Sign-Up tool alternatives

Brightspace does not include a dedicated sign-up tool for appointments or events (e.g. office hours or presentation timeslots).

Below is an evolving list of options that can be used to address this need. This includes repurposing self-enrollment Groups within Brightspace.

Brightspace Groups

Brightspace offers a self-enrollment group type which can provide the ability for students to do things like form their own groups for a project, select a discussion topic in which they will enroll and participate, or to choose a timeslot for a presentation.

Creating Groups is not complicated, although renaming them based on project topics or timeslots can become laborious. Once in place, an instructor needs only direct students to the Groups tool through Course Tools on the navbar, where students then have the ability to join and leave groups.

Learn more about Groups.

In the presentation timeslot example, an instructor would:

  1. Create a Group category using one of the self-enrollment types:

    • Choose the option “# of Groups - Self Enrollment” where each group is based on available times. This option does not allow a cap on members.

    • Choose the option ”Groups of # - Self Enrollment” where a specific number of members is important. The number of groups created will be based on total course membership, but groups can then be added or removed.

  2. Rename each group to correspond with the available subject, time, date, etc.

a screenshot clipping of the Groups page showing an example a group created for timeslot sign-up.
An example of the student view of Group enrollment options.


  • Entirely within Brightspace.

  • Quick and straightforward if extensive relabeling is not required.

  • Students can quickly form groups.


  • Tedious for situations with many topics or timeslots.

  • Students can join and leave groups at will.

  • Over-enrollment.

Microsoft Office365 files

One of the easier methods of facilitating a sign-up process is making use of Office365 applications such as Word or Excel.

Instructors can create a file and set the permissions to be sharable with their class. Then, instructors can post the link to the document in the Content area, Announcements, or Discussions of their course site.


  • Easily editable documents that anyone can use.

  • Fast and easy to create.

  • Every student has access to Office365.


  • Anyone can make changes (potentially overwriting changes made by other students).

  • Not embedded in Brightspace and will link to a new window.


Etherpads are similar to editable text documents, except they lack many of the functionalities that a text document offers. They can be embedded into the Content area through the Add Existing button.

Learn more about embedding external objects and files.

Once embedded, Etherpads are available to all members of a site and anyone can make live edits.


  • Easily editable document.

  • Embedded directly into Brightspace Content area.


  • Anyone can make changes (potentially overwriting changes made by other students).

  • Limited overall capabilities.

Microsoft Bookings

Bookings is dedicated to handling appointments and, while it has a steep learning curve, is one of the more powerful office hour management tools around. Bookings is available to all Brock users through Office365, synchronizes with the Outlook calendar, and can launch Teams meetings.

Learn about all of the features and Microsoft’s own instructions for Bookings and appointment scheduling.

With Bookings, you can:

  • Configure time-slots for days, times, durations, etc. and create a shareable landing page to promote all options.

  • Create links to individual appointments or upcoming availability and share these in Brightspace Content items or Announcements.


  • Schedule and manage appointments yourself within the existing Brock Microsoft ecosystem.


  • Many parameters to configure initially, but fewer than before.

  • Wants to be 1:1 only and is not workable with groups (unless groups share links)

Bookings demo video for a specific use case in COMM.


Microsoft Teams sites

Instructors that make use of a Teams site may find hosting sign-up materials to be beneficial. Microsoft Office documents that are created from the Files area of a Teams site automatically grant everyone in the Teams site access to them, which means an instructor wouldn’t have to configure sharing permissions.

Additionally, instructors who host office hours could benefit from creating separate channels where students can post in the chat to create a queue.

Instructors can generate a Teams site from an official course roster using this Teams creation self-serve tool. Note that the process may take a few hours.


  • Easy to create, manage, and share files all within Teams.

  • Many good options for office hours and discussions/queues.


  • Anyone in the class can make changes to the shared documents.

  • Requires the creation of a Teams site for the course.

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