Agriculture Communication

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Collaborative Calendars

An agent called to ask if there is an online calendar that people from several agencies in her county could add events to and would be posted on a city website. The website doesn’t have a built-in calendar and the administrator is only part-time.

Google Apps

Google Calendar
When Bob and I get requests for online tools to help people in their work, we always start with the resources we already have. I tried testing out Google calendar, but NDSU doesn’t allow the calendar functionality in our accounts so you would have to use a personal Google (Gmail) account to manage this. Not everyone has a personal Google account, so you would need to sign up for one.

In the example below, you can see that options like Calendar and Google+ are available in my personal Google account, but not through my NDSU Google account.
NDSU Google vs. personal Google accounts

(If you want to check out all the options available to you in any Google account, just to to the upper right on your screen and click on the 9 boxes, which means “Menu”).
Google menu


Google Docs or Sheets (Documents or Spreadsheets)
A county administrative assistant said she uses Google Docs as a collaborative calendar. There’s a Template Gallery with many styles and formats to choose from that gets you started quickly. I mocked up what she did using a Doc for a calendar. Test adding an event on a Google Doc here
While this option works well for that county, at the end of the day it is just a Doc and is missing some functions of a calendar. You only have one small line in a Doc to get all your information in. There’s no option to add repeat events and you can’t insert any images or files that might go along with the event.

Microsoft Office Calendar

One agent suggested using Microsoft Outlook calendar. I tested this out by going to Office 365, creating a new calendar and sharing. The problem is, you must have a Microsoft login to edit the calendar. Not everyone has one of these accounts: Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), Skype, Xbox or OneDrive, so you would be required to sign up for one.

TeamUp

I reviewed and tested several online collaborative calendars. I like TeamUp because there’s no login required, it’s free and easy to use. It’s also available in the App Store. I did a test calendar on the Ag CMS site. Go there to enter a test event.

It’s easy to add an event and there are templates available that make it easy to get started. You can have repeat events and add images or files or a map to the location.

TeamUp add event screenshot

 

When you're done creating the event, you can share via email, social media or link. People can add events to their personal calendars.

TeamUp Share options


Next Steps

If the agent finds this solution will work, she can create the calendar and share with all those in her county who will be contributing to it. She can ask the city’s webmaster to embed it on the website like I did with my test calendar on the Ag CMS site. Hopefully this will make it easier on the part-time webmaster who has been managing getting events online and easier for people to quickly and easily add an event, and keep their community informed with this easy to use and access collaborative calendar.

If you need help with collaborative calendar options, please contact me.

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

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