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Dreaming of a (More Robust) Zoom/Calendly Integration

Pairing Zoom with an advanced scheduling AI for cross-institutional collaboration.

November 13, 2019
 
 

About half of my problems with technology end up being explained by user error. The problem is that I never know which half.

I’m hoping that my Zoom/Calendly integration dream is yet another example of something that already exists and which I’m just clueless to figure out.

Everyone knows Zoom. What is less understood is that Zoom is now the most crucial technological catalyst for postsecondary learning innovation.

The LMS is a commodity. Nowadays, you can pick any LMS and things will basically be fine. The same goes for productivity tools and student information systems.

But synchronous learning and academic collaboration platforms are not all alike. Zoom is better. Zoom enables professors to teach intimate online seminars. With Zoom, my conviction that the future of academic employment is low residency may become a reality.

The challenges of using Zoom to overcome the tyrannies of geography in academic work have almost everything to do with scheduling.

Zoom conversations are productive because the video and audio are high quality, the platform is stable and the UI is elegant.

Zoom, however, is best optimized for online meetings that occur at a set day and time. (Like a regularly scheduled class, office hours, a recurring meeting, etc.). Zoom also works great if the people setting up the meeting can access shared calendars.

From my school’s Office 365 platform, I can use Outlook to see if my are colleagues free/busy and can use the Zoom plug-in to schedule a meeting directly.

Things get more tricky when I’m trying to meet with someone outside my institution. Without being able to see their calendars, and without them being to see mine, we end up in a game of email tag.

This is where Calendly comes in. A Calendly link makes it easier for someone who is not on your email/calendaring system to see your availability and to request a meeting.

Right now, if I want to schedule a Zoom meeting with someone outside my school, I either share my Calendly link or ask for theirs. There are still emails involved in figuring out a time that works for everyone to Zoom.

Wouldn’t it be great if it were possible to schedule a Zoom meeting with people outside my institution as easily as with people who work at my school?

Before I go any further, I have to admit that I did google “Zoom+Calendly.” There is, of course, an integration. There is even a nice blog post that explains how it works. There are also third-party tools that I think make this simpler.

In playing with what Zoom and Calendly offer for the integration, however, I can’t quite get things to work as I want. Ideally, I’d like to have dynamic visibility of available days/times for anyone that I have an email address.

Even better, I want Zoom to have an AI that is smart enough that I could say something like “schedule a Zoom between Eddie, Kristen and Matthew,” and it would just occur.

Is that too much to ask?

Has anyone figured out the cross-institutional Zoom scheduling puzzle?

How much time do you spend juggling meeting logistics (hello, Doodle) to get people together to talk?

Where do you think that Zoom should invest in the higher ed space?

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