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The seminars functionality allows Trainers, Editing trainers and Site Administrators to set automated and customised system generated notifications for various actions, updates, and milestones related to a seminar activity and the associated events. There are two spaces where you can interact with seminar notifications:

  • Notification templates (site-wide): The default content for these notifications can be set by via the Administration block within Site Administration > Seminars > Notification templates.

  • Seminar notifications (activity specific): Within a specific seminar activity you can customise and add notifications via the Administration block within Seminar administration > Notifications. 

In both cases you will see a list of all the predefined templates for Seminar Events and custom notifications you have created at the relevant level. You can create new templates, edit, delete, activate or deactivate existing ones, and sort the listing by Notification title and Status. The Status indicates if the notification templates are Active (visible and able to be used) or Inactive (not visible and unable to be used). Site Administrators can Activate/Inactivate a notification using the corresponding eye icons (,) under Options.

Changing the status of the system level notification only affects new seminar activities which are created. If you have an existing seminar created, then you need to update the notification status at the activity level.

(This video is taken from the Seminar management course in the Totara Academy, where you can access more resources and learning materials - including other videos). 

Adding or editing a notification template (site-wide)

A Site Administrator can add a new, site-wide notification template that will be available for use across all seminar activities on the site.

  1. Open the seminar activity you wish to add a notification for.

  2. In the Administration menu go to Site administration > Seminars > Notification templates. 

  3. Click the Add button under the list of notifications. 

  4. Completed the desired settings

  5. When you are finished click Add

To edit an existing template click the corresponding edit () icon under Options alongside the notification you wish to edit. Remember to click Save changes once you are finished editing. 

Template settings 

Setting

Description

Notes

Title

The subject line for the notification, this can be constructed using placeholders.

-

Body

The content of the message, this can be constructed using placeholders.

-

Manager copy

Choose whether a copy of the notification should be sent to the manager.

-

Manager copy prefix

Any additional content that should be included before the Body of the message, within the manager's copy of the notification. 

-

Status

Allows a notification template to be marked as Active (checked) or Inactive (not checked). Inactive notification templates will not be available to be used when setting up notifications for a Seminar activity.

-

Update all activities

  Check if you want to update all Seminar activities that have notifications based on this template.

If you choose to Update all activities then all Seminar activities that have notifications based off this template will be updated with the changes that have been made. 

Adding a notification (within a seminar activity)

  1. Open the seminar activity you wish to add a notification for.

  2. In the Administration block go to Seminar administration > Notifications

  3. Click the Add button under the list of notifications. 

  4. Completed the desired settings

  5. When you are finished click Save

Seminar notification settings 

Setting

Description

Notes

Scheduling

Choose whether the message should be sent immediately Send Now or scheduled to Send later before the start of the first session, after the end of the event or before registration closes.  

-

Recipients

Choose who will receive the Notification message based on their registration status:

  • Booked: Send the notification to all users who were booked for the session. You can further specify that the message should go to those who Attended only or only those who did not attend with the status No Shows.

  • Wait-listed: Will send a notification to those who are signed up for a event which allows overbooking, but are not yet booked.

  • User cancelled: Will send a notification to users for whom the event was cancelled or users who cancelled their own registration for a session.

  • Pending Requests: Will send a notification to users for whom have requested a booking from their manager/role/admin that has not been approved or declined yet.

Please note, when selecting All booked, notifications will be issued to all booked users, regardless of their attendance status, for events past and present.

Template

Select which (if any) Notification Template to use as a basis for your new message.  After selecting a Template, the message content will appear in the Body field.

-

Title

Enter a name or subject for your message.  This should allow you to distinguish this Notification from all others and will be used as the subject line of the notification email.

-

Body

This is the body of the notification to be sent.  Within the Body of the notification there are a number of Placeholders that can be used where the Placeholders will be replaced with the appropriate values when the message is sent. Please see details on Placeholders below.

-

Manager copy

Use the checkbox to send a copy of the Notification message to the learner's manager.

-

Manager copy prefix

Add an additional message that will appear as a prefix or preamble in the manager's copy of the Notification if required.

-

Status

Indicates if the notification should be 'Active' (visible and able to be used) or 'Inactive' (not visible and unable to be used).

-

After creating a notification you can:

  • Edit () to change any of the settings or message body. 

  • Set inactive/active /) using the eye icon. The open eye indicates the notification is active, therefore clicking it would set as inactive - the reverse is true for the crossed out eye. 

  • Duplicate ( ) to create another version of the message.

  • Delete () using the corresponding icons.

Notification placeholders 

Placeholders can be added into the Title and Body of the notification message and will be replaced with the appropriate value in the sent notification. 

Seminar and event placeholders

Placeholder

Meaning

[coursename]

Name of course.

[facetofacename]

Name of seminar activity.

[cost]

Cost of event.

[reminderperiod]

Amount of time before the event that the reminder message is sent.

[sessiondate]

Date of the event the learner is booked on.

[startdate]

Date at the start of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the first one.

[finishdate]

Date at the end of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the first one.

[starttime]

Start time of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the first one.

[finishtime]

Finish time of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the first one.

[duration]

Length of the event.

[details]

Details about the event.

[attendeeslink]

Link to the attendees page for the event.

[lateststarttime]

Start time of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the last one.

[lateststartdate]

Date at the start of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the last one.

[latestfinishtime]

Finish time of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the last one.

[latestfinishdate]

Date at the end of the event. If there are multiple sessions it will use the last one.

[registrationcutoff]

The deadline for registrations, if not set this will default to [starttime].

To include the details of each session, a segment of the notification can be repeated to include the details of each individual session. To do this, add [#sessions] where you would like the loop to start, add [/sessions] where you would like it to end.

You can then add the following placeholders for each session:

Placeholder

Meaning

[session:starttime]

Start time of the session.

[session:startdate]

Start date of the session.

[session:finishtime]

Finish time of the session.

[session:finishdate]

Finish date of the session.

[session:timezone]

Timezone of the session.

[session:room:name]

Name of room assigned to this session.

[session:room:link]

Link to details page for this room.

User placeholders

Placeholder

Meaning

[firstname]

User's first name.

[lastname]

User's last name.

[middlename]

User's middle name.

[firstnamephonetic]

Phonetic spelling of the User's first name.

[lastnamephonetic]

Phonetic spelling of the User's last name.

[alternatename]

Alternate name the user is known by.

[fullname]

User's full name.

[username]

User's username.

[idnumber]

User's ID Number.

[email]

User's email address.

[address]

User's address.

[city]

User's city.

[country]

User's country.

[department]

User's department.

[description]

User's description.

[institution]

User's institution.

[lang]

User's language.

[icq]

User's ICQ number.

[aim]

User's AIM ID.

[msn]

Users's MSN ID.

[yahoo]

User's Yahoo ID.

[skype]

User's Skype ID.

[phone1]

User's phone number.

[phone2]

User's mobile phone number.

[timezone]

User's timezone.

[url]

User's URL.

Custom field placeholders

There are also placeholders available for user custom profile fields and they follow the format [user:shortname]. Where shortname is the Shortname of the User custom profile field. You can add room custom field values. If a room custom field has the shortname, Shortname, the placeholder would have the following format: [session:room:cf_shortname].There are also placeholders available for event custom fields and they follow the format [session:shortname]. Where 'shortname' is the shortname of the Seminar custom field.

Placeholder changes in v9.0

As Seminars replaced the Face-to-Face module a number of Placeholders within Totara LMS v9.0 have been changed.  

Seminar notification placeholders in 9.0

Seminars (previously Face-to-face) in 9.0 now have Rooms linked to dates rather than Events (previously Sessions). This means that Room information in notification emails must be changed to be displayed per-date instead of being the same for every date.Due to this change, the following placeholders no longer be replaced and any notifications using them must be updated:[alldates][session:location][session:venue][session:room]

How date-based placeholders work in v9.0

In order to output information related to a Event date, such as a start time, or a Room, you need to enter tags that indicate when notification should loop through each session date. These will be the [#sessions] tag to indicate the beginning of a loop and the [/sessions] tag to indicate where it should end. Information on the different placeholders available can be found by clicking on the help icon next to where you write the Body of the notification.Example:Let's say you have the following session dates:Time of session: 14 May 2016, 3pm - 14 May 2016, 5pm; Location: Training Room.Time of session: 15 May 2016, 9am - 15 May 2016, 11am; Location: Board Room.If you want to list the above as part of a notification, you could include the following text:[#sessions]Time of session: [session:startdate], [session:starttime] - [session:finishdate], [session:finishtime]; Location: [session:room:name] [/sessions]

Upgrading to v9.0

During upgrade to Totara Learn v9.0, the [alldates] placeholders will be automatically replaced by an equivalent set of placeholders. If your existing notifications exactly match the default notifications in 2.9, the system upgrade will automatically update your notifications to the new format so nothing needs to be done. If you have customised your notifications the system will not change these to the new format automatically. Instead, you will need to go through each one and update them using the new scheme. For example, a sessions notification would need to change to:

[session:startdate][session:starttime] - [session:finishdate][session:finishtime] [session:timezone]

Duration: [session:duration]

Room: [session:room:name]

Building: [session:room:cf_building]

Location: [session:room:cf_location]

[session:room:link]

[/sessions]The upgrade advice only applies if upgrading from a 2.9 or below system.

Recovering notifications

When upgrading to Totara Learn 9+ from a Totara Learn 2.x version you might experience some deprecation of notifications, with some failing to send. If a notification is missing then a warning box will appear at the top of the Notification page (Seminar administration > Notifications) for course level and at a site level on the Manage notification templates page (Seminars > Notification templates). From within a course you can recover missing notifications for any current Seminar (under Seminar administration > Notifications), while on the Manage notification templates page site administrator can recover notification for all seminar activities on the site.

On this page

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.

Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?