Automate Office Hours with Calendly

Calendly Logo

If you are like many instructors, you now communicate with the majority of students via email and less and less through office hour visits. But what if, after responding to 90% of student questions via email, you still want to leave open the possibility of meeting 1-on-1 with them? Rather than waiting in your office for a few hours each week or trying to find a mutually convenient time emailing back and forth, you may want to check out Calendly.

Calendly is a free, easy to use web-based scheduler that allows people to set up a meeting with you from pre-defined “free” times in your schedule. You simply pick the times that you will be available to meet, then students (or clients, colleagues, anyone really) look at your calendar and choose a time that is convenient for them. Once they pick a time, that block is removed from your calendar, and both of you receive a confirmation email.

calendly dashboard

In addition, Calendly syncs with Outlook, so if you schedule something in Outlook, it will remove that time as available for a meeting with you. Likewise, when someone schedules a meeting with you via Calendly, it adds that meeting to your Outlook calendar.

The last thing I’ll say about this application is that I’m a big fan of its minimalist design, which gives the user a clear, pleasant experience when scheduling an appointment. It’s designed in a way that makes you want to use it!

Bonus: How to embed your Calendly into Blackboard

To make it easy for students to schedule an appointment with you, you’ll want to put your scheduler where they are, which typically is in Blackboard. I’ve created the video below to demonstrate how easy it is to embed your Calendly into BB. Enjoy!

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