SUMO Adds Automated Scheduling to an Ivy League University’s Infrastructure
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption in the way we learn, posing a critical challenge to schools and universities across the globe. In March 2020, the President of Columbia University announced a new policy to shift student learning from in-person to online interactions with tutors and mentors. This unprecedented change not only affected how students interact with tutors but also disrupted the entire scheduling infrastructure.
SUMO Scheduler, an automated scheduling platform, was the answer to the university’s unique problems. With a simple interface that empowers students and tutors to book their classes directly on the University’s website, SUMO became an answer to the crisis.
Before SUMO entered into production in April 2020, class scheduling at the university solely relied on educational coordinators. The process was time-consuming and prone to error as admins had to manually input requests and match personal calendars of students and tutors in order to make an appointment. This resulted in lost productivity and missed classes.
The administration expressed a strong need for an integrated platform that allowed students to self-schedule classes directly with the faculty while offering real-time access for coordinators to monitor the scheduling process. After hearing about SUMO’s success with educational institutions, the staff felt that the SUMO Scheduling Platform could help them streamline and improve its scheduling.
SUMO was the perfect solution for the university. It automated the process of class scheduling and allowed students to manage their own appointments with faculty. Real-time access for coordinators eliminated any need for double booking or missed appointments. In addition, SUMO’s reporting features gave administrators valuable insights into how many students had registered for online classes, who their instructors were, and which students needed additional support. SUMO’s scalability allowed the university to easily add new courses every semester without employing more staff.
Additionally, SUMO’s Email and Invite Feature gave admins the power to send personalized email invites that took the guesswork out of the scheduling process. Upon receiving an invite, students simply clicked their personal link inside the email to choose a time, and the meeting automatically appeared on everyone’s calendar. SUMO’s automated process streamlined the scheduling and freed up coordinators’ time, allowing them to focus on other important tasks.
Calendar API was another useful feature that helped faculty and staff save time and drastically improved productivity. Powered by REST API, the Calendar offers a number of unique services such as aggregating time availability in real-time. With the new calendar interface, coordinators were able to see a full list of booked appointments by the user, appointment time slot, and appointment type. Canceling and rescheduling were also done in real-time without the risk of losing valuable time slots or resources.
Finally, automated smart matching helped students meet with the right advisor, at the right location, and at the right time. This minimized scheduling errors and improved attendance. With automated email and text reminders, students showed up on time, ready to learn! Indeed, SUMO’s automation reduced no-shows, increased staff utilization, and improved student engagement.
Today, the University has seen a dramatic increase in efficiency with manual tasks being eliminated across all departments. SUMO enabled over 20 teams throughout the university to effectively schedule appointments with students. The amount of appointments that were made online has increased by over 70% eliminating the game of back and forth and providing a robust infrastructure for online learning.
The University is grateful for SUMO’s contribution in helping maintain its infrastructure during this challenging time. The technology successfully met students’ fast-paced needs while automation provided coordinators and faculty with much-needed support and consistency. SUMO Scheduler has been a game-changer in the lives of Columbia’s students and staff.