Last July I posted about using the Google Calendar appointments feature to schedule meetings with students. That was in the middle of the summer; we’re now past the halfway mark for this semester, and my implementation of that tool is well-tested. I’ve even convinced some of my colleagues (hi, Keith and Darren!) to start using it as well.
So far so good, with one exception: time zones. If a student, for example, traveled over the summer and set his or her calendar to be in a different time zone, there can be some confusion over when the appointment actually is. For example, one of my colleagues has office hours that start at 8am. One student signed up for his first slot of a given day, but it showed up at 6am on her calendar, which was set for the Pacific time zone. She faithfully showed up for the meeting that early in the morning (that’s a Wheaton student for you!), only to find the professor not there. The same scenario has happened to me, although not quite so early in the morning. But students have occasionally showed up an hour or two early or late, depending on what the time zone is set to in their account.
So I’ve added a note to my syllabus giving my students instructions on making sure their calendar is set to our time zone. I also list the office hours in the syllabus, so the students can make sure if I really have a 6 am office hour or not, with a note that the most up-to-date availability is on the website.
Other than this small error, everything is going great with using Google Calendar to set up appointments with students. How is scheduling with students going with you? Have you tried out a ProfHacker tip and made any adjustments? Considering online scheduling but have a few questions? Let us know in the comments.
[Image Creative Commons licensed / Flickr user Yle is dreaming]