Sunday, June 15, 2008

Google Calendar Event Notifications

With Google Calendar, you can create multiple calendars, both public and private. You can also subscribe to other people's shared calendars. You can then decide how you want to use each of the calendars. You can view them individually or combine them, and you can also set up different notification options (email and/or cell phone) for each of the calendars. I'm excited about using Google Calendar with my students! Starting this fall, I will create a calendar for each of my online courses, so that students can sign up if they want to get email and cell phone notifications for their homework deadlines.

To show you how the notifications work, I've created a test calendar with one event every day. You can use this test calendar to try out the process of subscribing to a calendar, and you can also use this calendar to see what it is like to set up notifications for events in the calendar. The calendar is populated with an event scheduled every day for 8 a.m. That will make it easy for you to try out the different notification options on any given day.

Log in to Google Calendar. First, make sure you are logged in with your Gmail identity at Calendar.Google.Com.

Pick a Public Calendar. To subscribe to a shared calendar, you can view the public calendars that are available and pick one. If you want to add a calendar this way, just go to the My Calendars box, click on Add, and select Add A Public Calendar. This will take you to a list of public calendars you can choose from. There are some fun calendars out there you can subscribe to, such as the Phases of the Moon!

Subscribe to a Shared Calendar. You can also subscribe to a specific calendar if someone has given you the address of that calendar. Here is the address for the test calendar I have set up:
Google Test Notifications Calendar

Just click on that link to go to the calendar. At the bottom of the page in the right-hand corner, you will see a button to click to Add to Google Calendar.

Click this button, and a confirmation box will pop up. When you click Yes, the calendar will be added to your My Calendar box, listed under Other Calendars.

Configure the Calendar with Notifications. You can change the color of the calendar, and whether or not to include the events of this calendar on your main calendar display. If you click the check box, the events will be included in the main display. Uncheck the box if you do not want the events from this calendar to be included.

To set up notifications for the calendar, click the notifications option. You can set up reminders for the events on the calendar, including multiple reminders, based on the minutes, hours, or days before the event. You can also have notifications sent to you for new items on the calendar, as well as a daily agenda from the calendar.

I've set up this test calendar with an event every single day at 8 a.m. to make it easy for you to test the notification system. If you set up an event notification, you can see how it works, and you can also test out the daily agenda notification. Because there is an event every day on this test calendar, you will be able to see within 24 hours just how the system works.

Discontinue Calendar. Make sure to remember to cancel the notifications you have set up later - otherwise, you will keep on getting notifications from this test calendar every day until you cancel the notifications! You can also just delete the calendar, which will cancel any existing notification settings. To delete a calendar, choose the Manage Calendars link at the bottom of your Calendars box.

Then, click on the Trash icon next to the calendar you want to delete from your system:

I'll update this post later in the fall when I find out what my students think about the option to get notifications by email and cell phone. The course management system we use at my school (Desire2Learn) does not have any notification options for the calendar, so I think this Google option is something my students might really appreciate.

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