As Heather wrote last month, Google has canceled the “appointment slot” feature of Google Calendar, which was a much-loved and easy-to-use way for professors to allow students to sign up for meetings with their instructors.
There are other options, of course, but since many of us use GCal already, the demise of the appointment slot feature has been lamented by many. Heather wrote that she plans on using ScheduleOnce, and if that service suits her needs we can probably look forward to an informative post about how best to use it.
In the meantime, Jack Dougherty of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, has written up a detailed tutorial explaining how to use YouCanBook.Me to fill the gap left by the department of GCal appointment slots:
Looking around for alternative tools helped clarify which features were most valuable to me. Organizing group meetings is great with Doodle, but its MeetMe personal scheduler did not allow for automatic appointment booking, meaning that I’d need to confirm each individual. Another service, TouchBase.it, integrates a personal scheduling assistant into Google Mail (great for many students), but I could not customize the default 1-hour appointment blocks into smaller units (20-minute blocks seem best for most of my student meetings.) A more sophisticated tool, ScheduleOnce.com, offered the date- and time-specific appointment flexibility I desired, and tempted me with its free 14-day trial offer, but my real cost for automatic booking would be $9 per month. Maybe one of these tools works for you (or your budget), but none satisfied me.
Then I looked back at YouCanBook.Me, a free service that I had initially dismissed as too inflexible, and discovered that it offered all of the features I desired, after I deciphered an obscure phrase in the user interface. Here’s instructions and screenshots on how I’ve customized the settings (with one suggested revision for the developer)…
Were you a GCal appointment slots user? If so, what are your plans for alternatives? Let us know in the comments.