Summary

Every collaborative effort ends up having meetings, conference calls, or other events that need to happen in real life, not digitally. The Epimetrics Epicenter platform provides a robust system that handles the entire life cycle of such events and integrates them into the rest of a group’s collective memory.

Events

Calendar


The Epimetrics Epicenter platform maintains multiple calendars for public and group-scoped events. This system does not attempt to replace the calendar systems users have at their primary institutions. Rather, it provides a common record for collaborative events that span those institutions.

The primary site-wide calendar shows each user only those events — public and group-specific — in which the user is participating. When a user views a group calendar, only that group’s events show. Thus the user can easily find what’s going on simply by going to the relevant calendar.

Scheduling


To date, our clients have been widely distributed members of multiple organizations and so do not share a common calendaring system like Outlook. The Event tools we offer provide a convenient overlay on top of such systems that makes it easy to find agreeable times for the event.

The process begins when an admin user creates a new event, specifying some basic information:


  • event title
  • event description
  • type of event (conference call or in-person meeting)
  • who is to chair the meeting
  • who is to attend (either the entire group or a selectable subset of members)
  • an optional agenda

The admin then sets up a series of date/time alternatives for the event using a simple, intuitive interface.

At this point, the admin can invite the participants to review the date/time options and declare their preferences. The system generates an editable email to the participants that includes automatic links back to the event’s page at the web site. When participants click that link, they are taken to this page where they can indicate for each option whether it is “Best”, “OK”, or “Can’t”. As participants set their preferences, they are displayed on grid where everyone can see the accumulating preferences. Each user can potentially change her preferences as time goes on.

Each event can also be configured to allow regular users to submit alternative dates/times, and these suggestions can be allowed to go live or can be set to require admin approval. This feature helps reduce or eliminate the “email tag” cycles that nearly always happen when groups are trying to plan an event manually.

When every participant has submitted their preferences, the system sends an automatic email to the event admin informing her that everyone has had a chance to evaluate the options and that she can decide when the event will occur. She can simply set one of the options as the final event, at which point the event is now scheduled. The system generates an editable email with this decision that the admin user can send to all participants. This step also places the event in the group’s calendar.

As the event nears, the system will send out configurable reminders — one week in advance, one day in advance, and the day of the event. The admin user can turn off the reminders on a per-event basis if she feels that they are unnecessary.


Conducting the Event


Once the event has been scheduled, the admin user now gets an interface that allows her to record attendance at the meeting using simple check boxes for the participants. She can also create minutes by editing the event. Once the meeting is done, potentially so is all record keeping for the meeting.

Then when the attendance has been recorded and the minutes filed, the event is now completed and the entire history of the meeting is compiled in one easy-to-browse format — including all particulars of the date/time, the agenda, the attendance, and the minutes. Any participant can then review all of this information at a glance and post any comments about the event that they may want to make. And all of this information is searchable within the web site and accessible to the New Content system.

Thus, this Event management tool provides all the functionality of third party systems like Google Calendar, plus it adds other features like reminders and integrates all the event’s information with all the other information the group is generating.

Created: September 15, 2009 12:47
Last updated: March 08, 2010 11:04


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