Using Calendly to Connect with Students
Dr. Hoh used Calendly to streamline and simplify individual appointments with students.
The nursing programs face the significant challenge of orchestrating 1 on 1 consultation time with our busy working graduate students. Part of the course requirement for 2 of the capstone courses is the infamous week 4 phone/ zoom conference. Each section has 10-12 students, who often work full-time in clinic positions as nurse practitioners or nurse anesthetists. It is hard to arrange a time to meet for 30 to 60 minutes during the work-day. The pandemic workload as only exacerbated this challenge. Prior to the use of technology, students would email me several times and I would try and post a master schedule. Calendly has been an efficient no hassle tool to help in scheduling and rescheduling!
In trying to address my dilemma, I was looking for an end-user friendly interface for both myself and the students on the other end. The nursing program DNP courses are asynchronous. Our students reside across the country to Canada and Puerto Rico. These phone calls/ zoom calls are crucial in having real-time exchange of thoughts and ideas.
In NUR 702, the first Capstone course, where the students start to write their chapters and identify a problem and the literature base for an intervention- this is the faculty’s main interaction to guide the student down the right path. Is the topic appropriate Evidence Based Practice vs Research? Is there a conceivable way to meet the end requirements of the program over the subsequent semesters? At the week 4 juncture in NUR 702, students don’t know what they don’t know! It is a time to get them on the right track and clear up any misconceptions.
NUR 704, the second Capstone course, also has the week 4 phone/zoom calls. The goal of this is to lay a strong foundation of project design. This real-time exchange at week 4 guides the rest of the student’s project development. It is critical to make sure that the design is EBP and not research. Also, of great importance is that the project can be done from recruitment to data analysis in 12 weeks, render a clinical outcome that addresses the problem, and the design utilizes the evidence for intervention in the literature review. This real-time exchange is vital.
The phone calls are also more than “work meetings”, it is also an opportunity to establish rapport and foster engagement. This is also an additional deliberate way to connect with on-line students.
This tech fellow project focuses on facilitating these phone calls while allowing for flexibility on students who often are in the clinical setting and may need to reschedule.
In the Fall of 2021, for the 702 course I piloted using Calendly. It was a learning curve for me to learn and live with the application. In the spring of 2022, in NUR 704 I figured out some bells and whistles and fell in love with the efficiency and flexibility.
- This is the website to get the process started. Sign-up and create an account. This will link to Microsoft office, so anything that goes in your calendar and Calendly will synch. It is very efficient that my work email and calendar are synced as well, so I can check sign ups at any time. https://www.calendly.com
- For my 704 course, end of week 2 I set up my Calendly availability.
- Monday of week 3, I send the students the sign-up link for them to pick a time during week 4 dates. I also post the link in the announcements sections with the weekly recap/ previews.
- As the student’s sign-up and reschedule their times, it is automatically populated in my Microsoft calendar. The cancellations are noted as well! You will also receive an email of a cancellation.
- I prefer that the students call me at the time they signed up for, as they are working in clinical settings and maybe running behind.
- We conduct the meetings throughout week 4. Sometimes, they do spill into week 5 should an emergency arise on either end.
- Week 6, I made and sent out the Survey Monkey link to obtain student experience on using Calendly.
I formally assessment my students experience of using Calendly on my second attempt by using a 5 question Survey Monkey survey. I had 6 of my 10 students respond, for a 60% return rate. All responses reported a good experience with Calendly:
Reflections and Next Steps
When I used Calendly the first time, I did not utilize the additional options when setting up the link. These additional options were life changing, especially the scheduling conditions- I prefer a 12-hour notice so I can plan my day as I juggle work/ school/ family life balance like my students do. Especially since I offer evening hours, I want to know what my non-workday and weekend hours look like.
The ease of Calendly makes the phone/ zoom conference scheduling so easy that I am offering a meeting to my 799 students who are in their last capstone course and will be implementing their projects. It is an efficient and convenient way to touch base with students in an online environment and exchange advice, mentoring, and teaching in real-time. Building rapport, facilitating engagement, and fostering a sense of support in an asynchronous online environment is hard. In a small way, these intentional interactions make a difference in the student experience. Calendly is a wonderful app that acts as a vehicle to connect student with teacher.