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Usage Tips

When used properly, Andrew Calendar can be an incredibly powerful communication tool for individuals and groups of people. As with any powerful tool, however, there are any number of simple and seemingly harmless activities that can have an adverse affect not only on your effective use of the system, but on the usefulness to thousands of others.

This document outlines many of the common pitfalls that we have identified and will help you to avoid them. There are also points that will help you to avoid having an adverse affect on the usefulness of the system for others.

These are only examples - in general, you should always consider how your actions may be perceived by others and use your best judgment.

Meetings: Inviting People and Responding to Invitations

  • Don't schedule time with faculty members unless you have their permission to do so
    Students should refrain from scheduling professors, advisors, teaching assistants or any other member of Carnegie Mellon faculty for any meeting or event unless they have been given clear permission to do so. If you are unsure, e-mail the faculty member first and ask for permission to schedule with them.
  • Don't invite people you don't know
    In most cases, inviting someone you don't know to a meeting or other function will cause confusion and, in some cases, some amount of resentment. Call or send e-mail to the person beforehand to ask permission to schedule a meeting or, at the very least, let them know why you're inviting them (e.g., because someone they know told you to).
  • Don't invite large numbers of people
    There are few people who should have occasion to invite large numbers of people to meetings, events or notes. Users' inboxes would tend to fill up very quickly if every university event were announced through Andrew Calendar. The Event Calendar has been created for this purpose.
  • Make sure people know what you're inviting them to
    When you invite people to meetings or other functions, make sure that the title is descriptive enough that they'll understand the true purpose of the event. If possible, use the Details tab to provide information such as topics of discussion, what to bring to the meeting, and so on.
  • Respond to invitations in a timely manner
    When you respond to an invitation, you not only extend the courtesy of letting the initiator know if you'll be attending but you also let others know when you'll be available for other activities. When you are invited to a meeting or other event, that block of time is set aside as "unavailable" until you respond. Anyone who tries to schedule something with you will encounter a conflict if they attempt to schedule during that time. If you respond that you will not attend, that block of time becomes available for someone else to schedule an event.

Managing your Calendar

  • Let others know when you're unavailable
    In order for your calendar to accurately reflect your availability for meetings or other functions, you should enter as many of your scheduled committments as possible. You can easily enter your classes as recurring meetings. Ask your employer to enter your work schedule as soon as they know it, or enter it yourself as soon as you receive it. You should also enter team practices, your intramural sport schedule, or other sporting events in which you participate. Andrew Calendar is an effective tool in managing your organization's carnival schedule.

    There are most likely times when you are not in class or at work, but want to show a block of time as unavailable. For example, you may want to schedule some uninterrupted study time. You can schedule this time on your calendar as a meeting to which only you are invited. When another user attempts to schedule a meeting with you, they will see a conflict if they try to schedule during this time.
  • Don't use meetings in place of Day Events or Daily Notes.
    If you are scheduling an event that is casual or optional for all or part of the scheduled time, enter it as a Note or Day Event, not as a meeting. For example, let's say you want people to know that they can drop by your room between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. to pick up their copy of your group project report. If you schedule a meeting with those people from 9:00 a.m.to 11:30 a.m., anyone else who wants to schedule a meeting with these same people will encounter a conflict and will be forced to select a different time. However, if you set up a note entitled "Pick up Group Project Report in Mudge House room 222: 9:00 - 11:30 a.m." people will receive the message and other events can be scheduled during that time.

    You can also use Day Events or Daily Notes to mark important dates (e.g., last day to withdraw from classes, registration dates, payment due dates, etc.) from the academic calendar.
  • Accept Day Events, Daily Notes & Holidays
    Your inbox will be much less cluttered if you simply accept the Day Events, Daily Notes and Holidays that people have sent to you.

Setting Access Rights to Your Agenda

You have a great deal of control over who can do what with your agenda. However, you should make sure that you don't set your access rights to be so restrictive that it becomes difficult or even impossible for others to schedule time with you.

The guidelines will help you to retain your right to privacy without making it impossible for other users to schedule meetings or other activities with you.

  • Allow others to view as much of your time information as possible.
    Unless there is a very good reason not to, you should allow anyone to view the times that you have scheduled. Giving everyone access to view the times of your meetings and other activities will help people to schedule with you only when you are available. For information on how to give others additional access rights, see Set Access Rights.
  • Make sure your "Designates" have the access they need.
    If someone else will be acting as your designate and managing your schedule for you, make sure that they have access to the information and functions that they need to perform this task appropriately. At the very least, Designates should have "Modify" privileges to "Normal" level items so that they can schedule meetings in your behalf.
  • Understand the difference between access for viewing and inviting.
    You can allow people to invite you to meetings without allowing them to view detailed information about your meetings.
  • Allow people to send you mail
    The Andrew Calendar software allows people who are scheduling meetings or other events to send e-mail to the invitees. By default, you will be configured to receive these messages. You can turn this option off, but keep in mind that if you do, people will not be able to send you mail through Andrew Calendar to inform you of changes, meeting agendas, and so on. For more information, see Set Agenda Preferences.
  • Set the appropriate access level for each activity you schedule.
    When you schedule an activity in Andrew Calendar, you should set its access level. For example, you might want to enter a doctor's appointment with a "Personal" access level, but would probably schedule a class time with a "Normal" level.
  • Make sure that you have the appropriate access to peoples' agendas.
  • To properly administrate agendas for other people, you should make sure that they, at the very least, give you "Modify" access rights to the "Normal" level items in their agendas. This level of access will allow you to schedule, modify, and accept meetings on their behalf, which is the main objective of a designate.

    To make sure that you can reasonably maintain other peoples agendas, encourage them to allow you to at least see the times for their personal and confidential items. They don't need to allow you to see the subject or other details, just the times.
  • Don't schedule meetings as if they're YOUR meetings.
    This is perhaps the most important of all things to avoid as a designate. When you schedule meetings for another person, you should open that person's agenda as a designate, then schedule the meeting. This gives that person ownership of the meeting instead of you. You will still be able to modify the meeting in the future, but so will the person for whom you're scheduling the meeting.

    If you schedule the meeting from your agenda, you will encounter the following problems:
    • You will be set to attend the meeting. Therefore, if someone tries to invite you to a meeting, you will appear to be unavailable for that time, even if you really aren't attending the meeting you scheduled.
    • If you are out of the office sick or on vacation, or for whatever reason are not available to modify the meeting, no one else will be able to change the meeting - not even the person for whom you scheduled it.
    • If at any time you are no longer the designate for a person, all meetings that you have scheduled for that person under your own agenda will need to be scheduled again. There is no easy way to transfer ownership of a meeting from one person to another.
  • All resources must have at least one designate.
    Computing Services will create resources upon request, but each resource must have at least one "designate" (up to a maximum of five) who will manage the schedule for that resource.
  • Use Andrew Calendar for complete management of the resource.
    We recommend that you use only Andrew Calendar to maintain a resource schedule. For example, if you set up a conference room as a resource in Andrew Calendar but also maintain a schedule for that room on paper, you will most likely run into scheduling conflicts as people record a meeting in one place but not in the other. If you set up a resource in Andrew Calendar, be prepared to eliminate the paper schedule.

Designates

Andrew Calendar allows some users, known as designates, to maintain schedules for other users. When used properly, the Designate feature is a very powerful one. However, if you are a designate, there are some things that you should keep in mind to prevent problems for you and the people for whom you maintain schedules.

Resources

Andrew Calendar allows student organizations to maintain schedules for "resources" such as conference rooms. When handled properly, Andrew Calendar can be a very powerful tool for scheduling resources

Last Updated: 12/5/11