In an effort to promote district wide adaption of the Google Apps for Education suite, I’ll be putting together a series of scripts that showcase features that you may have missed during summer PD. Today I want to share a hidden treasure in Google Calendar that may help organize your weekly schedule, conferences, and meetings. With appointments, users can generate a link that allows others to see your availability for a defined period of time, select an appointment slot, and receive a notification in your own calendar. This feature allows others to only see the time slots you select and not have access to any other information on your personal calendar.
The following script will show you step by step directions for setting up your appointment slots and also provide information for parents and students who want to sign up for an appointment with you. I encourage you to try Google Calendar and give the appointment slot feature a try.
How to Create your Conference Appointment Slots
You can use Google Calendar to create the sign-up slots for your conferences, student appointments , etc. using a special option called Appointment Slots.
1. Open your Google Calendar as normal.
2. Switch to “Week View” (you can not add Appointment Slots in “Month View”).
3. Navigate through the calendar to the night for Parent-Teacher Conferences.
4. Click on the day where you want to add your conference slots.
5. You will get the normal pop-up window to add an event.
6. However, you need to click the “Appointment slots” link at the top of the pop-up window to switch from normal event mode to appointment slot mode.
7. Next click “Edit details” at the bottom of the pop-up window to get to the advanced screen.
8. You now need to edit (or at least check) five items to set up your appointment slots:
A. Calendar: In the box labeled “Create appointment slots on calendar:” make sure your personal calendar, with your name, has been chosen.
B. Title: Enter your last name and course so parents will be sure to know who they are scheduling with.
C. Time block: Change the start and stop time to be the beginning and end of parent conference night, such as 4:30 to 8:00 as an example. This will be window that people can sign up for appoints with you. You can toggle the times later.
D. Type: Check the option “Offer as slots” and then pick the length for the conference slots, such as 15 minutes.
E. Where: Enter your room number or your location during that block.
NOTE: In order to share your calendar you must copy and paste the calendar link that is at the top of the page. Before you select save, right click on the link and copy it. You will need this link later to post on your website or share with parents and students.
9. Once you have entered all of the information above and copied the link you can click “save”.
10. To see what your scheduled appointments will look like to your users you can paste the link you just copied into your browsers address bar and click enter. This will take you to a page that looks like the one posted below.
A. Parents and Students can select a time slot when they click on your appointment slot link
B. Once they select a time slot they can save the appointment.
C. After selecting a time slot, users will receive a confirmation and then the appointment will show up in their calendar and yours.
D. After users select their desired appointment slot, they will receive an email notification from you. You will also receive a email notification
E. In your calendar view the appointment will show up in your calendar. As appointments fill up, they will appear in your calendar. The appointment is also viewable in the calendar of students and parents who signed up.
How to Invite Other Staff Members to a Scheduled Conference Slot
Once a parent has scheduled a slot with you, sometimes you may want to invite other staff members to join you for the meeting. You can invite other staff members as follows:
- Go to the date in Google Calendar for the conference.
- Click on the scheduled appointment slot you want to invite others to.
- In the pop-up window choose “Edit event”
- You will now be back in the edit screen for that event
- On the right will be the “Add: Guests” section with a box that says “Enter email addresses”
- Click in the box and type in the people you want to invite to the event. The address book will find matches based on what you type.
- When done, click the “Save” button.You will now get a pop-up message asking “Would you like to send invitations to guests?”
- Click “Send”
- The people you entered will now get an email message inviting them to the meeting.
Note: You may receive invitations for other staff members asking you to attend one of their conferences. If you are available to attend be sure to:
- Accept their invitation
- Remove the corresponding appointment slot from your calendar so parents will not be able to book you during that time. Just accepting your colleagues invitation does not remove a slot from your appointment slot calendar. See below for details on how to fill in your own appointment slot.