Technology Source

Electronic scheduling available for faculty, staff

Are you one of those who carries around a leather-bound, five-pound, stuffed-with-loose-notes daily planner? Have you or your assistant tried in vain to schedule a meeting with several people in different departments? Do you know where your department's overhead projector is... right now?

The solution to some of the headaches surrounding daily planning, scheduling meetings, and keeping up with shared office resources may be an online calendaring or scheduling system. There are several options available to those of you with desktop computers connected to the Emory campus network. Some of you may already be using scheduling software such as DayMaker or DayTimer on your local area network; those staff working in the Emory University System of Health Care (EUSHC) offices probably use a program called GroupWise. But if you're a University employee and want to be able to use a campus-wide scheduling system that will allow you to schedule meetings and resources with other staff across campus, you will want to look into the Information Technology Division's (ITD) recommended choice: Meeting Maker.

ITD originally provided Meeting Maker on a two-year trial basis and has decided to continue offering the product.

Meeting Maker is available to faculty and staff who have Macintoshes, desktop PCs running Windows, or UNIX workstations. It runs over the campus network and is even accessible at home via PPP using EmoryConnect software.

What does Meeting Maker do?

Meeting Maker allows you to:

*Propose meetings and invite guests by checking their calendars to see when they're free. (Meeting Maker can automatically pick the first available time for all required guests and will notify you when all invited guests have responded to your meeting proposal.)
*Schedule resources such as conference rooms, overhead projectors, computer equipment, flipcharts, etc. to use at your meetings or other events.
*Distribute meeting agendas as part of the meeting proposal.
*Create "to-do" lists for yourself or send "to-do" items to others.
*Send electronic mail meeting notices to staff who may not yet have Meeting Maker accounts.
*Print copies of your calendar in daily, weekly or monthly formats.
*Work with your calendar "off-line" and then upload it automatically when you log in again.

Establishing a Meeting Maker account

You must complete an account request form available on the World Wide Web at <>.

For each user account added to the Meeting Maker server, your department will incur a one-time fee of $56 for Windows or Macintosh users and $85 for UNIX workstation users. There is no additional charge for the client software, which is available on ITD's SOFTWARE server. There is also no additional charge to train up to two employees on how to install and use the software, which will allow them to provide installation and training for other users in your department.

In addition, each department is entitled to one printed User Guide for every five accounts purchased.

Scheduling with non-Meeting Maker colleagues

Unlike electronic mail systems, the companies that put out scheduling software have not yet agreed on standards that would allow their various products to "talk" to one another. Groups have begun meeting to establish such standards, but for the time being they effectively don't exist. The solution for now is to use Meeting Maker's feature that allows you to propose a meeting with Meeting Maker users while sending electronic mail notices to non-Meeting Maker users.

For more information on electronic scheduling of meetings, consult the following:
Meeting Maker <>;
Computing Information Center <> or 727-5250;
Software Distribution Center <
Marisa Johnson is an indirect support coordinator in ITD.

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