I realized it’s been at least 6 years since I last changed the look around here. Websites probably shouldn’t go that long between updates, so take a moment to remember the old, lush Pegasus while you explore the new site.
First of all, I’m back! I’ve been devoting any writing energy to some article revisions, but now those are all submitted and I don’t have to feel guilty about cheating on my article with my blog. What a relief.
Anyway, this morning I spent nearly all of my time shirking other responsibilities in order to set up an appointment scheduler and some feedback forms. A couple of my colleagues use and love schedulers, so I thought I’d give it a try, and I’ve been hearing non-stop lately about the value of very very brief assessment, so I thought I’d try that in a more formalized way, too.
I heard about ScheduleOnce on a recent friendfeed thread and made an account almost on a whim. “I’ll poke around and maybe set it up later.” Famous last words. It’s pretty nifty and lets me do pretty much all of the things I want, and some things I didn’t know I wanted. For example, I could set it up to send a reminder email to the student (maybe fewer no-shows?), and tell it how soon before the desired appointment time a student can book me. The one catch is that it’s made to work with Google Calendar, and my school uses Zimbra, so I had to import my Zimbra calendar into a google calendar (there are some limitations with this, but it’s better than nothing) and then tell ScheduleOne to look at the imported calendar for busy times (which required an upgrade to the $5/month plan). But if it works, it’s totally worth it to me.
After a couple hours of tinkering and testing and tinkering and importing and syncing and cursing Zimbra/Gcal quite contentedly, I embedded the scheduler page in my liaison page and thought I was done.
Then I remembered the “follow-up email” option in the scheduler that I had turned off. Who needs more email, right? Well, maybe people will give me some basic feedback if I ask nicely. So I hopped over to Google Docs and made a feedback form that basically asks two questions: “how satisfied are you” and “do you have follow up questions” (if yes, email me, because this form doesn’t collect any identifying information. Then I leave the traditional optional space to tell me more. Done. I added the link to a follow-up email thanking the student for the research meeting and telling them to email me if they have further questions, and I figured I was done.
But no. This made me think of the people talking about having students fill out forms embedded in libguides at the end of instruction sessions. I’ve done the “on the front of the notecard write something that was new and/or helpful; on the back write something that is still confusing or you’d like to know more about” kinds of exercises on occasion, and I’d love to do more of them, but I often don’t have notecards at the last minute. So I basically made that into a Google Form, embedded it in a page on libguides, and now I’m set to copy that page to any other guides I make. Tada!
And thus ends my morning of nerddom.
This is going exceptionally well so far. I’ve done a few user error things along the way, but over all it has been such a help. Almost no futzing with calendars every day, and almost no back-and-forth emails with students about meeting times. I’m in love!