two-part process. First you must add a seminar activity then you can add event occurrences within the activity.

  1. Log in as a Site Administrator or Editing Trainer and navigate to (or create) the required course.
  2. Ensure editing is turned on.
  3. Where the Activity chooser is on, select Add an activity or resource within the relevant section and select Seminar from the popup menu and click Add.
  4. Where the Activity chooser is off, within the relevant section, select Seminar from the Add an activity dropdown menu.
  5. Complete the required sections and click Save and return to course to return to the course homepage, click Save and display to create the Event or Cancel to discard your changes.

Edit an existing seminar activity

  1. Log in as a Site Administrator or Editing Trainer.
  2. Navigate to the required course.
  3. Click on the name of the Seminar activity.
  4. Select Edit settings from the Seminar Administration block.


  1. Log in as a Site Administrator or Editing Trainer.
  2. Navigate to the required course.
  3. Ensure editing is turned on.
  4. Select the corresponding Edit menu and choose Edit settings.

Editing a seminar activity.

Seminar activity settings

Settings screen for seminar activity.


NameEnter a name for the activity e.g. First Aid Training.-
DescriptionEnter a description for the activity so learners know the general subject and agenda of their selected event.-
Display description on course page

Enabling this option will display the description on the course page under the link to the seminar activity.

Third-party email address(es)Third-party email address(es) is an optional field used to specify the email address(es) of a third-party (such as an external instructor) who will then receive all active notification messages for a session, including confirmation messages when a user signs up for a session. When entering multiple email addresses, separate each address with a comma.For example: [email protected], [email protected]example.com. The third-party addresses will receive the same message as the manager.
Notify third-party about wait-listed eventsEnabling this option will send third-party email address(es) a notification when a Learner signs up for a wait-listed event. When this option is not enabled, the third-party will only be notified when a user signs up or cancels for a scheduled event. Please see Wait-listed events for more information.

Events displayed on course page

This is the number of sessions for each seminar activity that will be shown on the main course page.-
Events table - hide empty columns

This determines how event tables are displayed. Enabling this setting hides columns that are not in use.

For example, the 'Event name' and 'Rooms' columns are not used in the following table:

Event nameEvent typeEvent statusBookedSession timesRoomsActions

Upcoming7 / 1025 Dec 2018 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

FunWait-listed0 / 10


With this setting enabled the table will be displayed as follows:

Event typeEvent statusBookedSession timesActions

Upcoming7 / 1025 Dec 2018 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM...
FunWait-listed0 / 10
Default 'allow cancellations' setting for all eventsSet the default cancellation settings for this seminar and allow users to cancel their bookings 'At any time', 'Never', or 'Until cut-off reached' (x amount of time before the event starts). Please see Cancel a Session for more information.
Select job assignment on signupWhen requesting seminar event attendance, learners can specify their job assignment relating to the training event. For seminar events that require manager approval, Learners reporting to multiple managers can choose to select which manager should receive the booking approval request.  Please see Job assignments for more information. Note that this functionality needs to be enabled in the seminar global settings.
Prevent signup if no job assignment is selected or can be foundLimit registrations for the event to those individuals who have their job assignment(s) specified.-
Event attendance - mark at

Use the dropdown menu to choose when Trainers can mark attendance for events in this seminar activity. Select from:

  • Beginning of final session
  • End of final session
  • Beginning of first session
  • Unrestricted - mark at any time

The 'Beginning of...' options allow attendance to be taken from 15 minutes prior to the start of the indicated session.

Seminar activity completion and grading are based on event attendance.

Session attendance tracking

Use the dropdown menu to enable session attendance marking, by selecting when Trainers can mark attendance for individual sessions in this activity. Select from:

  • Disabled - don't track sessions
  • Beginning of session
  • End of session
  • Unrestricted - mark at any time

The 'Beginning of session' option allows attendance to be taken from 15 minutes prior to the start of the session.

Session attendance marks are advisory only and are designed to help obtain an overall attendance state for the event.


Manual event gradingTrainers can manually grade learners on a per-event basis rather than using the grade that the system automatically assigns based on event attendance.

Attendance-based grades include:

  • Fully attended: 100%
  • Partially attended: 50%
  • Unable to attend: 0%
  • No show: 0%

With Manual event grading enabled, Trainers can mark attendance as usual, but also have the flexibility to add a grade (0-100) for each attendee regardless of their attendance status.

Grading method

Where Manual event grading has been enabled, a Course Creator can select the required Grading method for the Seminar event.

In cases where learners are able to attend multiple events in the same seminar activity, the Grading method setting determines which event grade to use as the overall activity grade.

Select from:

  • Highest event grade
  • Lowest event grade
  • First event grade
  • Last event grade

The first event is the attended event with the earliest start time. The last event is the attended event with the latest finish time.

For example, let's assume there are four seminar events and a learner has received the grades of 50, 70, 20 and 30, in the order of seminar event date. The seminar activity grade will be calculated as follows:

Grading methodSeminar grade
Highest grade event70
Lowest event grade20
First event grade50
Last event grade30
Passing gradeUsed by seminar activity completion to determine passing grade for the seminar.

Setting the passing grade higher than 0 enables the use of pass/fail marks on the activity completion report.

You can also set a default passing grade for the site.

Sign-up workflow

How many times the user can sign-up

Select from the dropdown how many times a Learner may sign-up within a seminar activity. Choose from 1 to 10 or Unlimited.

A value of 1 disables multiple sign-ups.

This setting does not take cancelled sign-ups or declined requests into consideration.

Restrict subsequent sign-ups to

Restrict subsequent sign-ups based on the state of previous signups. Choose from:

  • Fully attended
  • Partially attended
  • No show
  • Unable to attend

Enabling any of these state restrictions will limit users to a single concurrent sign-up within the seminar, as they will not be able to sign up to another event until their current sign-up has its attendance set to one of the selected states. If none of these restrictions are enabled users can have as many concurrent sign-ups within the seminar as the maximum limitation allows.

Cancelled sign-ups are not taken into consideration.
Clear expired waitlistThe waitlist for events get cleared when when they start, allowing user to sign up to new event. The Waitlisted sign-up expired notification can be used to inform users about this happening.-
Users can declare Interest

Displays an option within the seminar activity to allow a user to flag their interest and write a message without signing up. Information about those who have declared an interest can be reported on from within the activity. Choose from:

  • Never
  • When no upcoming events are available for booking
  • Always
Please see Declare and withdraw interest and Declared interest report for more information.
Require approval by

Available options are defined by the approval options setting on the seminar administration settings page. They include:

  • No approval: A user will be immediately booked into a event when signing up.

  • Learner accepts terms and conditions: A user will be presented the text defined in the text area below and required to accept the configurable terms and conditions.

  • Event role (such as Editing Trainer, Trainer, etc): All users assigned to the role in the event will be immediately sent a notification with instructions to approve the user's request to sign up for the event.

  • Manager Approval: The Learner's manager will be immediately sent a notification with instructions to approve the user's request to sign-up for the event.

  • Manager and Administrative approval: All users selected as an approver will be immediately sent a notification with instructions to approve the user's request to sign-up for the event. Approval can then be given by the Manager followed by the Administrator, or the Administrator may finalise the request without Manager approval.

When you select No Approval the Add approver button will not be able to be selected.

If an approval option is disabled in global settings that is already being used within a seminar it will still be honoured within the seminar it has already been selected in. If the disabled option is changed within a seminar it will then disappear from that seminar's settings until it is re-enabled in the global settings.

Manager reservations

Please see Reserving and allocating spaces for more information.

Allow manager reservationsIf Yes, Managers are able to make reservations or bookings on behalf of their team members.-
Maximum reservationsSet the number of reservations or bookings a Manager can make for members of their team.-
Automatically cancel reservationsIf enabled, reservations will be automatically cancelled based on the number specified in Reservation cancellation days.-
Reservation cancellation daysSet the number of days in advance of the session that reservations will be automatically cancelled if not confirmed.

Automatically cancel reservations must be set to Yes to be able to edit the number of reservation cancellation days.

Reservation deadlineThe number of days before a session starts after which no more reservations are allowed. This must be greater than the number of reservation cancellation days.-

Calendar options

Please see View sessions for more information.

Calendar display settings

There are a number of options to choose from:

  • Site: Seminar events will be displayed on the site calendar as a global event. All site users will be able to view these events.
  • Course: Seminar events will be displayed on the course calendar and as course event on the site-level calendar and visible to all users enrolled in the course.
  • None: Seminar activity events will only be displayed as user events on a confirmed attendee's calendar, provided the Show on user's calendar option has been selected.
Show entry on user’s calendarWhen active, this setting adds a user event entry to the calendar of an attendee of a seminar event. When turned off, this prevents a duplicate event appearing in a event attendee's calendar, where you have calendar display settings set to Course or Site.-

Short name

The description of the event that appears on the training calendar when Show on the calendar is enabled.-

Common module settings

Please see Common module settings to learn more.

Restrict access

Please see Restrict access to learn more.

Activity completion

Completion trackingMust be enabled to set completion requirements. Completion tracking needs to be turned on in the course settings.
Require viewThe learner must view the activity to complete it. -
Require grade

There are three choices:

  • No
  • Yes, any grade
  • Yes, passing grade 

If either of the Yes options are selected the value in the passing grade setting is evaluated. You can find the passing grade setting under the Grade section. If Yes, passing grade is chosen, a passing grade must be set for the seminar. If a Learner does not achieve the grade specified in the passing grade setting, the activity will not be marked as complete. If Yes, any grade is chosen, the activity will be marked as complete if the Learner is given a passing or failing grade. 

Require status

The learner must achieve a status of either:

  • Partially attended
  • Fully attended
Expect completed onThis setting specifies the date when the activity is expected to be completed. The date is not shown to Learners and is only displayed in the activity completion report.-

Please also see Activity completion to learn more. 

It is recommended to use the Require status activity completion condition if the intention is to track completion based on attendance.

Duplicating a seminar activity

If you wish to duplicate a seminar activity you can do this using the duplicate function from the edit dropdown alongside the seminar activity. Duplicating a seminar activity will mean that all of the settings, including any seminar events and their settings, will be copied into a new duplicated seminar activity. 

Where you have prevented room booking conflicts this duplication will not include the room. 

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Seminar Management in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use seminars, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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