Running Virtual Office Hours - MicroCPD
Ian Heptinstall discusses running virtual office hours using an online booking system.
The Masters in Industrial Project Management is a part-time programme delivered through distance learning. Students are working project professionals, based all over the world.
One of the key synchronous elements to student support is virtual office-hours.
Students can book a personal 30-minute video meeting with the two lead faculty – Professor John Dyson and Ian Heptinstall, on fixed dates – currently a day each month is available.
An online booking system is used to automate the booking process. Students can see free periods, and book one for themselves. The system then puts the session directly into Ian’s online calendar, and automatically sets up a Zoom meeting for the call. Booking closes 2-days in advance, and Ian lets John know when they are booked, and when they are free for other work.
Some of the students work for organisations that have recently banned Zoom, and insist on using Teams. Students still use the booking system to book the time, and then send John and Ian a team meeting link to use instead of Zoom.
The advantage of this process is it works in the background, with no administration or diary management needed. Students can cancel and rearrange their booking through the system.
Canvas has a booking function in the course calendar. It allows you to set up a group of appointments, for students to select the best available appointment and for you to see who has signed up. Students can cancel and rearrange their booking through the system. Find out more information on using the appointment scheduler in Canvas.
You can combine the appointment scheduler with a Zoom meeting by providing the meeting link in the appointment details. Using the same link for all appointments in the group and making use of the Zoom Waiting room will allow you to keep the meetings private.