Web-based Agenda to merge campus calendars of events

Author: Matthew V. Storin


Whats on the AGENDA?

Thats a question asked often on campus with the launch last week of Notre Damesnew, unified, Web-based calendar system that lists events for all segments of the University community.

Not to be confused with Corporate Time, which is for personal schedules, AGENDA resides at http://agenda.nd.edu and is the one place where students, faculty, staff and the general public can read about all the major events scheduled on campus.

Agenda organizes events by category, such as Arts and Entertainment, as well as by day, week, month and even year.

As great a benefit as AGENDA represents for the University community, it is a particular breakthrough for event planners, who have had no systematic way of learning if the timing of their events conflicted with one another.

In fact, it was a group of these planners, led by Dianne Phillips of the Erasmus Institute, who petitioned the Office of News and Information in January to act on this longstanding need.

AGENDA is the third generation of an all-University calendar. The original electronic events calendar, launched in the late 1990s, carried primarily academic activities and excluded student activities. The second generation, launched by the Office of Student Affairs and calledUnder the Dome,welcomed all events but was most robust in student activities.

Merging academic, administrative and student activities at a universal site became a goal of members of the calendar planning committee for two reasons. First, they shared a determination that a single, visible, multipurpose calendar would afford all event planners a one-stop calendar experience. In recent years, numerous on-campus groups had established their own calendars, requiring planners to post to multiple sites.

Planners also wanted visitors to the Notre Dame Web site to be able to see the rich cross section of academic and student activities that comprises campus life.

AGENDA is powered by software purchased by the Office of Public Affairs and Communication, and the project is cosponsored by the Office of Information Technologies. The new system allows various units of the University such as theCollegeofArtsand Letters, Student Activities, and the Department of Human Resources to use the calendar system for their own promotional purposes and audiences while contributing to the larger pool of events information.

An event planner for a campus organization can enter an event on his or her own calendar that will thenroll upto the AGENDA homepage. The Universitys new calendar editor, Jennifer Laiber, will oversee the listing of events, and other events will remain on the varioussubcalendarsof the system.

Laiber says,Weve gathered a great group of knowledgeable people from across the University to help design the calendar and give us advice on its policies. Theyve added their views from a technical aspect as well as what faculty, staff and students want as end-users.

The design/policy team members are Bob Guthrie, OIT project manager; John Buysse, OIT senior systems engineer; Jim Gosz, ND Web Group web designer; John Nunemaker, ND Web Group web developer; Peggy Hnatusko, student activities assistant director for programs; Mary Hamann, Mendoza College of Business director of communications; and Patricia Sperry, OIT manager of web developer services.

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