As we continue to transition to online learning, we all now have office hours to logistically schedule and make accessible to our students. Students need additional support for one on one or small group support. Therefore, creating an easy mechanism for you and your students to schedule office hours is critical to ensuring office hours are being utilized by your students.
There are two Edtech tools I recommend for logistically scheduling office hours online with your students: Calendly and Google Appointment Slots. Each Edtech tool provides teachers a mechanism to select time slots in their schedules and then create an interface where students have the ability to schedule meetings with their teacher for office hours, which then automatically blocks out the time in both the student and teacher’s online calendar for the planned meeting. What this looks like is that teachers and students both get a calendar event filled within their calendar with the meeting details to ensure the future event is on the books. Here, I have provided the Calendly graphic students are taken to when linked from your learning management system (Google Classroom, Schoology, Seesaw, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.) to see when their teachers are available for office hours and to select a meeting time. In this visual, students can see daily, weekly, and monthly availability, which allows them to schedule in advance, if necessary, depending on their teacher’s availability.
Tips to Get Started with Calendly and Google Appointment Slots
To get started for Calendly and Google Appointments Slots, I suggest doing the following. First, make sure you have your live class times blocked off in your calendar. Second, also have your off-hours blocked off in your calendar so not meeting times can appear after contract hours. Third, block off days or times in your calendar when you have faculty, content/department, IEP, and grade-level meetings. Ultimately, after doing this within your online calendar, Calendly and Google Appointment Slots can easily be set up because you will have designated times for when your office hours can occur.
Once those times are designated for live class times and meetings, Calendly and Google Appointment Slots will give you an option to determine the length of time slots for student meeting times during office hours. I selected 15 minutes per meeting to start as I teach secondary because I have over 100+ students. I wanted to ensure as much equity and access to office hours as possible because of the number of students I work with. However, as time progresses, I will determine if the 15-minute time blocks are working or whether more time will be needed for my office hour meeting time blocks for my students. Before setting up your calendar, be sure to take the number of students you have into consideration as that will likely dictate how much time you can dedicate for one on one student office hour sessions.
Setting up Calendly and Google Appointment Slots
Below, I provided two tutorials for how to set up each Edtech tool. In all likelihood, it should not take you longer than 10 to 15 minutes to set up your office hour appointments. Take a look and see how choosing one of these Edtech tools can help you logistically set up your office hours.
Google Appointment Slots Tutorial
I ultimately decided to use Calendly because it can integrate into my Google Calendar (also I want to add it can integrate with most mainstream online calendars) and utilize its various functionalities to set my office hours for my students. I personally liked the interface of Calendly better than Google Appointment Slots because I believe it’s much easier to navigate for students to see when time slots are available for office hours on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
At the end of the day, making your office hours accessible is key so your students can access their teachers when time is available for additional support beyond the synchronous live sessions and asynchronous content provided fort hem. Also, making it logistically simple on your calendar as well as ensuring scheduling time slots are accessible to your students is key. By doing both this, your students will want to participate and engage in your office hours, which will ultimately help them navigate your online course and the content they are learning.