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Updates, tutorials, and tips for Falcon Online and distance education.

Upgrade Your Office Hours

by Jasmine Checchi on 2023-12-04T08:30:00-05:00 | 2 Comments

A New Way to Schedule

Office hours are a terrific way to schedule predictable opportunities to interact with your students (RSI anyone?). Of course, I'm sure you've asked yourself how to motivate students to take you up on those opportunities more while managing your time efficiently. Let's talk about a new idea to upgrade your office hours on-campus or online - Bookings with Me!

Bookings with Me

If you've used the FIC scheduling website to book an appointment with an instructional designer, this is the same Microsoft tool but built just for individual use. Here are a few benefits you should consider for your office hours:

  • It automatically references your Outlook calendar to avoid double-booking appointments or meetings.
  • It supports customized schedules - like specific days and times you offer your office hours.
  • It has several duration options depending on how long you anticipate each appointment should be.
  • It has location options to support on-campus or online - and it even creates and sends the Teams link for online appointments.
  • It automatically creates a public website where you can share multiple opportunities, based on your one Outlook calendar.
    • Or you can choose to create private bookings that can be shared as a link, QR code, or more.

How to get started

  1. You can access Bookings with Me from Outlook for the Web, your email through the web browser.
  2. Go to the Outlook for the Web calendar.
  3. Under the mini calendar on the left, you should see and click the link "Go to my bookings page"
    1. This will present you with your public Bookings with Me homepage - congrats!
  4. You now have two options:
    1. Public - these are available for anyone you share your Bookings with Me homepage with; a great option to share if you want to show multiple options at once.
    2. Private - these are only available if you share it individually; if you have multiple private meeting options, you'll need to share each.
  5. Both options contain the same features:
    1. Title - think of this as the main subject or purpose of your meeting
    2. Description - this is optional if you'd like to encourage students to add a note about what their questions may be ahead of time
    3. Location - you can add your office information (Bldg. #, Rm. #) or make it virtual by clicking the button for Teams
    4. Duration - you can customize how long each meeting will last (note: if a student wants a longer time than you have set, they can book multiple slots if available)
    5. Visibility - you can change if it's public or private
      1. Important Note About Checkboxes - Consider unchecking "Send an email with your personal booking page to your top collaborators" to avoid sending it to your colleagues or leadership. You may also want to consider if you want it to appear in your email signature or not.
    6. Scheduling - the default setting uses your Outlook availability (usually 8 am - 5 pm), but you can change this to custom so you can block days and customized timeframe to fit your office hour schedule
      1. For example, you offer office hours on Tuesdays and Thursday from 1 pm to 4 pm. You can customize the schedule to set all other days "Not Bookable" by clicking the "X" and adjust the times for both days to reflect your preference. This will only offer slots within your specified window rather than your entire week.
    7. Advanced options - you can add and adjust any break time between appointments (buffer), how far in advance they can book (lead time), and even have Bookings with Me send emails to remind or follow up!

Falcon Online custom widget with buttons for virtual and in-person office options

Where to share

Now that you have your very own scheduling assistant, you can share it as easily as any other website. With the link, you can send it in an Announcement, post it to your Content, or even add it as a custom widget on your course homepage. Of course, you'll still be able to share the link in an email as well. 

Did you know a custom virtual office hours widget was created as part of an Excellence in Curriculum and Instruction through Technology Enhancement (EXCITE) committee initiative based on faculty feedback? This widget is available right now to preview on the best practices homepage then you can copy it from widgets to customize and personalize it. It was originally created for virtual office hours as a custom area to share your Teams meeting link, but it can be customized to fit your needs regardless of modality.

Need help?

As always, please reach out if you have any questions, or feel free to schedule a one-on-one appointment for help. Also, if you haven't done so already, please consider subscribing to this blog to stay up to date with the latest tips and news!

Jasmine Checchi
Instructional Designer, Division of Online Studies | 386-506-4278
Online Studies | Faculty Innovation Center (FIC)

 Add a Comment

Posts: 1
LaKisha Holmes 2023-12-04T10:29:19-05:00

Thanks for sharing this new tool. It sounds like a great addition to the teaching practice that will help with time management and productivity. I look forward to trying it out. 


Posts: 1
Krissy Leonard 2023-12-12T10:39:32-05:00

I am looking forward to using this for our required Instructor Meetings for our online sections of SLS1122 Managing Your Success!


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