How the Illinois College IT Team Reduced Emails & Calls by 25%
Illinois College’s Office of Information Technology dramatically reduced initial contacts, and saved 12 hours a month, using higher education scheduling software.
7 min read
Reduction in initial contacts (email & phone)
Hours saved per month
Minutes saved on every booking
“The reason I am here is to allow faculty to spend less time worrying about the technology, and more time helping their students. YouCanBook.me helps me accomplish that goal.”
Illinois College’s Office of Information Technology dramatically reduced phone calls, emails, and admin work, saving 12 hours a month, using YouCanBook.me.
Embedding into LMS
Customizable booking form
Jeremy Hommowun Faculty Support & Educational Technology Specialist, Illinois College
We’ve all been there. You’re about to start a presentation and … “crickets”. The tech doesn’t work.
It might be the microphone, the whiteboard, or the webcam. It doesn’t matter when you’ve got a room full of people waiting to hear your wise words.
“Sometimes, when a faculty member calls me, they’ll just say ‘This room is broken!!’
They don't tell me anything more than that. When I hear that, it’s ‘I’m on my way!”
That superhero-sounding response would be music to your ears no matter what organization you work for. If you’re teaching at a university where faculty members regularly need to teach in different classrooms during the day, you’d definitely breathe a bit easier.
Jeremy Hommowun is a Faculty Support and Educational Technology Specialist at Illinois College. His job is to make sure his colleagues have the technology they need when they need it. That could be in the classroom or on their desktop.
“I work very closely with our faculty members, providing technical support with our hardware, helping with our online learning management system (LMS), and recommending external software. That could be any tools they need to be able to teach their courses and enrich the education of the students.”
After a couple of years on the job, Jeremy has seen a lot of tools and knows what works for his colleagues. One of his favorites? YouCanBook.me’s higher education scheduling software.
“I’ve seen it work for so many different kinds of needs. On my team, we use it to get new hires set up, as well as provide IT support for faculty and staff. We have individual pages, but we also have team pages so the person booking can choose the first available team member and get their issue dealt with as quickly as possible.
“Our Student Financial Services team uses YouCanBook.me to hold group information sessions at the end of every semester. Students sign up for one of 10 sessions, but they want to cap it at around 20 students per session. YouCanBook.me has an amazing solution for that.
“We have faculty members using YouCanBook.me to schedule their office hours. They love it because it’s so customizable. They can make the email notifications specific to what each student needs and they can decide exactly when they will be available each day. The minimum notice period is a huge help as it gives them time to prepare.
“And one thing that we absolutely love, through our LMS, Moodle, we can embed YouCanBook.me right in the site. So students don't have to leave their course page to book an appointment with a faculty member. It’s absolutely amazing. They’re staying engaged in the content and seeing what we want them to see.”
“YouCanBook.me’s impact goes beyond our campus. It allows me to let others know that I'm here for them as well. Whether it's a vendor, an alum, or a trustee. It’s cutting down all those extra emails, those extra phone calls.”
Founded in 1829, Illinois College was the first higher education institution in the state of Illinois.
“One of the things that we always talk about here is that we're trying to stay ahead. So we're not just relying on our history, but we're also trying to look at our future to stay in the forefront of what's available.”
Of course, technology plays a big part in that.
While some staff wasn’t relying on technology before the pandemic, it quickly became clear that higher education scheduling software like YouCanBook.me helped make the transition into online learning a lot easier. Now, so many staff are seeing the benefits of online scheduling that Jeremy’s account is expanding from less than 10 to more than 300 licenses.
“Everyone who uses it can see the benefit straight away”, says Jeremy.
A great example is his wife, who works in the Center for Academic Excellence.
“She was an adamant Google Appointment Slots user,” says Jeremy. “But when she saw all the things I was doing with my YouCanBook.me booking pages, she wanted to try it out too. Now she’s a convert!”
What are the features that swayed someone who was pretty happy with what she was already using?
“Well, she loves that she can have padding around meetings so she can prepare. And she also really likes appointment types. I really stress that feature with faculty because we all wear so many different hats, we want to be able to offer more specific focuses.
“If she’s meeting with students, which is the majority of her job, she wants to be able to give them different options than if she’s meeting with a faculty member.
“It also helps her to be able to focus on whether she's working with an academic coaching student or a disability services student. And so she can have them select different options based on those booking types.”
“YouCanBook.me has saved me a lot of time and effort. It just simplifies the process. Speeds it up. And I honestly feel that it helps me help them get to a solution quicker.”
So what is making the most impact on Jeremy’s day-to-day work?
“I don't allow bookings less than two hours in advance because I want to be able to prepare. And the booking form questions tell me the problem beforehand. So when we do meet, I already understand the issue and how to solve it.
“There have even been times where I’ve seen a booking come in for later in the day and could say, ‘Hey, this is an easy fix. Because you gave me the information ahead of time, I can solve this in five minutes without you having to wait for our meeting.’
“So it saves both of us time.”
Even if he can’t fix an issue beforehand, Jeremy says the booking form questions make his meetings more productive.
“My best meetings happen when the person gives lots of information on the booking form, so I encourage that. The notes they add become a kind of agenda for our meeting. They let us think about the issues ahead of time so we can give better responses. And having that list of topics really keeps us on task.”
“YouCanBook.me inspires confidence in our team: confidence that we have time for our staff, and that the issue will be fixed. Confidence, transparency, ease of access. It really helps to break down the barriers.”
“When they use my booking page, they give me details: ‘I was in this room. I couldn't get the sound to work. Could you meet me before my class tomorrow to make sure everything works?’ The booking form also solves the “This room is broken!” issue.
“Knowing that I can head over to the room early, do some testing and fix it. So when I meet with them, I can say here's what I found out. Here's what I did.
“Really, it ends up saving me, them, and their students, time. Because I'm not just running out there and cutting into the beginning of their class because they're stressed out and worried. They know, tomorrow Jeremy is meeting with me. The sound is going to work.”
Customization brings control
Since Illinois College started offering in-person meetings again, Jeremy is over the moon about conditional statements.
“I love being able to set up notification emails with conditional statements. Because when we started using the Zoom integration, we were thrilled that it automatically created a link for us. But when I started to get more in-person meetings, people were still joining the Zoom link just because it was in the email.
“Now I use conditional statements to only send the Zoom link if they're doing a virtual meeting. It eliminates all of that confusion.”
💡 Pro tip: Conditional statements can be used to create bespoke email text based on choices the booker has made. Watch this video to find out how!
Adding padding between meetings gives Jeremy control and peace of mind.
“It would be easy to run yourself ragged between buildings and between offices, going to back-to-back meetings. But I've got it set up to protect 15 minutes between appointments. That’s more than enough time for me to wrap up a previous meeting, move to the next spot, and prepare for the next meeting.”
A game-changer for education teams
“YCBM saves me a minimum of 5-10 minutes per booking. That’s in communication about the issue, as well as prep time & troubleshooting which is where the most time saving happens.”
He thinks expanding YouCanBook.me across the Illinois College community is a no-brainer. It saves time for him, but also allows him to save time for other people as well.
In the two years that Jeremy has been using higher education scheduling software, he’s witnessed firsthand the benefits it can bring for multiple departments and a variety of faculty members.
“If I didn't have anything, it would be absolute insanity. I love being out and about helping people, but I know that without a scheduling tool, my phone would be going off a lot more than it is. I’d also get a lot more emails. I think the faculty would be less confident in me because there would be less definition as to what my availability is and a lot less transparency.”
More time to help the people who need you
For Jeremy and his colleagues in a busy IT Support team, YouCanBook.me provides transparency, confidence for his colleagues, and more efficient meetings. But it’s the time saving that he is most impressed with.
“I always hated doing the ‘Hey, here are three times that work for me. Send three times back that works for you'. Doing all of that stuff drives me crazy. Without YouCanBook.me, I’d have to go back to that and it wouldn't be fun.”
People Also Ask
Does scheduling software work for higher education IT departments?
In higher education, scheduling software is a great solution for so many different departments. YouCanBook.me offers flexibility and customization so each department can create a booking experience that works best for them and their students.
Higher education IT departments use scheduling software to book new employee onboarding sessions, technical support sessions, and appointments to update laptops, phones, and security software.
For higher education teams, scheduling software needs to be flexible, customizable, and easy to use.
To maximize your investment, you want to select a higher education scheduling software that will work across all departments and all kinds of teams.
YouCanBook.me offers 1-1 bookings, group bookings, and team booking pages. You can use it to schedule students or resources.
It offers multiple reminder options and can be easily updated to show departmental logos and colors. Most importantly, it is the easiest way for students to make online bookings. It’s available 24/7 and eliminates all the admin around scheduling meetings with students.
How can I save time booking students?
Scheduling students is incredibly time-intensive. Finding a time that you both can meet - which can involve multiple back and forth emails and calls - can take days. And then if they need to reschedule or cancel, it starts all over again.
A great solution is to use higher education scheduling software.
It dramatically reduces the amount of time you need to spend worrying about scheduling students. It couldn’t be easier for students to schedule time. It’s available 24/7, works great on mobile devices, and has automated reminders to reduce no-shows.
What's a good scheduling solution in higher education?
YouCanBook.me is one of the most popular options for higher education scheduling software. It is easy to set up and can be customized to offer exactly what each department needs.
YouCanBook.me’s 30% Education discount means it’s great value, too. Students love being able to book meetings online because it’s available when they are.
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Illinois College is a nationally-ranked liberal arts college located in Jacksonville, Illinois, in the US. Founded in 1829, Illinois College has a reputation for academic innovation and is known for its ‘Graduate Ready’ commitment to students.
Kate was an early YouCanBookMe employee and loved supporting our Customers for almost a decade. She's now focused on spreading the word about online scheduling, how to improve productivity, and the Oxford comma.
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