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Creating calendar signups for meals, office hours, presentation slots, and other appointments


Creating appointments such as faculty-student meals, office hours, and presentation slots can be done directly in the Canvas Calendar, without any need to work in the former "Scheduler" mode used from 2013-17. Key upgrades:

  • Published timeslots now appear immediately on your Calendar, even before students sign up.
  • If students tell you they do not see the appointments on their calendar, they likely haven't used this before -- but you can assure them the process is simple and clear, through a Find Appointment button for students in the Canvas Calendar. Wharton Student Computing offers instructions and further assistance:

Avoid this mistake:

Creating multiple appointment groups, each with just one appointment, makes it impossible to enforce sign-up limitations. There is a place to enter multiple meeting times in one appointment group; this is the preferred method. For example, if you have three student lunches this semester and you want students to be able to sign up for one lunch only, you will need to create one appointment group with three date/time choices in the Date and Time Range boxes. (If you create separate appointment groups for each lunch, each with just one date/time choice specified, students will be able to sign up for all three.)

Notes and Caveats:

  • If you're seeking Courseware Team setup of appointment groups and need signup to begin for students at a specific start time, please choose a time during business hours. Thanks in advance!
  • If you're not based in the time zone you're creating appointments for, please see Time Zone Warning below.
  • If you're going to create team-based appointments, please see Team or Group-based Appointments before proceeding.
  • Known issues:
    • The appointment calendar signup tool no longer offers a Save button without immediate Publish. If you are impacted by that change, please let us know.
    • The "tree" used to limit a section-specific signup within a multi-section course has been improved but may still pose difficulties with checking off desired sections. Please contact us if you need assistance.

Please visit this article for help managing existing appointment groups.

Time Zone Warning

The Canvas Calendar shows information based on your currently specified time zone; if appointments are elsewhere, switch time zones temporarily. For example, if you are on the East Coast and need to create appointments taking place at Wharton San Francisco, temporarily change your time zone to Pacific Time. Create the appointment group as described below, then change your time zone back to Eastern Time.

Creating Appointment Groups

A group of times that are available for signup is called an "Appointment Group." One appointment group can, and generally always should, contain multiple time slots.

To begin, go to the Calendar and click on a date in Month or Week view, or use the + button in Agenda view.

  • In the Edit Event pop-up window which appears, click on Appointment Group (to the right of Event and Assignment). 
  • The Name will refer to the entire appointment group. (e.g. "Lunch with Professor").
  • If the Location will be the same for all appointments, you can fill it in. Otherwise, if locations will var, leave it blank.
  • Use the Select Calendars button to choose which course(s) this appointment group is available for. 
    • If you want to limit signups to certain sections, expand the calendar tree by clicking on the arrow to the left of your course name, and use the checkboxes to select the sections. Note that restricting to section only works for individual appointments, not team-based appointments.
    • Once you press Publish, you can still add calendars, but you can no longer remove them.
  • For team-based appointments, check Have students sign up in groups before you press Publish. If you have more than one set of teams, select the correct one from the Group Category dropdown. Please see the notes below under Team or Group-based Appointments.
  • Use the Date and Time Range boxes to fill in the date, start time and end time of your first appointment. Underneath that, add more appointments; more rows of entry blanks will appear as you add further appointments. The time slots you add here constitute the set of appointments from which students will choose.
  • There's a Divide feature which allows you to quickly create consecutive appointments within a single time range. First, fill in the date and overall time range. Underneath that box, add the desired length in "into equal slots of ___ minutes". Then press the Go button. The time range will be split accordingly into separate consecutive appointments; if that doesn't happen the first time you press Go, click the button a second time.
  • Prior to publishing the appointment group, you can remove any unwanted slots using the "X" icon next to the slot. However, after you press Publish you will need to use a different procedure to cancel slots -- see this article.

Settings for a Typical Faculty-Student Meal

For the 3 checkboxes under Options:

  • Check Limit each time slot to ___ users and fill in your maximum (usually 7).
  • Check Allow students to see who has signed up for time slots.
  • Since students are usually limited to one meal per instructor/class, it is correct to have a value of 1 for Limit participants to attend ___ appointment(s).

Under Details, include any additional helpful information, e.g.: "If fewer than 3 students sign up, the lunch will not take place."

Team or Group-based Appointments

When you use group-based appointments, only one student per group needs to select their group in the Calendar before signing up. In this article, we call group-based Appointment Groups "team-based" to avoid confusion.

The Have students sign up in groups option applies only to sets of teams which are already established on your People page. Please note these related issues:

  • If an appointment signup need involves ad-hoc teams -- e.g., students who decide to present a particular case on a particular day, but who don't submit assignments together otherwise -- then a team-based appointment signup may be overkill. Conventional appointment signup (as described above) can help individual students form ad-hoc teams for a particular class event.
  • You cannot share a set of team-based appointments across separate Canvas course calendars, or limit it to just certain sections. That's because a set of teams applies to one entire Canvas site, with optional section limitation within the membership of a team (not across teams).
  • You cannot Publish an appointment group, go create the student teams, come back to the Appointment Group, and make it team-based later. (The reverse is also true - you cannot turn team-based appointments into individual appointments once you Publish.)
  • Students who have not signed up for teams will not be able to see team-based appointments (normal functionality), or if they switched from one team to another after signup began (due to a bug). Tips:
    • Whenever possible, turn off self-signup for teams to prevent group switching before Publishing your group appointments.
    • If turning off team signup isn't practical, and you wind up with leftover signups from defunct teams, feel free to contact us for assistance with clearing these up.


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