Send Automated YouCanBookMe (and other) Appointment Reminders Using Microsoft Flow / Power Automate

I have 2 offices, which means that when someone makes an appointment with me, they need to be aware which office I’ll be meeting them at. My appointment provider (YouCanBook.Me) sends an appointment request to both myself and the person making the appointment, and I then update my copy with the location. This then sends the location out to the person making the appointment. However what happens if that person isn’t used to appointment requests? Perhaps because they’re a college student, and haven’t experienced them yet? Typically they ignore them, or don’t notice the location line or change at all. This semester I decided to try a new approach. When a person makes an appointment with me, it enters on my calendar with the prefix “Appointment: ” and then the person’s name. This means I can easily find my “self-set” appointments using Microsoft Power Automate (Flow). My goal was to have a script run every night at 8 PM that scans the next 24 hours of my calendar. If it finds an appointment set by someone, it emails them an automated reminder telling them where to meet me. It took me a couple of hours to get up and running, but is now working beautifully. Below is each step of my flow, and how to create it yourself. And that’s it. The script has been running for a few weeks now without issue, and hopefully it will cut down on my frustration this semester with individuals unaware of where on campus I’m meeting them!
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Easy Class Participation Tracking, Grading, Rubric Generation, and More with Excel

One of my classes this semester requires me to track how often students speak in class, and evaluate each comment. I also have students leading discussion, and I need to be able to generate completed rubrics easily for them so they get my feedback. I’ve found that I can keep track of all of this in an Excel Spreadsheet on my iPad Pro, and that I can also use Excel to generate individual rubrics and a class wide participation report. Here’s an example workbook that you can download and modify, and some screenshots that explain how it works. Hopefully you find the spreadsheet useful – I know I have in just the 2 weeks I’ve been using it. It’s saved me a lot of administrative work, enabling me to do more “fun” pedagogical stuff in class!
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Entry and Exit Tickets in Google Forms / Sheets – Flexible and Fun

Last week I attended a workshop on Differential Education, and realized that I’m already doing something very “differential-ly” – starting this semester in my General Psychology class. Students do a five minute entry ticket each day upon coming into class, and a five minute exit ticket on the way out. Combined, these two tickets count for 50% of their overall course grade, and I grade them not only for participation, but also accuracy. Initially I began creating them using Socrative, however I found it to be a bit buggy for my tastes, and switched to Google Forms. Here’s what I do each day: Get to class about 5 minutes early. Put question on screen and freeze screen. The question slide is always the same, giving a question and URL to go to the “Entry Ticket” form. I use a URL Shortening service so that it’s easy to type in, and I also provide a QR code. Open up the Entry spreadsheet (which I have bookmarked) and watch the results come in. The students see a form that looks like this, whereas I get a spreadsheet view: I then update Slide 2 (the ‘parking lot’) in my powerpoint slide deck as things catch my eye. I try to include everything they put “Yes” on and a few things that I find interesting in the other entries. At the start of class time, I let students know they have 4-5 minutes to complete their entry ticket. Some questions are harder than others, and sometimes students take longer to complete if they have a lot they want to tap out. About 5 minutes after the start of class time, I let students know that we’re getting started. I typically don’t go over the answer to the question immediately, in case people are finishing…
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Bullets

As promised, when my Facebook Author page reached 200, I wrote a story based upon poll results. Here’s the Evil Item of Clothing story… “He was shot in both eyes?”, Detective Horne said, incredulously. “Yes, apparently so, although the killer was a bit off with the left eye – it was slightly off center. Right appears dead on.”, Crime Scene Investigator Carr noted. They found themselves at the scene of a murder – the victim, 25 year old Campbell Smith. Campbell was known to the police force, as he frequently pressed his luck with the women in town. Perhaps he’d even gone too far a few times, to hear some of the ladies tell it. But it was 1947, decades from the MeToo movement of 70 years in the future. Women knew to stay clear of Campbell, and perhaps he’d crossed the wrong woman this time. Or perhaps it had been a fight over some other illicit thing. The dark alley they stood in was home to many potential crimes, of passion, of power, or of vice. And while the case stayed open for the requisite amount of time, no leads ever panned out, and the death of Campbell Smith was never solved. Carr and Horne, though, kept it somewhat alive over the following decades. It was 2019, and Whitney Smith had developed a new talent over the past few weeks, one that amused her new husband of just under a month. It seemed that she’d found that the cushions on their couch were just rough enough to pull off a minor miracle. Whitney and Rodney had moved into the old townhome, which had sat abandoned for a number of years. The neighborhood was coming back – and they were among the first to join the party. An old coal…
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Sometimes Things Take a Little Longer, There an Gulf Coast Time.

Recently I’ve heard the song “Gulf Coast Time” by Roger Creager a lot on Radio Margaritaville. It’s a nice song, and it’s even nicer that iTunes has the lyrics. Or at least it says it has the lyrics. I don’t think they’re quite right. Here’s what iTunes has… Yeah… I’m not sure what the town in you letter said, or what the road rills are. Teasters of key land are interesting to contemplate, and I definitely recommend talking about the time someone gave you toast. Reggae me down? Obviously some speech to text algorithm had fun with this one. If you would like to see the actual lyrics, I’ll put them below. Gulf Coast Time – Roger Creager I like the way the salty warm breeze feelsAs I make another cast with this old rod and reelSounds like things are going well from the tone of your letterAm I doing OK? I guess you could say, I’m keeping my head above water. On the deck of this old salt water lady,Dancing across the waves.The seaside world slows down to an idleThe sun sets red over Copano BayYou moved on with your life in California, I’ll move on with mine.Sometimes things take a little longer, here on Gulf Coast Time. This last year’s getting back to the simple thingsLike the taste of this fresh key lime in my drinkTook that watch you gave me, tossed it about a mile off shoreJust another anchor around me, weighing me down, that I don’t need anymore. On the deck of this old salt water lady,Dancing across the waves.The seaside world slows down to an idleThe sun sets red over Copano BayYou moved on with your life in California, I’ll move on with mine.But sometimes things take a little longer, here on Gulf Coast Time. And I know I’m getting…
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ProfLife – Being Productive Out of the Office

One of the great things about being a professor is that we’re essentially trained to be project managers – people who are specialists in a given topic area but also trained through graduate school to be self-sufficient. It surprises many to learn that when I’m assigned a course to teach, I receive very few ‘mandated’ guidelines. Yes, periodically we have required sections in our syllabi on university policies, or perhaps my curriculum committee (of which I’m a member) requires certain courses to use the same book or have a common assignment. But otherwise, no one tells me what content I must teach, what assignments I must give, or how to evaluate my student’s work. The same is true in the realm of scholarship and service – I am expected to select my own projects, manage them to completion, and provide service to my institution and discipline. When it comes to my formal workday, I’m expected to be in the classroom to teach when assigned, to be available for 10 office hours a week, and to be available for meetings as needed. Beyond that, there is no 8-5 expectation on professors – we’re asked to fit our lives around specific class times, not a traditional workday (Which is also why, at my institution, we don’t get personal leave). However this level of freedom can be challenging for some. Recently one of my colleagues posted on Twitter a request: As someone who has worked from home a lot in my past (I lived 50 minutes away from my undergrad institution, 120 minutes away from my graduate institution, and a 2 hour commute away from my postdoc), I’ve picked up a few tips I’m happy to share. 1. Have The Essentials At Home It is extremely important to have everything you need in…
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Download All The Music You Could Ever Want, Legally, for $29

Just a quick post in case you’re old fashion and like downloading actual copies of what you listen to, instead of streaming. I’ve been using this solution for 2-3 years now, and have been pretty happy with it: Find the song you want on YouTube – Pretty much everything is there these days. Use a tool to download it – I prefer Wondershare AllMyTube – for $29 you can download videos or mp3’s from YouTube and a bunch of other sites. Great for educators to save videos you worry might disappear or if you have a flaky internet connection in your classroom. Use MusicBrainz Picard (free) to scan the files you download and add appropriate meta data to them. That’s it. Now you have a shiny MP3 file that you can import into your music manager of choice, including iTunes.
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I’m Excited… I Swear!

I teach psychology for a living, and each and every time I talk about the Big 5 personality traits, I reflect a bit on my own mental makeup. If you’re curious, it looks something like this What stands out? Aside from the fact that I don’t tend to favor the middle in any factor, the one there that might seem amazing is Emotional Stability – the 99th percentile. What is Emotional Stability you ask? Well, it’s the opposite end of the the spectrum commonly known as Neuroticism. You can also think of it as Emotional Reactivity. And as you can see from the above… I basically don’t react. Now not reacting has benefits. I rarely feel depressed or anxious (by rarely, I mean perhaps 2-3 times per year for a period of about 1-2 hours), I don’t “freak out” over many things, and I tend not to panic. In fact, I am the epitome of the phrase If you see me running, try to keep up.  However when you have a very neutral to positive mood the majority of the time, it also means you don’t react to positive events the same way as most people. Tons of good things have happened to me in my life – far too many to name. And for the most emotionally charged, good or bad, I always feel that I don’t emote enough compared to most. And while it’s somewhat normal for some to be stoic at funerals (as opposed to throwing oneself on the coffin), I’ve had a few instances on the opposite end of the spectrum where I clearly did not communicate to others the level of positivity that I felt. Here’s an example: October 16 this year. Bosses Day At work I have the privilege of leading a small team of dedicated professionals,…
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Open In Case of Friday Emergency

Students and Staff alike often wonder… … What is in this mysterious manila envelope taped to my office wall. Well, here’s the story. Friday, September 2, 2016 was the last day of a crazy week. My first year as FYS Coordinator, I had a ton of things going on at the beginning of that school year. And this was about 2 weeks in, when I sat at a point of utter exhaustion. After speaking about this exhaustion for quite a few days in advance, I walked into my office to the following scene. So now you know… inside that envelope is the contents to remedy another Friday emergency!
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