How to: Work with meetings and events

We can add events to group pages. Meetings are just one kind of event. Other kinds include: visits, walks, cycle rides, Christmas lunches, and so on.

The web site allows you to create two types of event:

One-off events describe an event happening on a single day. The give you complete flexibility over how they appear on the web site since each one can have entirely different details. They have to be created individually, however.

One-off events are a useful way to:

  • Describe meetings for groups that a diverse range of topics or that meet at different venues (for example, the walking group)
  • Supplement recurring events for groups that have occasional meetings that don't fit the normal pattern

One event in the system can occur on multiple days. For example a meeting on the second Tuesday of every month for a year. You can alter the generated dates to allow for special circumstances such as:

  • Extra meetings outside the normal schedule
  • Meetings that coincide with a bank holiday

Recurring events have the same:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Start time
  • Finish time (if specified)
  • Venue (if specified)

The only difference is the date of each one.

Recurring events are a useful way to establish a programme of regular meetings for a group that doesn't change its activities significantly from meeting to meeting.

Events linked to a group can be a mix of the two types.

The following sections describe how to:

  • Add an event
  • Update or delete an event

Add an event

Click any of the following headings for more information. Note that several of the sections include reduced-size screen shots. Click the screen shot to see a larger version...

You'll need to log in to the site before you can create an event. Click the 'Members' area' link shown in the menu and footer of our pages. If you see a 'Log out' link, you are already logged-in.

Navigate to the group page you want to link to. If you intend to link the event to multiple groups, pick any one of them to start with.

If you are authorised, you will see an 'Add an event to this group' link in the header. Click it to see a page like this:

Complete this form to create your new event. The following sections provide more detail.

If you are authorised to just one group, the form will link your item to it automatically.

If you are authorised to multiple groups, you can link your item to any of them by ticking the box next to the group name. For example:

  • You might produce an article about Bridge that is relevant to all the Bridge-playing groups
  • Your item might be raised by one group, but of general interest to all members

If you want to link the item to groups that do not appear, link it to at least one group, save your item, and contact a site editor or administrator who can link the item to the remaining groups for you. Alternatively, you can ask other group leaders to nominate you as editor for their group.

Note that an item linked to multiple groups is still just one item, so changing the item will change it everywhere it appears.

If you don't make a selection the system will show your group's leader(s) as the event organiser(s). So, the chances are, you will not use the 'Select event organisers' box.

You can, however, select any group member(s) to be the event's organiser(s).

This is where you decide whether to create a one-off event or a recurring one. See above for more about each type of event.

One-off event

Click 'An event that occurs on a single date' to create a one-off event. You will then see a calendar that allows you to select the date.

Recurring event

Click 'An event that occurs on multiple dates' to create a recurring one.

You will then see a panel like this:

The idea is that the site calculates a set of dates to match your event's general scheme. You can then add or remove dates from your programme to allow for Christmas, New Year, etc.

For example, if you select 'Nth ~day of each month, you will see something like this:

In this case you select:

  • First, second, third or fourth
  • Day of week
  • First month to include
  • Last month to include

We will ask group leaders to review their events towards the end of each U3A year so we suggest selecting March as the final month.

Clicking 'Calculate dates' shows something like this:

You can then deselect dates you don't want and add new ones if needed.

The other date calculation options work in a similar way. The exception is the 'It occurs on dates I will provide' which goes straight to the date editing box without any dates. You can then add the dates you want.

If your event has a definite start and end time, you should enter them both. Some events don't have a definite end time - that's OK, just enter the start time. If you're not sure when your event will start, omit both and come back later.

Most groups don't publish a venue because meetings take place in members' homes. You can, however, ask to create a private house as a venue and we'll do that in such a way that the location is disclosed only to members that have logged-in to the web site.

The first venue you specify is the main one featured in the event page. Use the others to specify additional locations such as car-share meet points and coach pick-up points.

Enter it into the text box which looks like this:

Text entry box and toolbar

It works in the same way as most word processors and email programs. Click in the box and start typing. The normal editing keys (Del, Backspace, arrow keys) work in the usual way. You can select parts of the text and use the toolbar buttons to make it bold, italic etc. Use the bullet buttons to start bulleted or numbered lists and use them again to revert to normal text.

You might want to re-use text from an article you've already written, or you might just be more comfortable using a different editor to write your article.

Copying from the other program and pasting the text into your item often appears to work, but it can cause more problems than it solves by introducing formatting you cannot see but that gives confusing results when you make further changes.

You should therefore consider using the 'Paste as text' button instead. The button displays this dialogue:

Paste as text dialogue

If you paste your text into the text box, you will see the words without any formatting. You can then apply the formatting you need.

If, having pasted your text, you find the formatting gets messed up, select all the text and click the 'Clear formatting' button to get rid of the formatting.

In the text box, highlight the text you want to link and click the 'Insert/edit link' button in the text box toolbar. This panel will appear:

Insert or edit link dialogue

Use one of the following methods to specify the page you want to link to:

  • Enter the page address in the 'URL' box. Your address should be prefixed 'http://' or 'https://' if it's a page on a different site. To link to a page on this site, you can enter everything after 'haylingu3a.org' (i.e. starting with '/').
  • Select a page listed in the box at the bottom of the form - the address of the selected page appears in the URL box automatically.
  • Enter some text in the Search box to restrict the page list to those pages with a title containing your search text. Select a page to link to it.

Optionally tick 'Open link in a new window/tab' if you want the linked page to appear in a new window or tab (you can't control which). You should generally do this for links to other sites so that people can get back to our site easily.

Click 'Add Link' to add your link.

You can change a link you previously entered by clicking on it in the text box and clicking the 'Insert/edit link' button in the text box toolbar. The same pane as shown above will appear, this time populated with the details of the link you are changing.

To remove a link altogether, click the link in the text box and click the 'Remove link' button in the text box toolbar.

You will first need to obtain or create your image. If you are using a digital photograph, your image will probably be too large to be useful on the web site and it will be rejected. Consider using image manipulation software or web site to create a more manageable, smaller version for use in your item. Alternatively, use one of the free storage sites to store your large image and link to it from your page.

It's sometimes appropriate to put a small version of an image into a page (sometimes called a thumbnail) which links to a larger version. To help you with this, the site automatically creates three versions of uploaded images:

  1. A full-size version
  2. A medium size version that will still fit comfortably in a web page
  3. A small version suitable for use as a thumbnail

There are three image formats that are universally implemented by web browsers:

  1. 'GIF' - best for simple images
  2. 'JPG' or 'JPEG' - best for complex images like photos
  3. 'PNG' - good all-rounder, specifically designed for use on the web

If you get the choice, use PNG.

To add your image to your article, place your cursor where the image should appear - normally at the beginning of a paragraph. You get the option to place your image so that text folds around it. If you want your image to appear on the right, place your cursor at the beginning of the relevant paragraph.

Click the 'Add Media' button to see this dialogue...

AddArticle6

You can click the 'Media Library' tab to select an image that has already been uploaded to the site. Alternatively, drag your image into the dialogue box and the site will upload it automatically.

When you select or upload a file, you'll see something like this at the right hand side of the dialogue:

Attachment dialogue

Starting from the top:

  • Title - is the name the file is given in the media library, it defaults to the name of your file
  • Caption - is optional text that will be shown underneath your image when displayed in your page
  • Alt Text - should briefly describe your image if that's not already done by its context; these days 'alt text' is primarily used by people with sight impairment
  • Description - is used when reviewing entries in the media library
  • Attachment display settings - controls how the image will be included in your article...

Use the Alignment selector to decide how your image will be shown:

  • None - displays the image at the position you selected. Text will not wrap around it. You would normally use this option to display the image in a paragraph on its own.
  • Left - displays the image on the left with text flowing around it to the right.
  • Right - displays the image on the right with text flowing around it to the left.
  • Center - (sorry about the spelling) displays the image in the middle with text flowing to both the left and the right.

Use the 'Link To' selector to determine what happens if someone clicks your image:

  • Media File - links directly to the full size version of your image. It will appear in an otherwise blank browser window. Use this option if you want to display your image 'on top' of your article when it is clicked (see below).
  • Attachment Page - Displays your image in a site page that includes a header and footer.
  • Custom URL - Allows you to link your image to anywhere on the internet; enter the address to go to in the box below the selector.
  • None - The image doesn't link to anything; nothing happens if you click it.

Click 'Insert into post' to insert your image. The editor does a reasonable job of showing you how your image will appear. To get a better idea, you should preview your change (see below).

If you want to change how your image appears, click it in the editor to see this selector:

AddArticle11

to:

  • Change the image's alignment
  • Change the image settings
  • Delete the image from your page

You can include a small version of an image that shows a larger version floating on top of your article when you click it. Click this image to see what we mean:

Image details

Single click your image to see a small toolbar containing an Edit button, click it to see the panel shown above

  • Ensure 'Link to' is set to 'Media file'
  • In the 'Advanced options' pane enter "fancybox" without the quotes all one word, all lower case into the 'Link CSS Class' box
  • Click 'Update'

You can link your page to anything that can be stored on computer. For example, a document written in Word. It's OK to link to documents if you know that everyone you expect to read the document has the necessary software. Otherwise, you should convert your document to a generally-available format: normally PDF.

Normally you will create some text or an image in your page that links to your document. Start by highlighting the text or image to be linked then click the 'Add Media' button. From this point the process is similar to adding an image except that there's no sizing or alignment options.

The above explains some of the basics of editing. There are plenty of other options we haven't described. If you see a feature that you would like to use, or if you want to do something, but can't see how; contact Andy and he'll try to help.

Update or delete an event

Log in to the web site and navigate to the event you want to change. It will be linked from your group page and it will appear in the event calendar.

If you are authorised, you'll see a blue button at the top of your entry labelled 'Update or delete'. Click it to start your update.

Stand-alone event

If the system detects a stand-alone event you will see the form described in the 'Add' section above but already filled-in with details from the event you selected.

You can then either:

  • Make your changes and click 'Change the event'; or
  • Click the 'Delete' button to remove the event after replying 'OK' to the confirmation message.

Recurring event

If the system detects a recurring event you will be shown a list of dates remaining in the programme and you will be asked what you want to do:

That looks complex, but it provides useful options to cover circumstances group leaders are likely to encounter:

  • Minor changes to event dates mid-year
  • Extending a programme at the end of a U3A year
  • Updating the event description
  • Providing different details for just one event in the programme
  • Reschedule all future dates in a programme
  • Cancelling all future dates

We do not provide an option to delete an event but if you choose to delete all future dates, and there are no past events, we will delete the entire event.

If you are unsure which option to choose we provide more information by clicking 'Find out more'.

When you make a selection and click 'Select' what happens next depends on the option you choose and will use parts of the 'add' process described above.