From the KnowledgeBase

Title:
Calendaring: Web Appointment Scheduling System (WASS)
Synopsis:
The Web Appointment Scheduling System (WASS) makes it possible to schedule appointments on the Web. Faculty, deans, and others can use WASS to create a web-based calendar on which they indicate their availability for appointments. Students and others can locate these calendars on the Web, find an available appointment time, and schedule an appointment.


Solution:

There are many situations where an individual wishes to publish their availability for appointments. A professor or dean or administrator may wish to let students know about his/her offices hours. An advisor may wish to let their advisees know about advising hours. An administrator may wish to let potential applicants know when they can make an appointment to discuss a job or other opportunity. In all of these situations, we have:

1) A person who is available for appointments on specific days at specific times (or, in the case of office hours, on a specific set of dates and times).

2) A set of people who wish to make an appointment to visit this person. These may be specific individuals (students enrolled in a course), or a specific population (anyone with a Princeton netID), or anyone at all.

3) A desire to have the people making the appointments select an available date and time themselves, rather than having them arrange the appointment via email or phone conversations.

WASS is designed to handle all of these cases. Standard calendaring programs, such as Outlook or Ical, do not handle these cases well because they require the calendar owner to add the appointment to their calendars. WASS allows the person making the appointment to add the appointment to a person's calendar, but only on dates and times that the person has specifically designated for such appointments. WASS can also be used to schedule meetings where the attendees enroll themselves in the meeting (as opposed to the standard calendaring solution, which requires that people be "invited" to the meeting).

WASS includes features that allow the calendar owner to restrict who may schedule an appointment, how many appointments may be scheduled, and by when (relative to the start of the appointment time) the appointment has to be made. It also includes a facility that will add appointments made in the system to a person's local calendar.

WASS is entirely web-based, and only requires a web browser to create and manage a calendar or to make appointments. WASS also includes a facility that allows a calendar owner to designate one or more calendar "managers" -- people who can manage a calendar on the owner's behalf. Lastly, WASS includes a notification/reminder facility that sends out notices of pending appointments via e-mail.

Who May Use the System
Two kinds of people use the WASS system: 1) people who hold office hours (people who are available for appointments); 2) people who make appointments with the office hours holders. We will refer to the first kind as "calendar owners," and the second kind as "appointment makers."

Anyone with a Princeton netID can be a calendar owner and can create and manage a calendar in the WASS system. Calendar owners are typically faculty members, deans and administrators (people who hold office hours), but students can create calendars as well (if they want to make themselves available for appointments). Appointment makers do NOT need to create a calendar in the WASS system. They simply look up the calendars of owners and make appointments with them. A calendar only needs to be created if the person wants to make themselves available for appointments. When a calendar owner makes themselves available for appointments, they can restrict who can schedule appointments based on netID or on enrollment in a class. They can also designate that anyone (including people without netIDs) can schedule an appointment (useful in cases where someone want to be available for appointments with people outside of the Princeton community).

How the System Works
Calendar owners log in to the system and create a calendar (they need only do this once). They then specify the dates and times on which they are available for appointments on their calendar by adding "blocks" of available time (one-time or recurring blocks). They can add such blocks at any time. The blocks can be "slotted" or "unslotted". Slotted blocks are divided into equal-duration appointment slots (people sign up for a specific slot). Unslotted blocks are not divided into slots (people sign up for the whole block). Slotted blocks are used to schedule individual appointments. Unslotted blocks correspond to the traditional "first come, first served" model of office hours, or they can also be used to schedule meetings.

When a calendar owner adds a block of available time to their calendar, they can specify various kinds of access restrictions (who can see the block and/or make appointments). They can also set a scheduling "deadline" (by when appointments have to be made), as well as limiting how many appointments an individual may make in a block of time (e.g., the maximum number of appointments in an unslotted block).

When a calendar owner adds recurring blocks of available time (e.g., every Tuesday from 2:30 until 5pm) they may designate the "kinds" of days on which they are available. The Princeton academic calendar is built-in to WASS, so it knows which days correspond to "teaching days", "reading period", etc. This makes it easy to set up one's semester office hours.

Appointment makers login to the system and lookup a calendar owner's calendar (by netID or name or course enrollment). They are shown the calendar owner's calendar, including blocks of available time. They can then select an available time and make an appointment. Email notifications are sent (if requested) to the appointment maker and the calendar owner, as well as reminders (if requested, the evening before the appointment).

Calendar owners and appointment makers can go into the system at any time and cancel pending appointments. Calendar owners can add and delete blocks of available time (any appointments scheduled for a deleted block are automatically cancelled, with an e-mail notification).

Accessing the System
The WASS system is accessed from any web browser via the following URL: http://wass.princeton.edu

The WASS system requires that you have javascript and cookies enabled in your browser; if you do not, you will receive an error message and be prompted to turn these on.

Once you access the system, you will be given the opportunity to log in (using you LDAP netID and password), or to indicate that you do not have a Princeton netID (non-Princeton people can use the system to schedule appointments with calendar owners who allow guests to make appointments).

Help
WASS has a built-in, context-sensitive help system, and is intended to be self-explanatory. Log in to the system and click the Help button to get started.

If you have questions or feature requests, please contact the OIT Help Desk at 8-4357(HELP).

Last Updated:
September 10, 2013

Solution ID:
9911