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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Automating appointments

Over on The Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene asks if anyone knows of a service or site that will help him automate student appointments. Ideally, students could go to the site, see the available time slots, put in their names and be done. Since this is something that I would be very interested in doing myself, I was curious to see what suggestions he got. A couple commenters suggested Google Calendar (if you 'share' the calendar with all your students) but unless I'm missing something, that would require putting in the emails of all your students individually and that seems like a pain (at least for me - my smallest class is still 40 students). Another commenter recommends Jiffle.com, which looks promising but still requires some email back-and-forth. It occurred to me that a wiki might work - you'd have to create the calendar yourself but then students could go in and fill in their names and even if someone tried to 'erase' someone else's name from a time slot, you'd have a record of the changes. Anyone have any other suggestions? Or has anyone tried any of these options and have opinions they could share?


  1. Good afternoon.

    My name is Rajesh Setty and I am one of the founders of Jiffle.

    I just want to clarify that with Jiffle there is no email back and forth to setup an appointment. The teacher will receive an email with the requested time and the teacher has to click to "accept" or "reject"

    You can see a screencast (produced by one of our customers) of how Jiffle works here:


    You can also reach me and I will setup a time with someone who can help you set this up.

    Thank you for thinking of us.


  2. I've been using When is Good. It's dead easy to set up, and all you have to do is email the link to your students.

  3. You can try www.scheduleonce.com , which is also very simple. I know non of the online tools have back-and-forth emails, but you do have to send one email for invitation and another for confirmation - that's not too bad!

  4. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm still thinking about whether I want to deal with even a confirmation email - I know that may sound lame but since I'm thinking about having 5-10 minutes appointments with 500 students over the semester, I'd rather not have to deal with anything at all. But I may try one of these with my smaller class first and see how I like it - I'll report back later!

  5. I use writeboard for exactly this purpose. Writeboard is like a very simple wiki-type program. All you need to do is give students the url and password, and they do the rest. It's at www.writeboard.com .

  6. I just came across this today and haven't been able to try it out:


    (via InsideHigherED: http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/15/starfish)

    It looks like it might be exactly what you're looking for once it's out of beta and can be integrated with Blackboard, Moodle, etc.

  7. @steve and andy: thanks! Both of these sound like great options for me!


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