The Appointment System feature of Terra Dotta is used by administrators to track applicant appointments. Stay organized and help reduce interruption to your work flow!
This article covers the following topics related to the Appointment System:
- Appointment System Functionality: A quick list of feature benefits.
- Enabling the Appointment System: Part 1 of 2 steps to take to get the feature up and running on your site.
- Enabling Staff Pages: Part 2 of 2 steps to take, this time focused on action items for admin users.
- My Appointments Panel: Take a look at options available from the Admin Home page.
- Setting Up & Managing Appointments: Explore the Appointment Scheduler.
- Making & Cancelling an Appointment: Applicant/Site Visitor Experience: See what happens on the other side!
Appointment System Functionality
The Appointment System feature of Terra Dotta allows an admin user to configure an appointment schedule that is accessible through their Terra Dotta staff page. The benefits of this system include:
- The ability to set the specific days and time blocks when an admin is available for an appointment.
- The flexibility to make edits to an admin's schedule as the need might arise.
- The option for applicants and other site visitors to log in and select an available appointment block in the admin's schedule through the admin's staff page.
- Email notifications to both the admin and applicant when an appointment is scheduled.
- A reduction in the the foot and phone traffic that many functional offices experience from visitors eager to meet.
The Appointment System can be enabled for admins in the Facilitators permissions group. See the Managing Staff Permissions article in our Knowledgebase for details on assigning and managing staff permissions on your site.
1) Navigate to Settings > System Features. Click on the Features tab.
2) Locate the Information Request System section. Check the box next to "Enable vCal Attachments for Appointment Requests" to allow appointments to be generated as events in calendar software (for example, Outlook).
Note: Some network mail servers will not allow attachments to be sent through the system. It is important to test the functionality of the vCal attachments prior to implementation.
- Public Staff Listing
- Enable Staff Email Form
- Enable Staff Appointments
4) Cancellation Window (optional): By entering a numerical value (representing hour[s]), this feature will "lock in" an appointment as it draws closer so that it cannot be cancelled less than X hour(s) before the appointment is scheduled to begin. In the example below, the appointment could not be cancelled less than 3 hours before it was scheduled to begin.
Enabling Staff Pages
After the Appointment System has been enabled on your site, the next step is to configure the settings needed by admin users to utilize this feature. Any admin who wishes to make use of the Appointment System must have a staff page.
To enable a staff page, follow these steps:
2) Locate your respective staff member. Mark the box in the corresponding "Enable" column so that a check mark appears. This is needed in order to utilize the Appointment System.
Once the steps have been completed to enable a Staff Page, a "My Appointments" panel will display on the admin’s Admin Home Page:
My Appointments Panel
Now that the Appointment System and your respective staff pages have been enabled on your site, your admin users can take advantage of the "My Appointments" panel. From the Admin Home page, this panel provides quick access to the following information and options:
- Weekly Appointments: The "My Appointments" panel displays the appointments for the current week only. If you want to view the appointments for the coming weeks, click the "Next Week" button in the panel. To view past appointments, click on "Last Week".
- Information Request Form: Clicking on the applicant’s name will open a new window and take you to the Information Request form that the applicant completed when they scheduled the appointment.
- Email Applicant: Click the "Send Email" icon to email the applicant directly through your site.
- View Applicant Information: Click the "View Applicant Info" icon to open a new window and review basic information about the applicant (populated by Terra Dotta or your Student Information System).
Setting Up and Managing Appointments
From the Admin Home page, navigate to your "My Appointments" panel. Click the "Edit Schedules" button. This action will take you to the Appointments: Scheduler page from which you can set up and manage appointments.
Create the list of available appointment times that applicants and other site visitors will see on your staff page from the Add Appointment Day/Time section.
- Use the drop-down menus to create blocks of time when you will be available for appointments.
- You will be setting up a weekly calendar of availability. The Appointments feature is most convenient to use when your available hours are the same each week.
- Click "Insert" after you have selected a particular day and time period. Applicants are able to select an appointment from these open times when they visit your staff page.
Temporarily remove certain periods of time from your selected appointment times by clicking the "Edit Block-out Times" button. This action directs you to a page which lists all the appointment blocks for the current week. You can access other weeks by clicking '"Next Week". The purpose of block-out times is to make temporary adjustments to your calendar without permanently altering your available times.
- Click the box to the left of the time you wish to block out. This will remove the check mark in that box.
- Click the "Refresh Page" tab at the top right of the page. The updated page will show the time as blocked out.
If there is already an appointment scheduled in a slot you wish to block out, the relevant applicant will be notified of the cancellation by automatic email.
To re-open an appointment time:
- Click the box to the left of the time you wish to unblock. This will add the check mark to that box.
- A pop-up box will appear asking you to confirm the action. Click "OK" to proceed. The block-out page will now show the appointment time as available.
A list of current appointment times that you have entered into the system are displayed in the "Existing Appointment Time(s)" panel. To permanently delete an existing appointment time, click the red "X" to the right of the time listed. This will cancel all current and future appointments scheduled during that block of time, and it will remove that block of time from the list of available appointments that applicants see on your staff page. If you want to make yourself temporarily unavailable during a certain time (as opposed to permanently unavailable), it is better to use the "Edit Block-out Times" feature (see above).
4) Appointment Block Length
As an admin user, you can set a default appointment length in the Appointment Block Length section. Choose whether your appointments will be in 15, 20, 30, 60, or 90-minute increments. The number of minutes you choose will be reflected in the appointment times that are available to applicants. For example, if you choose a default 30-minute appointment time, a two-hour block of availability will have four 30-minute appointments available for applicants to choose from.
You can limit the dates during which an applicant can schedule an appointment by putting the dates into the fields under Appointment Date Availability. This section allows you to constrain the dates of your appointments, so that your blocks of availability will expire after a certain time. You can also set your appointment availability so that effectively it never expires, as in the example above. Click "Update" to save changes.
Making & Cancelling an Appointment: Applicant/Site Visitor Experience
Applicants and other site visitors can take advantage of the Appointment System by following these steps:
1) Navigate to the "Staff" page of your site. From here, a staff listing will appear.
2) Click on the staff member's name. This will take the applicant to the staff member's page where a range of information can be found, including the staff member's contact information, office hours, department/title, photo, and a brief bio. Use the "Request an Appointment" button to access an information request form.
3) An information request form will appear (as the Appointment and Information Request Systems are linked together). An applicant should click on the "Click to Request an Appointment" link which will appear for staff who have enabled the Appointments feature.
4) A "Set Appointment" display window will appear with the staff member's available appointment times for the current week. An applicant can view future dates by clicking the "Next Week" tab. To select an appointment time, the applicant will simply click on the desired time for the desired date. Appointment times are displayed based on the default appointment length (for instance, 30 minutes in the example below) that the staff member selected when setting up their appointment schedule.
5) The Appointment System will confirm the appointment. The applicant will be brought back to the information request form where the Appointment field will display the date and time confirmed for the appointment. The applicant is able to populate information in the Subject and Message fields before clicking "Send" to submit the request. An confirmation email will be sent to both the applicant and the staff member regarding the appointment.
On the Modern Applicant Home Page, the Message Center tab contains the following information panels:
Emails Received: The applicant can view their confirmation email here. Click the "View" widget in the Actions column to open the email and view it in full.
Information Requests: The applicant can view the message sent in their information request form to the staff member. Click on the calendar widget for options to add the appointment to a calender (Google, Outlook, or iCalender). A cancellation widget also appears which can be used to cancel the appointment. This widget functions the same as the cancellation widget located under "Upcoming Appointments".
Upcoming Appointments: The applicant can view their upcoming appointments. The name of the staff member with whom they have an appointment is displayed, as well as the appointment date and time. Click on the calendar widget for options to add the appointment to a calender (Google, Outlook, or iCalender).
Configuring the Appointments Feature
Staff Listing and Scheduling Appointments
"The Appointment System
This video demonstrates how to implement the staff appointment functionality.