Tools for Scheduling Appointments

This time of year faculty often ask about options for digitally scheduling advising sessions. Tired of paper signup sheets, many faculty want a quick and simple way for advisees to schedule a block of time to meet, low-cost-no-cost, straightforward, and removes time-blocks once someone has signed up.

Here are four tools including pros and cons for each but if we’ve missed one that you can vouch for let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Technology Pros and Cons
Canvas Scheduler

Scheduler is part of the Canvas calendar and creates appointment groups (collection of individual appointments) for sign up.

Instructor setup:

Student signup:

Pros: straightforward setup for instructors, easy signup for students

Cons: scheduler is designed to be used for students in an existing course.

Tip: there is an iCal calendar feed that can be imported into Outlook or Google Calendar.


People can book sessions with you all by themselves using the booking page that comes free with every Setmore account. You can enable your students to schedule appointments with you. Schedule appointments on the go with the free Android and iOS apps.

Thank you to Lisa Prospert for the recommendation.

 Pros: elegant interface, sends email reminders to schedule owner and recipients, easily integrates with Outlook and Google Calendar, free, mobile friendly.



Signup Genius

You can monitor the sign up list as it is filled and students can quickly see which time blocks are already taken.

Pros: slick and does what you’d expect a digital signup tool to do, free, easy for students to signup

Cons: contains ads

Canvas Pages

Pages is an editable wiki and can be setup so that students can add content. Instructors can add a table of dates and times and ask students to signup for time blocks.

How do I create a page:

Pros: straightforward setup

Cons: since anyone can add content to the wiki anyone can also accidentally delete content so it’s important to use clear instructions.

Tip: use the notify users that this content has changed to stay on top of any edits.

Google Doc

Google Docs are similar to Canvas Pages but are part of the larger Google suite of tools and are designed for collaboration.

Google share settings:

Pros: straightforward setup, can be used independent of Canvas

Cons: since anyone can add content to the wiki anyone can also accidentally delete content so it’s important to have clear instructions.

Tip: instructors need a Google account but students do not. Use the share options so that anyone with a link can edit the document.


Using Google Earth’s historical imagery and interactive layers

Google Earth is a free application for Macs and PCs. It’s a lot like Google Maps but in 3D. Using a vast repository of satellite and aerial photography and topographical data, the software allows you to explore the world (and the oceans and sky) in a highly interactive application.

There is a wealth of knowledge in Google Earth to explore for educational purposes. Advancements over the last few years have brought historical satellite imagery to Google Earth for public use, in some areas ranging back as far as 75 years. That’s not to mention the scores of “layers” developed by non-profit and educational organizations on topics ranging from genocide and human rights to climate change and global warming. If you’ve used Google Maps to search for local goods and services, then you’ll understand how layers work. Just like you can view the location of the local theater down the street in Google Maps, you can also see icons and placemarks in Google Earth. Google Earth is like Google Maps on Steroids.

Images: Google Maps, Google Earth Continue reading “Using Google Earth’s historical imagery and interactive layers”

The Secret Revolution

Twitter, Jing, Google Sites, and SmartPens were just a few of the technologies showcased at last month’s Secret Revolution Faculty Showcase. The turnout was good and the feedback was even better. But what was it that raised enough curiosity to have people jazzed up about applications as simple as Jing?


Let’s reframe the focus from: Twitter, Jing, Google Sites, and SmartPens and instead focus on  engagement, feedback, collaboration, and explanation. Technology enables all of this to occur but not until it’s framed around classroom practice does the utility become so obvious. Take for instance, the use of Jing, a free screencasting tool that allows users to capture up to 5 minutes of audio and video of their computer screen. When it was presented as a tool for providing student feedback on written assignments the room began to buzz with possible ways it could be used in various disciplines. Broadcast Journalism Professor, Chad Nye, saw immediate application and is now using it to give his students precise feedback on student produced video clips. With Jing he is able to focus students attention to a peaked audio track while also sharing ideas for better shot selection. This kind of individualized feedback was nearly impossible to do in written form.

Technologies like Twitter and Smartpens aren’t a secret and they’re not even that revolutionary but when re-framed around student feedback and engagement, the possibilities seem like they are.

CELT did capture some of the presentations and have posted them here.