Building Your Website for Communication: Calendars Part 1
A website is a communication tool. A school or department website's primary purpose is to communicate with a school or department's stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, and the community as a whole. In this issue of the Master Link we will take a look at some of the ways that we can use an Architeck calendar to share about upcoming events.
Putting the Calendar on Top
There are few tools in Archteck with the universal utility of the calendar page. Arguably every school and department website in the district should have a top-level calendar page for communicating upcoming dates and events important to that school or department. A top-level page is a page made from the school or department homepage which is given a top banner navigation link. For instance, the Architeck calendar was made from the Architeck homepage which automatically generated a top banner link.
In many cases, schools or departments have forgone establishing an Architeck calendar because the webmaster is not the person best suited to keeping the site's calendar up to date, particularly at a school where the webmasters might be teachers, but the school secretary is the person who keeps track of the school calendar. In such situations, we encourage webmasters to contact Matt Miller or Trudy Norton about having a specific individual granted permission to edit the calendar page. In order for an individual to be granted permission to edit your site's Architeck calendar, they do need to complete the Basic Architeck Training. We also offered advanced classes related to using Architeck calendars for both classified and certified personnel.
Helping Architeck Calendar and Google Calendar Play Nice
Most district employees have an MPS Connect account which, of course, comes with a calendar. The Google calendar that comes with an MPS Connect account is geared toward personal use, whereas the Architeck calendar is intended to be more of a public calendar. As webmasters, our goal should be develop a website that communicates with parents, students, the community, and with our colleagues. That being said, there are obviously many instances where it is beneficial to have Archtieck calendar entries appear on our Google calendars as well. The Architeck calendar provides two methods of automatically adding Architeck calendar items to one's Google calendar.
Adding a Single Architeck Calendar Entry
Adding a single Architeck calendar event to your Google calendar in MPS Connect is as simple as clicking the "+Add to Google Calendar" button in the lower right corner of the event page that opens when you click on an event in an Architeck calendar. If you are not logged into your MPS Connect account already, there will be an extra step to bypass the Google account login page that comes up by default. Unfortunately, only the text in the event details will be passed through to the Google calendar and it is not uncommon for the formatting to be lost or unusual characters be added as the web text used in Architeck is converted to the plain text used by Google, but the basic information will certainly be present.
Adding an Architeck Calendar in MPS Connect
Some Architeck calendars are so useful that we simply want every entry to be added to our Google calendar in MPS Connect. For those situations, we want to add an Architeck calendar to our Google calendar.
The District Calendar is a fantastic example. We will start by visiting the District Calendar page. In the lower left hand corner, below the calendar we will see a pair of links labeled "iCal | Outlook". The "iCal" link is the one that we need. Right-click on the "iCal" link and select Copy link address.
Now we need to switch to our MPS Connect account and access the calendar from the navigation bar at the top of the screen.
Along the left-hand side of the screen are a small overview calendar, a section titled "My calendars" and a section titled "Other calendars". From the little drop-down arrow next to "Other calendars" select Add by URL.
In the pop-up window, right-click on the "URL" text box and select Paste. The link address that we copied from the District Calendar page will be pasted into the "URL" text box. Click on the "Add Calendar" button and the District Calendar will be added to the Google calendar.
The initial event import is instantaneous. As changes are made to the District Calendar in Architeck, those changes will be reflected in the Google calendar, however there is a delay that can extend several hours while the Architeck servers and the Google servers communicate with each other.
Help is Just a Click Away
We will be back next week with even more tips on how to make the most of your website's Architeck calendar. As always, we have tutorials available on the Architeck website. Also, leave us a comment to share how you are using or how you want to use calendars on your school or department's website.