Trinity is beginning to support WASS (Web Appointment Scheduling System) as a way to facilitate appointments, especially student appointments. WASS is an open-source software project that was launched at Princeton University, and is used at a variety of institutions across the country.
With WASS, you can: specify blocks of time that you have made available for appointments, divide those blocks as you like, and then make that calendar available to others (either Trinity students/faculty/staff or the whole world). For people who use an electronic calendar, such as Outlook, Google Calendar, or a computer- or device-based calendar app, WASS also provides a feed of these appointments, so that you’re able to keep track of them easily.
This is a *basic* guide to getting started with WASS: for more information, contact your instructional technologist or me (Jason B. Jones). Also note: This is an experiment, and some things are still improving.
First Steps: Accessing WASS and setting up a calendar
Anyone with a Trinity College userid can create a calendar on WASS.
First, go to http://wass.trincoll.edu, and log in with your username and password:
The first time you log in, it will take you to the Make an Appointment page. As you see, you can search by Calendar Owner’s Name, User Name, or Calendar Title. (Note: Clicking ‘Browse’ lets you browse actually-existing calendars, not everyone on the Trinity system.) But let’s set up a new calendar. You do this by clicking “Create Calendar”:
The first screen gives you a variety of simple setup options: You can give it a simple title (e.g., “Dr. Jones’s Office Hours”), decide whether it’s a group calendar, and whether to allow multiple calendars to overlap. (Note: This implies you can set up different calendars! So, for example, you can have a calendar for office hours, another for research or service commitments, and maybe other, more specialized calendars for short-term projects.) “Default Block Settings” are the identifying information that will be displayed on the blocks you set up. You can format this as you like. (The information is filled in automatically from Active Directory–it’s the same information that shows up in the campus directory.)
One important thing to understand is “Access Restrictions” (at the bottom of the screen). Click on “Show” to expose them:
Each of these three settings are important:
- View Calendar: Who can see this calendar? By default, only people with a Trinity userid can see the calendar. You can make it visible to the whole world (Open), just a certain number of specific people (Restricted), or only those who control the calendar (Private).
- Make Appointments: Who can make an appointment on this calendar? The set up is the same as view: the default is Trinity-only, but you can set different levels of permission if you’d like.
- Show Appointment Details: The default behavior is that people who are not the calendar owner can only see whether an appointment time is open or busy. If it’s busy, they cannot see any details about it. If you tick this box, though, you can expose the details about the appointment to anyone. (In other words, it’s all or nothing–no details are visible, or they all are.)
Once you’ve adjusted the settings to your liking, click “Save.”
Your calendar has been created! On the next screen, you get a lot of different choices:
You can create more calendars, add managers to your calendar (for example, a colleague or an administrative assistant), or delete the calendar. (These choices are on the right.) You can also get addresses for subscribing to the calendar. (Center of the screen.) We will return to these in a moment. What we want to do is create some times for appointments. To do that, we click “View Calendar” (on the left-hand column.
You can see a generic calendar, but no way to make appointments. To add this capacity, click “Add Block(s)” on the left hand column.
You can then set up a variety of options:
I won’t go through all of these options, but will just note that you can set blocks up to be one-time or recurring; that you can set the length of time for appointments (or leave this blank); you can limit the number of appointments people can make; and you can also (under “Advanced Options”) change the privacy settings for this particular block. Once you’ve configured the settings as you like, click “Save,” and it will appear on your calendar.
You can easily share this calendar with students by clicking “Calendar Setup,” and then sharing the top link of the three with your students:
The *second* URL is also worth noting: If you already use an electronic calendar, you can add that URL to it, and subscribe to your WASS calendar there for convenient viewing. (This works in iOS and most other phones/tablets; it works in Outlook on the PC side, and iCal on the Mac side. A workflow for Mac OS is coming.)
- E-mail/text reminders are still a work-in-progress.
- The calendar does not yet display correctly in Outlook for Macs or for webmail.
- No integration (yet) with Moodle, to facilitate class-specific appointment calendars.
- Trinity localizations (phone numbers / links in Help files) are not complete.