IT Teaching Resources: Exploring the Power of Calendly

In today's digital age, finding efficient ways to schedule meetings, appointments, and events is essential. Thankfully, Calendly, a virtual availability and booking app, is here to streamline the process. Whether you're an instructor trying to...

In today's digital age, finding efficient ways to schedule meetings, appointments, and events is essential. Thankfully, Calendly, a virtual availability and booking app, is here to streamline the process. Whether you're an instructor trying to set up office hours or a student looking to check in with your professor, Calendly has got you covered.

Simplifying Scheduling for Instructors and Students

Calendly offers a user-friendly platform for instructors to share their availability with students. Instead of going back and forth through email chains, students can easily schedule a time with their teachers using Calendly. This seamless process increases student engagement and ensures that valuable meeting time is utilized effectively.

According to Mike Hines, an Assistant Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Calendly has revolutionized the way they connect with students. "We use Calendly and it seems to work really well. That seems to be a really good way for students to schedule time with us," he says. By simplifying the scheduling process, Calendly enables instructors and students to make the most out of their meetings.

The Benefits of Calendly

Calendly boasts a range of features that make it an ideal choice for educators. Here are some of its key advantages:

Connects to Multiple Calendar Accounts

Calendly allows you to connect one calendar account for free, such as Google or Outlook. With upgrades, you can connect up to six calendars. It automatically checks for conflicts and adds new events to your connected calendars, ensuring you stay organized.

Zoom Integration

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, online meetings have become the norm. Calendly offers seamless integration with Zoom, automatically creating a Zoom meeting when a meeting is scheduled on Calendly. This eliminates the hassle of manually creating and pasting Zoom links.

Minimum Scheduling Notice and Event Buffers

To prevent last-minute scheduling and provide buffer time before and after meetings, Calendly offers the "Minimum Scheduling Notice" and "Event Buffers" features. These functionalities help you manage your time effectively.

Tailored for Academia

Calendly's features align perfectly with the needs of academic and higher education environments. Its competitors, such as YouCanBook.me and HubSpot, are more tailored to commercial users. Calendly's focus on academia sets it apart in the scheduling software landscape.

Considerations and Tips

While Calendly offers numerous benefits, it's important to be aware of some considerations:

Basic Features in Free Plan

The free plan of Calendly provides only basic features. To access more advanced functionalities, such as multiple calendar connections and restricted canceling and rescheduling, you'll need to upgrade to the Premium or Pro plans.

Group Scheduling Limitations

Calendly is not ideal for scheduling group meetings or finding mutual dates that work for multiple individuals. For such scenarios, consider using tools like Doodle Poll, which are designed specifically for group scheduling.

Communication for Unavailable Time Slots

Students may mistakenly assume that instructors are completely unavailable when they see no open time slots on Calendly. To avoid confusion, it's important to establish norms at the beginning of the course. Let students know that, in addition to the time slots available on Calendly, they can also schedule flexible office hours via email.

Exploring Calendly's Features for Educators

To make the most out of Calendly in a digital classroom, here are a few examples of how instructors can leverage its features:

Enabling Zoom Integration

To automatically create Zoom meetings when scheduling on Calendly, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Integrations tab on the main page and choose Zoom.
  2. Click "Connect to Zoom" and sign in with your Stanford email.
  3. Authorize Calendly to access your Zoom account.

[Picture: Calendly Zoom Integration] Caption: Zoom integration enables automatic creation of Zoom meetings.

Blocking Unavailable Times

For instructors who want to block out specific time slots within a larger block, Calendly offers two approaches:

  1. Create an event in your connected calendar to mark the time as "busy."
  2. Manually exclude the "busy time" by setting availability intervals in Calendly event types.

[Picture: Blocking Unavailable Times] Caption: Blocking unavailable times ensures efficient scheduling.

Setting Up Office Hours

Follow these steps to set up recurring availability for one-on-one meetings with students:

  1. Choose preferred dates, times, and meeting lengths for office hours.
  2. Share the Calendly URL in your course syllabus or other relevant platforms.
  3. Inform students to sign up for office hours via Calendly.

[Picture: Setting Up Office Hours] Caption: Calendly simplifies the process of setting up office hours.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Calendly

In addition to its use in the classroom, Calendly offers various other applications:

  • Instructors can advise other members of the instructional team, like teaching assistants, to adopt Calendly for scheduling.
  • Calendly can be used for coffee chats and informative interviews, providing a convenient way to schedule these interactions.

Conclusion

Calendly is a powerful tool that simplifies scheduling for instructors and enhances the student-teacher connection. With its wide array of features and seamless integration with Zoom, it's the go-to choice for academic environments. By leveraging Calendly's capabilities, educators can save time, improve communication, and maximize the impact of their meetings. So why not give Calendly a try and experience the convenience it brings to your teaching journey?

[Picture: Calendly Logo] Caption: Calendly - Simplify your scheduling.

1