Category: Calendar

Event Widget Builder

Calendar Admins can use the Widget Builder to generate a URL to use in a CMS RSS Module or to generate embed code to put the widget on a website.

  1. Go to https://events.mtu.edu.
  2. Login to the calendar using the link in the header.
  3. Once logged in, click the “Admin” shortcut in the header.
  4. From the Localist Success Resources menu on the right choose Public Widget Builder.
    Michigan Tech Events Calendar admin screen.
  5. Enter the Number of Results you want to display in the widget. If this is to be used in the CMS, you can leave it at the default.
  6. Enter the number of Days Ahead that you want events to be displayed for. For use in the CMS, you will most likely set this to a large number, like 365.
  7. If you are displaying events for a student organization, select the organization from the Groups dropdown.
  8. To filter your widget to only specific keywords or tags that are on events, enter that word in the Keywords and Tags field. Separate multiple words with a comma.
  9. If you only want to display featured events in your widget, check the Only Show Featured box.
  10. Michigan Tech does not currently use Sponsored Events, so leave the Only Show Sponsored box blank.
  11. Include All Matching Instances: Check this box if you want an single event with multiple dates in the calendar to show up separately in your widget. If you do not check this box a single event on the calendar with multiple dates will show up once in the widget with the next upcoming date and then change to the next date as the current date passes.
  12. Select one or more items from the Places, Event Type, Audience, and/or Department dropdowns to filter your results as needed. Be sure you are not in the Excluded Content section!
    Screen shot of the correct fields as opposed to the excluded content section.
  13. Select your Match option from the dropdown.
    1. At least one place, group, keyword or tag, and one filter item will display any event that matches at least one of the dropdown filters and at least one place, group, keyword, or tag that you selected.
    2. Any place, group, keyword, tag, or filter item will display events that match any of the filters, places, groups, keywords, or tags that you selected.
    3. At least one place and group, and all keywords, tags, and filter items will only display events that match every filter, keyword, or tag and at least one place or group that you selected.
    4. Any place or group, and at least one keyword or tag, and one filter item will display events that match at least one keyword or tag and one of the dropdown filters that you selected.
  14. In the Excluded Content section you can select criteria to exclude from your results. For example, you selected to display all events for your department, but you do not want Socials, you could exclude the Event Type of Social.
  15. Display Options do not matter if you are using this in the CMS, but can be set if you are embedding the widget code directly onto a webpage.
    1. Widget Type gives you the option to only show the events or to also include a calendar that users can choose a date on.
    2. Style changes the formatting of the widget. Use the Preview Widget button to see the various styles available.
    3. There are several checkboxes that will also change the format of the widget.
  16. Click the Preview Widget button to see what your widget will look like.
    1. For use in the RSS Module in the CMS, look at the resulting events, not the formatting. If these events are correct, remove the “&template=…” part at the end of the URL and change “&format=html” to “&format=rss” (without the quotation marks). Use this URL as the Feed URL.
  17. If you are happy with the way the widget looks, go back to the previous tab where you made your selections and click the Generate Embed Code button. This will provide you with script code that can be used to embed the previewed widget into a website if you are not using the RSS Module in the CMS.

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Calendar EventReach Score

If you are a Michigan Tech Event Calendar admin you may have noticed the EventReach score when you are adding events to the system. What do that score and all the checklist items mean?

EventReach Score window

According to the system vendor, “EventReach is a way to measure the expected ‘reach,’ or audience awareness, an event has.” They have discovered that including certain information in your event listing has a huge impact on increasing awareness and attendance at events. EventReach is the tool they developed to quantify those pieces. This “reach” comes from Google/Search Engine Optimization (SEO), within the Michigan Tech Event Calendar, and through post-event engagement.

When you begin adding a new event your EventReach score is 0 percent. As you add information—remember the Title and Start Date are required—your score increases and the items in the checklist that are completed get checked off and highlighted in green. Remaining items in yellow have not been added but would increase your score if you do add them and gray items are optional as they apply only to certain events.

EVentReach Score window with two criteria completed and 18% reach.

  • Description at least 160 characters
    Be sure to include a description of your event. Let people know what your event is about, but don’t get carried away. If it is too long people won’t read it. You get additional EventReach points if it is at least 160 characters long.
  • Date more than 7 days away 
    While events should be posted as far in advance as possible, leaving at least seven days allows enough time for Google to properly index the content and for your audience to discover the event. You get additional EventReach points if the first date of the event is more than seven days away.
  • Location 
    It is important to include a location so your audience knows where to find your event. Use Event Place and Room fields for this.
  • Linked to place profile 
    If your event is on campus you will want to link to the locations we have set up in the system. Start typing the building name in Event Place and select the correct building from the list that appears. The room number would then go in the Room field. Linking to the place profile provides the audience with additional information about the venue, including an image and Google map of the location.
  • Photo
    Adding a photo of something related to your event can help catch the audience’s attention and give your event better visibility. If you don’t include a custom picture for the event, the system will display the photo of the linked place. If the event is not linking to a place profile, it will display a generic Michigan Tech image. EventReach points are added for including a custom event image.
  • Filters
    Filters include Event Type, Department, and Audience. These filters allow people browsing the calendar to narrow down their search results and find the events most relevant to them. If you don’t include these filters, your event won’t show up for them. At the very minimum you should include your department. This will allow the event to feed onto your departmental website if that has been set up.
  • Keywords or tags
    Tags are a free form field for entering additional categories for your event. That could be something like homecoming, alumni reunion, or career fest for all events related to that larger event. Keywords are hidden tags used for internal purposes, such as pulling specific events for designated calendar feeds.
  • Hashtag
    Include your Twitter hashtag(s) for the event in this field to display it with the event. Your audience can then use it in their tweets. Also, the system will monitor the hashtag’s activity on Twitter and use it to determine which events get highlighted in the Trending list on the calendar homepage.
  • Website or Facebook URL
    Including a website or Facebook URL gives the audience a way to get even more information about your event. Including a Facebook event page URL will allow the system to automatically pull in and include RSVPs to the Facebook event with the I’m Going results from the system.
  • Allows user interaction
    By default this is allowed. This lets your audience interact with the event. If they select the I’m Going button, the system will also send them reminders about your event and ask for reviews after the event. Come back to your event details to see any reviews or comments left by the audience. You should leave the Allow User Activity and Allow User Attendance boxes checked.
  • Included in trending By default your event is including in the trending algorithm. Based on many factors, the system calculates the highest trending events and features them in the Trending tab on the calendar homepage. This is another way your event can get more exposure. You should leave the Exclude from Trending box unchecked.

Obviously not all events will have all of those items, but be sure to fill out as many fields as you can. When you are adding new events to the calendar, try to get the highest EventReach score possible to help increase the exposure your event will have.

If you often add events for your department and do not have admin access, please email webcal@mtu.edu to request this access.

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Adding Multiple Dates to an Event

If you have identical events that happen on multiple dates and times, but don’t recur exactly every day, week, or month you can still easily add multiple dates. This will only work if all other information, including location is the same.

  1. Type the first date in the Start Date field.
  2. Enter the Start Time for that date.
  3. Enter the End Time for that date.
  4. Add Dates to List using the button.
  5. Your date and time information will show up below the button.
  6. Repeat for each additional date and time combination and each will be added to the list.
  7. You can edit a single date and time combination by using the pencil icon screen shot of the edit button next to that line.
  8. You can delete a single date and time combination by using the trash can icon screen shot of the delete button next to that line.
  9. All other information is added as usual. General instructions for adding events can be found in a separate post.

Screen shot of add event function.

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Posting Events to the University Calendar

There are two ways to post events to our Events Calendar:

General Campus Community

Calendar Admins

  1. Login to the calendar using the link in the header.
  2. Once logged in, click the “Calendar Admin” shortcut in the header.
  3. Click the “Add an Event” button in the Events menu.

Please note that calendar admins have access to additional fields that do not exist on the public event submission webpage and skip the approval queue.

If you are a calendar admin, please use the event submission form available through your Admin login, as specified above. If you do not have admin access, but often add events for your department, please request access by sending your name, user ID, and department(s) to webcal@mtu.edu.

Tips for Posting an Event

The following is a step-by-step guide for filling out your event information:

  1. Name (Required): This is the title of your event. It should be descriptive, but not more than 7 words, if possible.
  2. Description: Describe what your event is about. Include information about who the event is for, where your event is located, and who is hosting the event in case someone copies your event information. Calendar Admins posting via their Admin login have access to add links and media sources.
  3. Start Date (Required): On which day does your event start? There are several ways you can enter a date: Oct 3, Otober 3, 10/3, “Next Friday,” “Tomorrow,” 10/4/19, etc. As you type, the date below the field will update accordingly.
  4. Start Time: At what time does your event start? You can type as little as 6p or 10a.
  5. End Time: At what time does your event end? You can type as little as 6p or 10a.
  6. Repeating: Use if your event is recurring (ie: daily for a week, monthly for the semester, etc).
  7. Click the “Add Above to Schedule” button to add the date to the event. You can add multiple dates by repeating from the Start Date.
  8. Event Place: Enter the venue where your event will take place. As you type your venue, you’ll see campus location options pre-populate. Select your venue from the list, so that you are linked to it unless the event takes place off campus.
  9. Room: Enter the room number for your event, if applicable.
  10. Address: This field will appear if you do not link to an Event Place. Adding an address will include a link to Google Maps for directions.
  11. Photo: You have the option to upload a photo of your choice. You could also “Choose from Photos” to select a generic campus image. Different image sizes are used in different places on the calendar.
    1. After saving your event, click on the pencil icon next to the image to edit it.
      Screen shot showing the pencil icon circled.
    2. Click the Adjust Cropping link in the upper right corner of the screen.
      Screen shot of the window with the Adjust Cropping link circled.
    3. Use the slider under each photo to change the zoom of the image and move the photo to the desired look.
  12. Photo Caption: Enter text that will be used as the caption for the photo.
  13. Event Type: You can select one or more event types from the dropdown menu. To select multiple types, simply select one, return the the menu and continue selecting others in any order. It is important to select relevant event types to make it easier for users to find your events.
  14.  Target Audience: Select one or more Audiences from the list in any order. Selecting relevant audiences is important to make it easier for users to find your events.
  15. Department: Selecting a Department will automatically add your event to that Department’s calendar. You can select one or more Departments from the list from those you have access to.
  16. Group: UMC only. Please leave this blank. Student Organizations must submit their events through Involvement Link and they will be automatically imported to the Events Calendar nightly.
  17. Host: Please indicate who the host of the event is, using free form text. It could be a department, a group, or a person. We recommend the name of the department, when possible.
  18. Contact Name: Include the name of a specific contact person if desired.
  19. Contact Email: Include the email for the contact person if desired.
  20. Contact Phone Number: Include the phone number for the contact person if desired.
  21. Ticket Cost: If your event requires tickets, please enter the cost. It can be a single dollar amount, a range, or a description such as “Youth: $5, Adults: $20”.
  22. Ticket URL: If users can order tickets online, please enter the URL to your ticketing website here.
  23. Eventbrite ID: If you have created an event in Eventbrite, you can enter the ID here.
  24. Keywords: These are hidden from users and can be used for common misspellings or custom widget selections.
  25. Tags: Calendar Admins only. Enter 3-7 keywords related to your event, to make it easier for users to find your event when they search and to group events.
  26. Twitter Hashtag: If a hashtag is associated with your event, such as #mtuwc for Winter Carnival, please enter your hashtag without the “#” symbol.
  27. Event Website: If you have a webpage or website that explains more about this specific event, enter the URL here.
  28. Vanity URL: Calendar Admins only. If you would like to advertise your event in print media, you can customize the URL by entering a keyword here.
  29. Sponsored: UMC only. Do not check.
  30. Allow User Feedback: Calendar Admins only. If you would like to allow reviews, leave this checked.
  31. Allow User Interest: Calendar Admins only. Unchecking this disables the “I’m Interested” and “Invite Friends” functionalities.
  32. Featured: UMC only. Do not change this.
  33. Visibility: UMC only. Leave set to “Public”.
  34. Exclude from Trending: UMC only. Do not check.

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Events Calendar Management

Our new Events Calendar has been a huge success so far, with over 43,000 views in the past month, representing an 85% increase in calendar use compared to last year. We have learned a few things along the way and want to explain a few changes that we have made, along with some best practices, and new features.

The Problem

Consider the following scenario:

  • Career Services adds Career Fair to the calendar
  • Many different departments want to put this event on their calendar as it is a very popular event
    • Some departments use the Contact Us form to have the event properly added to their own department’s calendar
    • Some departments duplicate the event onto their calendar
  • We end up with 7 copies of the same event floating around in the system, causing user confusion
  • The original event now appears to involve several departments instead of only the originator (in this case, Career Services)

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily, we have made some adjustments and have developed some ‘best practices‘ to alleviate this common issue.

Field Changes

We added one new field, relabeled another, and added some tooltips.

Subscribing Departments

On the live website, we have relabeled the “Departments” field to be “Subscribing Departments” to better reflect what that field actually means. When you’re listed as a “Subscribing Department”, it only means that you’ve added the event to your department’s calendar. It does not mean you’re involved in the event. On the backend, there is no change. This change is to help users of the calendar website.

Host Field

We’ve added a “Host” field to better show who is the true/actual host. This field is freeform text, so you could put “Career Services”, “Kinesiology and Biological Sciences” or even “Dial Help” if the event is hosted by an entity off camps. This will help address interdisciplinary events in that multiple hosts can be listed. “Host” is a new custom field on the backend.

Host and Departments Fields
We’ve have added a “Host” field.
Host and Subscribing Departments
An example of the “Host” and “Subscribing Departments” fields on an event.

View live example

You can also add important details to the event description. For instance, if it is very important that a department is recognized for putting the event together, you are welcome to add this information to the description.

Best Practice: Adding Existing Events to your Calendar

In our example, Career Services would create the “Career Fair” event. It is understandable that many departments would want to add that event to their calendar as well. Rather than duplicating the event, please click on the event that you want added to your calendar, scroll to the bottom, and click the the “Contact Us” link.

Adding an Existing Event
You can ask UMC to add an existing event to your calendar.

The UMC Digital Services team will make sure that you are added as a Subscribing Department and we can avoid event duplication and the confusing user experience that it can cause.

Not sure if someone has already created an event? Do a quick search using the search box in the header. If an event exists, click on it, use the “Contact Us” link and ask UMC to add it to your calendar. If no event exists, you are free to make your own.

I understand that we will need to make more adjustments along the way, so if there are any questions, concerns or new ideas, you can contact Joel Vertin, Digital Services Manager, at jcvertin@mtu.edu.

Thanks for helping us make this a great services for all of campus and the community!

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