The long awaited release of Totara 9.0 is finally on its way! This is the first Totara release since their move away from Moodle, so the changes and improvements are highly anticipated by all. The new release is still a few months away, but here are some of the highlights to look forward to.
A majority of the improvements and new features are within Seminars and Events (formerly called "Face to Face", and "Sessions"), making these much more functional and inclusive components. Seminars are also going to be more prominent in Totara 9.0, with their own level under the Site Administration menu.
- Sign-up approval for events is now a two step process. Previously, in Face-to-face activities, managers were authorized to give approval - Approval Options included “No Approval”, “Self-Approval”, and “Manager Approval”. Now in Seminars, anyone with the role “Trainer” or “Editing Trainer” have the authority to approve sign-up. As well, you can make it a requirement that sign-ups are approved by Staff-Managers, and/or those at Site-Level or Activity-Level who have authority to do so. These changes allow trainers to take on more responsibilities that will alleviate Staff Managers of some of their work. They also provide added assurance, including one more point of authorization.
- If your courses are delivered in different geographical locations, Totara 2.9 has a new Google Maps integration feature that allows you to embed maps, as well as directions to different locations, within Seminars.
- Sign-in sheets are now downloadable and printable within each Seminar event - a very simple improvement that provides a lot of convenience.
- There is also an added restriction capability to the sign-up period, that allows you to select when sign-up period opens and closes.
- You can now cancel Seminar Events easily - there is a simply a button labelled “Cancel Event”. Previously, if you wanted to cancel events within face-to-face sessions, your only option was to delete the entire session.
- Room Management has improvements, while Asset Management is a brand new feature. Assets Management works in the same way as rooms - you can administer resources to designated Seminar Events. Both features can be managed centrally, and filtered/selected at date level, which makes the scheduling ability much more user friendly - you can check room availability based on the date you require it for. You can also see details of each room or asset (including a summary of each) and any upcoming events using them.