Google Calendar provides an avenue for more organized scheduling for faculty

Scheduling advising appointments and meetings has been a challenge for Dr. Donna Van Bodegraven, dbodegraprofessor in the Spanish department. The Spanish professor used to rely on students signing up on pieces of paper on her door to make appointments, but that proved to be inefficient because her students had such hectic schedules. However, while working in the Language Media Center, Dr. Bodegraven discovered a tool that would make her scheduling problems disappear: Google Calendar.

Google Calendar

“While in the Language Media Center with my class, I was watching the lab supervisor set up a schedule for the other lab supervisors with Google Calendar,” she said. “I saw it and I thought, ‘This would take care of [my scheduling] issue.’”

Now, Dr. Bodegraven opens her calendar to her students, signifying when she’s available and allowing her students to add their names to the open timeslots. Google Calendar has been convenient for her because it allows her to schedule appointments with many students in a short period of time.

“It is extremely useful during advising time with 20 to 50 advisee,” Dr. Bodegraven said, citing preregistration the most useful time to use it. “Every once in a while, students [in my classes] will use it. If someone has an appointment, they know they have my undivided attentions for that time.”

Altering the calendar

One of the most effective features that Dr. Bodegraven has utilized with Google Calendars is adding the extra appointment time for students to come see her. In a given week, if she has more free time, Dr. Bodegraven will open her schedule to students to come into her office, and instead of fixing an entire paper sheet for it, all she has to do is add the times onto her Google Calendar.

Minor problems to be aware of

While Dr. Bodegraven loves how Google Calendar has made her scheduling problems easier, she admits that the program has a number of problems. The biggest one, in her opinion, is sharing access to the calendar to students in a given semester.

“The biggest problem is that there is no way to sort the people to whom you’ve given access,” Dr. Bodegraven said. “Once someone is no longer my advisee, I don’t want him or her to have access to my calendar. It would be so much easier if you could sort e-mail addresses and could erase those of students I no longer have. I can’t batch delete.  If there were a way to fix that, or if there was a different kind of program where that could be done, that’d be terrific.”

Dr. Bodegraven has experienced other, more minor problems with Google Calendar. For example, the program makes her schedule things in 30-minute increments, so if a student signs up for a slot just to get something signed, that is 30 minutes Dr. Bodegraven could have devoted to another student. Also, she has faced problems with students accidently deleting potential meeting times from her calendar. But those problems are minimal in the grand scheme of things.

Great organizational tool

While Dr. Bodegraven admits that the program has its flaws, she appreciates the organization Google Calendar brings into her schedule and she looks forward to the improvements that are sure to come in the future.

If you are interested in integrating Google Calendar or another Google technology into your classroom or daily life, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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