iSpartan is UNCG’s implementation of Google Apps for Education (GAFE). GAFE is a collection of web-based collaboration tools, including email (Gmail), chat, calendaring, word processing, and spreadsheets. These tools work through a web browser, without requiring users to buy or install software.
Calendar is a scheduling tool that is integrated with other Google services and is designed to facilitate collaboration. The purpose of this article is to highlight new or lesser known features, with the goal of helping UNCG users get the most out of the tool:
- Find a Time
- Invite a Group
In upcoming weeks we will discuss other Google tools and share more tips and tricks. See previous “Google Tips” in the 6-TECH Tips section (right panel) of ITS News.
Easily find the next open time for a meeting
A lesser known but powerful feature of Calendar is “Find a Time.” Find a Time is useful for identifying the best time for an event based on the various schedules of the invitees. Find a Time displays the day calendars of up to 20 invitees, in parallel, helping the event planner locate the time best suited for the majority of participants. The proposed time of the event is visually projected across the calendars of the invitees, allowing the event planner to see conflicts.
To use Find a Time, first create a New Event with an initial proposed date and time. Next, search for guests to invite by entering their email address or name. Then click Find a time tab, as shown below:
Depending on the number of invitees and screen size, the event planner may have to scroll sideways through invitees to view all possible conflicts. The proposed event is represented by a flashing, outlined box. Drag the box up or down to see possible conflicts with different time slots. Navigate through days (or weeks) to see possible conflicts on different dates.
Invite a Group
To manage invitations more easily, Google Calendar permits Google Groups to be invited to an event. (More than an email distribution list, Google Groups is a collaboration and rights-management service which enables easy sharing of online resources, such as Google Docs.) By inviting a Group, an event planner is easily able to distribute an invitation to a large number of individuals. Based on the Group’s configuration, Calendar may automatically expand the Group to display the names of the members. Using Google Groups, Calendar events can exceed the 200 individual invitee limit (though RSVP functionality is affected).
To invite a Google Group, enter the name or email address of the Group. Google will resolve the name or email address of a Group, in the same way it will for an individual. If your role in the Google Group permits, you will be able to toggle the small arrow next to the Group’s name to reveal the Group’s members. Depending on the number of members in the Group, it may take some time for the toggle arrow to appear and be available.
For more information about Google Calendar, FAQ and links to resources, see About Google Calendar.
Discuss Google Apps at UNCG
Want to discuss how UNCG is making use of Gmail or other Google applications? Do you have favorite tips and tricks you would like to share? firstname.lastname@example.org is a Google Group that allows anyone on campus to post and participate in discussions about Google Apps @ UNCG. The membership is open to anyone who wants to subscribe, and is intended to encourage discussion about best practices, success stories, and ways in which the university community can make use of this collaboration suite.
- Go to https://groups.google.com/a/uncg.edu/forum/#!forum/google-discuss-l
- Login with your iSpartan Username and Password.
- Click the Join Group button.