Scheduling Logistics for Conferences
While it’s important to think broadly about how to align your conferences with the assignment sequence and your schedule for providing written feedback (see the Aligning Conferences with the Assignment Sequence and Written Feedback and the Conference pages), it’s equally crucial to determine the best way to actually schedule the meetings in relation to your day-to-day schedule.
Strategies for determining when to schedule conferences
In deciding when to hold your conferences, you obviously will take into account your teaching and tutoring schedule and your own personal schedule. When setting up the schedule, keep in mind that students are in class most of the day and that many athletes will not be available between 3pm and 7pm for meetings.
While students often welcome evening and weekend conferences, you are under no obligation to meet at those times, unless that works best for your own schedule.
As part of deciding when to schedule conferences, you should also keep in mind your own limitations. Most likely, if you schedule 12-14 conferences in one day, you won’t be on top of your game for student #12 (or #13 or #14). As much as your schedule permits, pace yourself and give yourself ample breaks between segments of conferences. A good rule of thumb is to schedule yourself a break after 4 conferences and to pack no more than 8 conferences into a day if possible.
As a final note: please do not cancel classes in order to hold conferences during that time. You can, however, schedule conferences during your office hours as long as you allow students to request time to see you “by appointment” during conference weeks if they have matters they wish to discuss outside their normal conferencing time.
Strategies for determining where to schedule conferences
Most instructors use their assigned workspace for conferencing. If you’re assigned to a shared office, be sure to coordinate conferencing times with your office mate. If you’re assigned to a cube as your workspace, just be conscious of those working around you and try to keep the volume of the conferencing to a respectful level; if you need a more private space for the meeting (for instance, if the student is working on a personally sensitive research topic), talk to the Associate Director to see what alternate meeting spaces might be available in Sweet Hall.
You might also decide to hold your conferences in an alternate locale. Here are some options that PWR instructors use aside from their workspace:
- Campus cafés, such as Coupa, the Bookstore Café, the CoHo.
- Green Library. You might conference on the first floor near the Information Desk or at the small tables by the east door (the one by Coupa Café). This is an especially ideal location if times in the quarter where students are actively researching and might benefit from having easy access to reference librarians and/or the Green stacks.
- Hume consultation rooms or lounge. Consultation rooms must by scheduled through Shanley at least 48 hours ahead of time and may not be available due to tutoring need. You can conference in the lounge as long as it doesn’t interfere with drop-in tutoring.
- Small meeting rooms in Sweet Hall. Please only use these for group conferences; they are actively used by Sweet Hall staff. You can contact Marcos about signing up.
- Sweet Hall 328B. Reserve through the sign-up sheet on the door. This room will not be available for sign up after June 2019.
If you do opt for afterhours conferences, keep in mind the following:
- The door to the floor of Sweet Hall locks at 5pm and is locked on the weekends. Since you can’t prop the door without setting off an alarm, you’ll need to make sure that students can contact you to be let into the floor if you’re meeting with them after hours.
- Hume is open some evenings (MW until 8:30pm; Th until 7:30pm) and on Sundays (1-7:30pm), so might be an alternate venue for afterhours conferencing. Once again, contact Shanley at least 48 hours in advance if you’d like to reserve a Hume consultation room for your conferences.
Strategies for how to schedule conferences
There is no one best way to sign up students for conferences. Across PWR, instructors use a variety of different methods:
- Paper sign-up sheet
- Google sheets
- Canvas sign-up (Scheduler tool)
- Other platforms
Your method of signing students up for conferences will depend on your priorities. If it’s important to you that you keep everything on one platform, you might opt for Canvas. If it’s important to you that students can see the entire conferencing schedule in real time, you might use a Google sheet or Google doc. If it’s important to you to have a platform that syncs with calendars, you might use Calendly. If you want to stay low-tech with conference sign up (since we have other things to worry about), you might circulate a sign-up sheet in class.
What’s most important is that students have a clear sense of when they signed up for a conference and ideally have a means to refer back to the schedule or otherwise remind themselves of the time as their meeting approaches.