As someone who supports students, teachers and schools in my school board it requires me to try to arrange meetings with different stakeholders where I need to either coordinate a common meeting time or set up a series of individual meetings within a specified period of time. I have always found this to be incredibly time consuming as it requires a barrage of exchanging emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. I have always accepted this as an unavoidable task in order to coordinate my day. That was until Doodle entered the picture…
Doodle is an online and interactive scheduler that allows you poll participants in order to find common meeting times or arrange a series of meetings. You can create a free account or start a simple Doodle without any account at all. The paid subscription to Doodle offers more tools and functionality such as tracking, collecting participant info and setting up reminders. For my use, the free account has been more than adequate as it allows me to invite participants via email or by directing them to a link. As the administrator, I can then view the results and determine meeting times based upon participant feedback.
Even with the free account you do have some useful options available to you. Aside from determining dates and times that you would like others to consider for possible meeting times, you can also adjust settings so that busy participants can indicate an “if need be” response as well as limit the number of selections a participant can make on your Doodle. Another handy setting was the ability to set the number of eligible spots/openings available per proposed meeting time. This allowed me to open up a variety of dates and times that I would be available to meet with schools and teachers where they could then select and occupy a time slot that would then no longer be available to others. This little feature literally saved me numerous back and forth emails of updating participants on remaining available dates and times.
In order to distribute your Doodle you can invite participants directly from Doodle using their email address or you can simply copy and paste the URL to the Doodle and distribute it on your own. For participants who are responding to your Doodle, you have the option of allowing them to see the results and selections of others. However, if you wish you can also have the responses set to private so only the administrator is able to see the selections of other participants.
Outside of my own work, I can see how Doodle would help teachers/educators organize meetings within a school, coordinate meeting times for parent-teacher interviews, committee meetings, extracurricular groups and sports teams, etc. For meetings or gatherings that span across departments and schools, Doodle can be a great timesaver.