Tip for August 14, 2009: Meeting Schedulers!

Meetings, we all have them. Some days it’s all we do. Fortunately we have Exchange / Outlook / Entourage to help manage our on-campus meetings. What about external meetings? How do you arrange a meeting time with a colleague from VCU or schedule time for a visit from a vendor? As the trendy new expression goes, there’s an app for that! There are two services that I’m highlighting today giving you the ability to schedule meetings online with external colleagues.

MeetingMade lets you create an account and then block out the times you aren’t available. You then invite other meeting attendees to do the same. This gives you a common point of reference within MeetingMade where you can decide on the times that work best for everyone. MeetingMade’s goal is to eliminate all of the back and forth E-mail and phone calls which happens especially when trying to organize an event with multiple attendees. MeetingMade offers a 30-day free trial, however since it is in beta status it’s free to use until they decide a pricing plan. My instincts tell me that a free option will remain.

ScheduleOnce offers to accomplish what MeetingMade performs, but utilizes Google Calendar to facilitate the process of choosing a common meeting time. ScheduleOnce is a free service and works by downloading a Google Calendar add-on for your browser which then connects you to the service and the people you are trying to meet with. The only disadvantage ScheduleOnce has when compared to MeetingMade is that you have to have your Outlook calendar synced with your Google Calander. Don’t dispair, there’s an app for that too! The Goolgle Calenendar Sync tool will sync your Outlook calendar data with your Google Calander. If you’re concerned with losing data in Outlook, you can set the tool to only update your Google Calender, not import data from Google into Outlook. I’ve been using this personally for quite a while now and have found it to work flawlessly.

Speaking of meetings, since they do tend to take up a lot of our time, its important they be productive and stay focused. Here’s a short list 7 Tips from Web Worker Daily to help you keep your meetings on-task.

Bonus Tip!

forbidden_cityForbidden City – For a while I was really excited about Second Life and the potential it brought to online learning, meetings, discussions, etc. In my opinion it has really jumped the shark. However in a related note, The Forbidden City project offers much more educational potential, at least if you’re interested in Chinese history. Through a collaboration between IBM and the Palace Museum, you can download a fully digitized virtual version of the Forbidden City and tour it in real-time. It’s available for PC/Mac/Linux and offers a great opportunity to tour an incredible facility that you would otherwise have to travel thousands of miles to see.

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