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oh calendar, where art though?

The School of Information is the first place I’ve been in a number of years that doesn’t have a community norm of using a calendaring system. From what I gather, the school’s administrators use MeetingMaker, faculty use nothing, and students use whatever they have with Google Calendar being the most common. Others in the University seem to use Meeting Maker or nothing, except for the lucky few on one of the Exchange servers.

I’m on three teams for courses, with three to five people on each. We’ve gotten pretty good about having regularly scheduled meetings and, when additional meetings are necessary, trying to schedule the next meeting at the end of the previous meeting. That process works okay, but still not as well as when facilitated by Exchange. This also leaves a number meetings which need to be scheduled outside of meetings, as the need arises. For those, we revert to seemingly endless chains of threads of messages.

On one team, we’ve started using a shared Google Calendar, but that’s really only good for keeping track of team meetings we have scheduled. When used as a scheduling tool in groups, the weaknesses — primarily having to seek out other users’ calendars and hoping for appropriate permissions, rather than having the free/busy information shown in context as you try to setup an appointment — quickly make it unmanageable.

I’m whining, I know, but I am going to have to figure something out. After years of taking Exchange’s services for granted, scheduling group meetings by emails back and forth won’t do.

Also: would it be going too far to say that a nontrivial amount of the success we had at Olin, both with involving students alongside staff and faculty in the administration of the school and with student teamwork, was faciliated by having Exchange in our suite of IT services?

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