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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 menu within Seminars > Notification templates.
  • Seminar notifications (activity specific): Within a specific seminar activity you can customise and add notifications via 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. 

Seminar notifications support the multi-language content filter so when added to a notification, the content will be filtered according each recipients preferred language settings.

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).  Administrators can Activate/Inactivate a notification using the corresponding eye icons (,) under Options.

(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 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 

SettingDescriptionNotes
Title

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

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Body

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

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Manager copyChoose 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. 

-
StatusAllows 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

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.

This setting only applies to default notification templates and is not available for custom notification templates.

Default notifications

There are a number of notification that are available in the system by default. If you wish to edit any of them, then you can find guidance on doing so above. 

NotificationDescriptionRecipientTrigger
All reservations cancelled

A message is sent all participants when all reservations are cancelled.

All (cancelled) participantsAll reservations are cancelled.
Reservation cancellationWhen a specific reservation is cancelled a notification gets sent.Cancelled participant(s).A participant's reservation is cancelled.
Seminar booking admin requestA message is sent to nominated administrative approvers when a participant requests a booking. See more on the Sign-up approvals help page.Set approver(s).A participant requests a booking.
Seminar booking cancellationA message is sent as confirmation when a participant cancels their own booking. See more on the Learner cancellation help page.Participant who cancelled.A participant cancels their reservation.
Seminar booking confirmationA message is sent as confirmation when a participant makes a booking.Participant who booked.A participant makes a booking.
Seminar booking date/time changedA message is sent if the date or time of the seminar is adjusted.All booked participants and those on the waiting list.Seminar date or time is edited (and saved) after bookings have been made (or the wait-list has opened).
Seminar booking declineIf an approver rejects a booking request then a message is sent to the declined participant. See more on the Learner sign-up or sign-up approvals help pages.Participant who made the booking.Booking request is declined.
Seminar booking reminderA reminder email is sent to all participants before the event.All booked participants.Sent two days before the event starts.
Seminar booking requestA message is sent to approvers when a participant requests a booking. See more on the Sign-up approvals help page.Set approver(s).A participant requests a booking.
Seminar booking role request

When a session is set to require approval from an event role then any users assigned that role (e.g. Editing Trainer) will receive a notification when there is a pending approval request.

Required approving event role.

A user requests a booking.

Seminar event cancellationWhen an event is cancelled a message is sent to all participants who had booked. See more on the Cancelling an event help page.Cancelled participants.A trainer/administrator cancels a seminar event.
Seminar event registration closure

When the sign-up period for an event closes a message is sent to all participants who have requested booking approval but had not yet received a response.

Any pending requests are automatically declined at this time.

All participants with pending booking requests.The sign-up period ends.
Seminar event trainer cancellationWhen an event is cancelled by a course trainer a message is sent to all participants who had booked. See more on the Cancelling an event help page.Cancelled participants.A trainer cancels a seminar event.
Seminar event trainer unassignedNotifies a user when the Trainer event role is unassigned from them for a seminar. Unassigned trainer.Unassigning a trainer.
Seminar registration closedSent to seminar notification recipients who have event roles on the seminar, when the Sign-up closes time is reached.Trainers. Event sign-up has been closed.
Seminar trainer confirmationSend a confirmation email to a user when they are assigned the Trainer event role. Assigned Trainer.Assigning a Trainer.
Waitlisting advice for [seminar name]A notification is sent to anyone on the waiting list if the trainer/administrator confirms, cancels, or plays the lottery on the waiting list for an event. See more on the Wait-listed events help page.Wait-listed participants.Administrator/trainer confirms, cancels, or play the lottery on wait-listed places for a seminar event.
Event under minimum bookings for: [facetofacename]Message is sent when a seminar event does not have a minimum number of bookings by the deadline.Configured notification recipients.Notify about minimum bookings time arrives.

By default copies of notifications will also be sent to managers, third parties (configured in seminar settings), role approvers (only booking approval requests), and admin approvers (only booking approval requests).

Adding a notification (within a seminar activity)

  1. Open the seminar activity you wish to add a notification for.
  2. Under Seminar administration go to 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 

SettingDescriptionNotes
Scheduling

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

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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.

There are two permissions that are important for adding recipients:

  • mod/facetoface:addrecipients:Allows the assigned role to add any recipients to the seminar's message.
  • mod/facetoface:removerecipients: Allows the assigned role to remove any recepients from the seminar's message.
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.

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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.

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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.

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Manager copy

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

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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.

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Status

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

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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

PlaceholderDescription

[coursename]

Name of course.
[seminarname]

Name of seminar activity.

[seminardescription]Description 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].

[booked] Number of attendees booked for the event.
[capacity]Total number of bookings available for the event.
[mincapacity]Minimum bookings setting for the event.

Session placeholders

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:

PlaceholderDescription
[#sessions]

To start the loop.

[/sessions]

To end the loop.

[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

PlaceholderDescription
[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

You can also use placeholders for custom user profile fields using the following format: [user:fieldshortname], where fieldshortname is the shortname of the user profile custom field. For example, you could set up a text profile field called Undergraduate grade with the shortname unigrade. You would then use the placeholder [user:unigrade].

There are also placeholders available for event custom fields which follow the format [session:fieldshortname], where fieldshortname is the shortname of the seminar custom field. One example of where you could use an event custom field placeholder is in adding room names or videoconferencing links to a seminar notification. 

For example, the placeholder [session:videoconflink] could be used to pull a webinar URL from an event custom field with the shortname videoconflink.

Creating a custom URL field.

Adding the custom URL field to a template.

You can set up any type of seminar custom fields by navigating to Quick-access menu > Seminars > Custom fields, then select the tab for the type of custom field you would like to create.

Event custom fields tab.

You can use placeholders for these different custom field types using the following formats. In each of these  placeholders fieldshortname represents the shortname of your custom field.

TypePlaceholder formatExample
Event[session:fieldshortname]A custom field to highlight which building an event is located in: [session:buildingloc] 
Asset[session:asset:fieldshortname]A custom field to highlight whether special training is required for a piece of equipment: [session:asset:equipmenttraining] 
Room[session:room:fieldshortname]A custom field to highlight which floor the room is on: [session:room:roomfloor] 
Event cancellation

[sessioncancel:fieldshortname]

A custom field to display the rescheduled date for an event: [sessioncancel:newdate] 

Note that placeholders are not available for the Sign-up and User cancellation custom field types.


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?