Tips to Keep Appointments Running Smoothly in Accudemia

31 March 2021

Now that most schools' administrators are working from home and managing their staff remotely, you may need to how to keep your center's appointments running smoothly with Accudemia and our newer virtual features.  If you have not heard, Accudemia now supports virtual sessions.  The following are some notes that will help you run your appointments from the Accudemia cloud.

Should I add new Services or update existing ones?

The first step to keeping appointments going while working outside of the center is to choose whether you will use your existing services or set up new online options in Accudemia.  To access the services screen in Accudemia using the menu, click on Administration > Centers & Classrooms. From there, click on your Center’s name and then the Services tab.

Still wondering if you should update the existing services with the virtual option, or if you should add new ones? Let's explore the pros and cons of each option:

OPTION 1. Updating Existing Services to be Online - Temporarily

Use this option if you do not want to change your Tutors, Advisors, or Staff members existing schedules and availability. Of course, you will need to undo the changes the these services when you switch your sessions back to in-person operations.

PROS:

      1. You do not need to create any new services.
      2. You do not need to have the tutors or staff members update their schedules to reflect the new services offered.

CONS:

      1. You will need to set the services back to the in-person option when students return to campus physically for appointments.
      2. There will be no distinction between face-to-face vs. virtual/online sessions.

If you decide to go with this option then you will need to edit each service you wish to offer online by checking the online-only box for the service.  Don't forget to click both the Accept button and the Save Changes button after you make these changes.

OPTION 2. Adding New Services

Use this option if you would rather add new services as options in your center and do not mind updating the staff schedules to reflect these new virtual sessions. This will also allow you to have separate reports for online vs. face-to-face sessions.

PROS:

      1. You can report on both the old and new services offered.
      2. You can inactivate existing services and offer just the new online services now. When you go back to in-person services, reactivate existing face-to-face services to have both types (hybrid) or deactivate the virtual services to go back on in-person services only.

CONS:

      1. You will need to create new services for the virtual sessions.
      2. You or the staff and tutors will need to update their schedules to reflect any new services offered.

If you decide to go with this option then these are the steps to adding the new services and inactivating the existing services:

      1. From the Administration > Centers & Classrooms section click the center's name to edit the center’s services.
      2. Now click on the Create New button to add a new service.
      3. Then simply give the service a name like “Virtual Advising” or “Online Tutoring,” and check the option Allow online sign-in for appointments.  Once done click the Accept button.
        Note:  You can also inactivate the existing services you are not offering at this time by click on each and unchecking the Active box.
      4. After adding and inactivating all the services as needed click Save Changes button at the top of the page.
      5. The final step is to update the tutor schedules to include these additional services offered.  This can be completed either by yourself or the staff if permitted.

Should I Use a Standard Online Meeting Link for Virtual Sessions?

This will strongly depend on the online meeting platform that you choose to use for the virtual sessions. Certain platforms like Zoom, Join.Me, and GoToMeeting have personal meeting rooms in addition to per session unique links. If you are using Microsoft Teams or similar platforms, they only have the option for unique links for every session. Fortunately, Accudemia can accommodate both of these options.

Setting Your Virtual Appointments to Use a Personal Meeting Room Link for All Sessions

Enable the Connect Link option for your tutors/staff in the Administration > Control Panel > Virtual Sessions section from the main navigation menu.
Note:
You can allow your tutors/staff to update their own Connect Link too by checking the second checkbox as well.

Next, you’ll need to either edit/update the Connect Link for all of your tutors/staff for their virtual appointments.

    1. Start in the Administration > User Accounts from the main navigation menu.
    2. Filter on only Tutors...
    3. And then click the name of the Tutor to edit them and add the Connect Link.

      Note:  You can also have the Tutors update the Connect Link themselves when they log in under their Name > Account section on the Personal Options in the top-right of the menu.

    4. That is it! Now if the service is set up for online appointments it will have students use the specific staff member or tutors' meeting room.

Using a Unique Meeting ID For Each Virtual Appointment

Enable the Show appointment notes…. option for your tutors/staff.

    1. Start in the Administration > Control Panel section from the main navigation menu.

    2. Then click on the Virtual Sessions section.

    3. Now select the Show appointment notes…. option to enable it.
    4. Using this option will mean that the tutor or staff member will need to update the appointment notes with the Unique Meeting ID for each scheduled session so that when the appointment starts the student will have a valid link to click on in Accudemia.
    5. That is it! You can test this in your account using a student and staff that you have access to their login to see how it works.

Another Tip: Make Sure Your Schedule is Always Up-to-date

From meeting with clients I have ascertained that most of the issues with scheduling appointments typically are not related to the appointment rules set-up because those processes that were configured when establishing the center were typically thoroughly and carefully considered before being selected.  I've noticed that more issues generally arise with the Tutor Assignments and Tutor Scheduling in Accudemia.

Things to Know About Tutor Assignments

Tutor Assignments are used to assign the subject areas or courses that tutors can assist students with at your center. Typically these Subject Areas will be imported and then manually assigned by an admin. In fact, this necessary step must be performed by an admin before tutors can set their schedules. If you do not have the tutoring assignments before setting up the schedules, the schedule will not include availability for any of the newly added Subject Areas.

Things to Know About Tutor Schedules

Tutor schedules can be set up either by the admins or by the tutors if permitted by your Accudemia settings.  If you as the admin do not plan to update the many tutor schedules, then I suggest you enable this option for tutors in the Administration > Control Panel > User Accounts > Restrictions section of Accudemia.  Once enabled tutors can click on their name in the top-right and click My Schedule to get started setting up their available times.  If you need to adjust the schedule as an admin, this will be under the Center Attendance > Tutor Schedules section of the main menu at the top.

If you need more information on how to set up schedules, we have a guide for each user's role here:

I hope that the above will help make your transition from face-to-face appointments to virtual sessions a little easier. We're here for you. If you need additional Accudemia guides or help, please visit engineerica.com/accudemia/support/

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