Productivity,  Software


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I’ve been interested in online calendars in support of teaching and learning for years. In the nineties I used Excel and Claris Organizer to create sign up sheets and calendars for my students. Pretty much every LMS claims to have a calendar tool, but I’ve yet to see an LMS with a decent, usable, publishable, shareable, printable calendar. Most of them are appallingly stupid in terms of actual usability. But there’s some hope for the near future.

I’ve been watching the Mozilla calendar project for a couple of years, and was interested enough to download Sunbird. Mozilla, like Apple’s iCal, uses the iCalendar standard. It’s increasingly clear to me that the iCalendar standard, WebDav, RSS support, and a combination of javascript, server side scripting, and XML are the most likely tools for what I want. I’ve been very intrigued by the various Ajax implementations like CalendarHub, Kiko, Trumba, and HipCal.

As Dori points out, much as I like iCal, it’s still not simple to use; nor is it as easily shareable as most consumers would like. Sure, you can publish, export, and subscribe to calendars, but you can’t make appointments on someone else’s calendar, a basic requirement not only for families, as Dori points out, but an exceedingly useful feature for students and teachers. Just think about how much simpler managing office hours would be if students could eaily create and cancel appointments using blocks off time that the owner makes available. (Yes, I know, Outlook for Exchange sort of does this, but only sort of.)

I’d like an LMS calendar that would let a teacher or student automatically load their class schedules, accept or reject invitations by others, based on access privileges set by the calendar owner, and export, import and publish calendar data with control over the visibility of entries—sort of the way LiveJournal privacy settings work.

In the meantime though, there’s a nifty script here that lets you submit a .jpg image (or use one from Flickr), choose a month, and produce a .pdf calendar you can print on 8.5 x 11 paper.