Department Web Framework Users Meeting – Nov. 7, 2017
We had an interactive group discussion to share ideas, experiences, and frustrations.
- 18 departmental editors
- 5 Arts & Sciences marketing and web staff
1. What is the purpose of a website calendar?
- To inform the department community of events that are happening (faculty and students)
- To help with outreach and inform alumni about events
- To inform the general public of events that they could attend
- To aid in planning – avoid scheduling your events at the same time as other competing events or holidays
- To provide practical information to people who want to attend an event
- To show prospective students and colleagues that your department is engaging and active – the event specifics don’t matter as much, but they will notice if the calendar is busy or empty
2. What events belong on your calendar?
- Scholarship deadlines, application deadlines
- For Job Talks, suggestion to put only the name and description of the talk, not the candidate’s name, because of complications when candidates don’t want their candidacy known by current institution, and easier to stay consistent
- Meetings – faculty meetings, advisory boards
- Student meetings and clubs
- Major holidays (these can be mixed in from university Trumba calendar; automatically added to Drupal calendars)
- Consider other holidays and festivals if your program has ties to a specific region or cultural group
- Exhibitions (these can be tricky if they are ongoing)
- Film screenings
- Information sessions
- Deadlines to apply to programs or majors
- Conferences – especially major national conferences in your department’s field(s); faculty and grad students often attend, plan around them
- Community events, especially if your faculty or students are participating, and they are in Seattle area
- Quarter start and end dates (these can be mixed in from university Trumba calendar; if you want more control and fewer academic dates, add them yourself; automatically added to Drupal calendars)
- UWAA grad lectures
- Major campus events: W Day, Dawg Daze, Graduation, President’s Annual Address, Undergraduate Research Symposium (very helpful for avoiding scheduling conflicts)
- Welcome Receptions and Socials
- What should you NOT post? Events that are invite-only. But then people who are invited have no where to look for information. Can post without a location.
- Should faculty meetings and advisory board meetings be on the calendar? Makes them much easier for those audiences to find the information when they need it. Department audience uses calendar more than general public. Faculty meetings are OPMA.
- Should you post events that aren’t hosted by your department? Some departments do, often with a subcalendar or category to help distinguish those from departmental events.
- These are a lot of potential events. How do you avoid too much clutter? Have to use your judgment, if your department has a busy calendar, post less community or outside-sponsored events. A busy calendar isn’t a bad thing, upcoming events change automatically, events fall off as they pass.
3. What calendar systems are available?
- Two main options are Drupal (built into website) and Trumba; pro’s and con’s for each
- This page lists features of each and shows who is using which system: Calendar Comparison
- More departments are now using Trumba (the campus events calendar) than Drupal; web team recommends using Trumba unless you have strong reasons for using Drupal – such as needing custom filtering and sorting or complex event descriptions with lots of images and text
- Thoughts on Trumba:
- Easily sharing with other calendars is a big plus
- Sharing your event on the Seattle campus calendar means it might get shared in UW Today – a good way to get your department face out there
- Sharing your event to Seattle campus calendar or College of Arts & Sciences calendar doesn’t require approval
- For technical questions email@example.com has been responsive
- Can ask for calendars of related programs or centers to be mixed in to yours, so you don’t have to repost all their events
- Can copy events from other calendars to yours in Trumba backend; may need to write to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for access to see other calendars; when they created your calendar, they may not have known what departments to connect; some calendars (like UWAA) may not be accessible
- The way the building is entered separately from the room number is confusing
- Have to keep an eye out for duplicate events, coordinate posting responsibility for co-sponsored events
- Thoughts from someone who uses both:
- Having the custom categories and tagging people in Drupal is a major benefit, so they post in both systems; wish there was some way to integrate them.
4. How can you handle event registration?
- Jill Doran, the College’s Director of Advancement Services, encourages departments to collect more data about event attendance. Event attendance data can be used to analyze year-over-year attendance for recurring events, generate mailing lists of individuals that might be interested in a particular topic or issue, or to segment other populations based on a shared behavior or affinity.
- Track who you invite, who responds (even if they say no), and who attends. Advancement Services can work with a spreadsheet to get the data into Advance if you’re not using a university system (like Cvent) that does it automatically.
- Recommended tools are Cvent and Trumba
- Cvent integrates with Advance and is easiest way to track your engagement; can send invites and reminders; can take payments; may not support waitlists; talk to your marketing specialist if you want to learn about setting up Cvent registration
- Trumba is easy if you are already using the calendar; can create waitlists; limited ability to customize the RSVP template; can send invites through Trumba but can’t customize the design; can send invite through Marketo and link to Trumba event for sign-up; can set up events to send reminder emails. Must submit event attendance records to Advancement Assistants for uploading into Advance.
- Some other approaches departments are using include Google invitations + spreadsheet, distributing Add codes for credit, and Brown Paper Tickets (when payment required).
- Eventually, event registration may be handled through Marketo instead of Cvent, especially for free events. It will save the university money.
5. Where else can you advertise events?
- Facebook (events and posts) - some users eagerly engage with Facebook events
- LinkedIn – newsfeed type posts
- Mailman lists
- Emails and newsletters
- Bulletin boards and flyers – see MarComm toolkit for templates
- Twitter (Trumba supports hashtags for events)
- Weekly event reminders – people like but hard to collate data from Trumba
- Word of mouth – ask faculty to personally forward emails to people
- UWAA website - or email Betsy Brown email@example.com
- Do you post flyers that you get in campus mail? Most departments said yes, on a bulletin board in the hall. Not much reach. One department has found it helpful to organize by day of the week. 8 ½ x 11 is preferred size, other larger sizes can be hard to find a place for and get recycled.
6. What other challenges do you have related to calendars and events?
- Sometimes there are so many events going on, especially when you look at other calendars, it can feel overwhelming.
- Students don’t open their email. When asked they say they like to receive info via email, but then they don’t read it. How do you get them to read it?
- Use good subject lines: phrase as questions, as “How to…” , include the word “Urgent”, begin a joke – think of as clickbait
- Finding enough time to do all of this – ideas are great, but requires time management to execute.
Thanks to all the attendees who participated. Please send additions or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.