Scheduling meeting times with individuals in a class - Calendar thing?
February 23, 2014 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I need to meet each of the students in my class about their assignments over 30 min time slots. I have some days and time slots open, but how do I coordinate this online with about 20 students, where each student can receive a weblink to the calendar and can sort of "online" sign-in for available time slots in my calendar?
posted by greta_01 to Work & Money (24 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
There are various technical methods for this, but to be honest the simplest one as a student was for my teachers arbitrarily to decide on timeslots, and then let us sort out swaps among ourselves.

Unrelated point: the professor that used to do this most frequently would inevitably assign ten minute slots for twenty minute meetings, and then overrun massively. This was incredibly irritating, because it meant that a quick interruption turned into an hour-long wait.
posted by katrielalex at 9:37 AM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't have advice about a specific technical product, but we recently needed to setup 45 ten minute meetings with two sections of a graduate course I'm involved with. Instead of a calendaring based solution, we just used an internal wiki with a list of the available time slots that any student could edit. It functioned more or less like a paper signup list would, and then on the day of the meetings, we just printed it out and powered through them.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 9:44 AM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does it need to be a calendar?

Just make a spreadsheet available online (google sheets?) with times and dates in the cells and let your students fill them in that way.
posted by notyou at 9:46 AM on February 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Use Doodle. Usually it is used to find a time that is best fit for most of the participants, but you can as well use it so that each timeslot should have only one 'check'. Since participants list is in time of appearance, there shouldn't be confusion who was first to reserve each slot.
posted by Free word order! at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

I do exactly this with my students using Doodle. Create a poll where each time slot you have available is an option, and tick the box that says "only one person may choose each option". Email them the link. They don't need to register. It's just a web form.
posted by caek at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, I do this all the time, and I use doodle for it.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2014

One of my professors did this with Google Spreadsheets. She set a column with the time slots that were available and students typed their name into the column to the immediate right to show that they had chosen that slot. Worked perfectly, and I can't imagine it took more than 3 minutes to set up.
posted by sacrifix at 9:49 AM on February 23, 2014

Yep, agreed with the two posters above. Doodle was literally made for this.
posted by mekily at 9:50 AM on February 23, 2014

Doodle is great, but You Can Book Me is my absolute FAVORITE, especially if you use Google Calendar. For instance, if you add an event to your GCal that conflicts with the original time slots, this site reflects that you're busy without you having to manually update the time offerings. It also automatically adds appointments to your GCal so you can easily see who you're meeting with at each time. Finally, you can set it up to remind people about your meeting a day or 6 hours (or however long) in advance.
posted by estlin at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Probably Doodle is the way to go, but, in case you're interested in other options, I have a special Google calendar for office hours that, after a little training of students, is working okay.

Create a new calendar. Share this Google calendar with a list of specific people by entering the email addresses of the students. I think your students would need to have a Google login, but you can send an invite for the calendar to a non-gmail address.

Make sure to give the students permission to "Make changes to events."

You could set up as many 30-minute events as you need, at the times that you're available, and have students edit the events to add their names.

There's no way for you to prevent students from moving events around or changing someone else's appointment to theirs, so you'll need to caution them against doing so by accident. (If there are jerks in the class who would do it on purpose, they could break the system.)
posted by BrashTech at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2014

Google Calendar has an Appointment Slots feature. (I have never used it, but I remember reading about it when it was announced)
posted by misterbrandt at 10:28 AM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing Doodle. It's so easy to use - on your end and on theirs.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:31 AM on February 23, 2014

I've used both doodle and google calendar, but my university has a policy that forces us to use the main calendar (in my case outlook). Are you certain you shouldn't be doing this?
posted by mumimor at 10:44 AM on February 23, 2014

You know, I went through this in a few iterations (including Doodle and GCal), as I tend to have mandatory student meetings twice a semester in every undergrad class, and in the last year I have gone back to making a sheet of paper with all my available slots on it and a line next to each time. Students sign up for slots using the cutting edge technology of a pen.

I swear it was not more efficient to do it online. Sometimes the old ways still work best.

The time you save may be your own.
posted by spitbull at 10:46 AM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

To add: *especially* with only 20 students. Each of them will have to have a Doodle or GCal account, and the troubles only start there. For anything less than 30 students I can see no advantage to creating an online solution.
posted by spitbull at 10:48 AM on February 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just to be clear- you don't need an account to contribute to a Doodle poll (I can't remember but I don't even think you need one to create one.) Some of the fancier features might require it, and notifications require you give them an email, but you and your students don't need to create an account to do what you want (an advantage over using a Google spreadsheet).
posted by Wretch729 at 10:51 AM on February 23, 2014

I've used Wejoinin for all my class signup needs. It's pretty painless, and I've never had a student have any problems accessing any of the sheets.
posted by bibliowench at 10:52 AM on February 23, 2014

I do it with email and my outlook calendar as follows. I send my students an email informing them that they need to make a 30 minute appointment with me. In that email I indicate the days and time blocks that I am available. Students then reply to that email with their proposed meeting time. If their time is still available (not taken by another student) I reply with a quick confirmation. If it is already taken, I tell them that and they propose another time. It can be a bit clumsy but it has worked well enough for me.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:54 AM on February 23, 2014

I use google calendar "appointment slots" for office hours at work. It is popular in both corporate and academic circles for that purpose. The trick is not to invite everyone to the appointment slot, but rather to just share the link for booking time with them.
posted by ch1x0r at 11:06 AM on February 23, 2014

Definitely Doodle.
posted by radioamy at 11:07 AM on February 23, 2014

We've used genbook to let a large number of students select a resume review appointment time. I think it was something like thirty dollars a month. We chose it over doodle, which we also like, for three reasons. First, people who signed up for a slot couldn't see who took the other slots. Second, it generated an email to us that someone had signed up, or changed a slot time. Third, it sent a reminder to the person so they wouldn't forget their time.

Good luck!
posted by anitanita at 11:24 AM on February 23, 2014

Each of them will have to have a Doodle or GCal account

This is not true for Doodle (although it is true for G Cal.) I am at a school that seems to use Doodle extensively for scheduling and I haven't had to sign in once yet.

Also, I strongly prefer Doodle to pen and paper. It saves you the trip to an office (which is often inaccessible during evenings, weekends and holidays when you might be free to go sign up) and it allows people to make real-time changes. If you end up not being able to make your slot last-minute, there's a possibility that someone else can see and take it and not waste the time, whereas this rarely happens with pen and paper signups.
posted by andrewesque at 11:36 AM on February 23, 2014

You don't need a Doodle account to sign up on a Doodle poll - I use it all the time for things like this. Nthing that recommendation.
posted by pemberkins at 1:51 PM on February 23, 2014

just to add another option, my company uses ScheduleOnce for booking appointments. There is a free plan.
posted by radioamy at 3:14 PM on February 23, 2014

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