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Portals combined with News Management provide a way to share relevant content with specific constituencies.
Each portal is made up of screens that are collected into categories. Each screen is tailored to the constituency with articles supplied through Communication Channels, event data, and external embedded data and links. Styling and layout options are controlled by Portal Admins, ensuring that each Portal is consistent with school branding.
This article covers the portal component types, along with how to manage and publish content.
Deciding on the appropriate number of Portals is important in making content available to the right people. In many cases, a single Portal with multiple screens will suffice, and in others, multiple portals will make sense when different security profiles will need to exist. Schools may want to consider the latter option so that each constituency (Parents, Faculty/Staff, etc.) has its own access point.
The most common way of managing portals will be to have a single Portal with multiple Categories and Screens in order to group content, e.g., a portal to manage content for parents. Within this Parent News & Events Portal, screens will be created for Upper School, Middle School, and Lower School News & Events.
Other suggested screens within the Parents News & Events Portal are:
- a screen for fine arts
- a screen where resources are posted
- a screen where information on a single school event or project lives
In addition, within the single Parent News & Events Portal there may be links within the navigation to external sources like a Calendar on the School website.
Managing each Portal is done through a combination of configuration on the Portal Detail Screen and the Screen Builder.
Read more about the Portal Screen Builder.
News content is one of the key components of each Portal. News on each Portal Screen is managed by the placement of Article and Content Components, which draw their information from Veracross communication features.
There are many ways to organize content within each Portal Screen. News Components can organize content in a large number of ways based on the configuration of the Screen on which news is displayed.
Article Components can display content as a Single Line List, Banner Carousel, and Multi Line List, among other styles. This type of Component pulls data dynamically by Channel, and filtering by date or article description. When determining a strategy for News content, consider whether additional Communication Channels will need to be added to help manage the content being pulled onto each Portal Screen. To learn more about managing Communication Channels, read Communication Channel Management.
Content Components allow for non-dynamic content to be displayed on each Portal Screen, e.g., headings, non-dynamic rich text, navigation, photo and icon links that point to specific URLs.
Most news content on Portal Screens is controlled indirectly by publishing Composer articles associated with channels that are pushing content to Portal Components. Therefore, permissions for publishing news content onto a Portal Screen is based on the security of specific Communication Channels. Details on Communication Channels can be found by reading about Communication Channel Management.
Non-dynamic news content must be published via the Screen Builder tool. Admin-level permission is required for updating this type of content. For example, a News & Events Portal may have a Notification Link on a specific Screen. Changing the URL associated with the Notification Link or the text must be controlled via the Screen Builder by a user with Admin-level permission for that specific portal.
Event data pushed directly from Veracross provide an integrated way to share important events with school constituents. Event data are pulled onto each Portal Screen via Components.
As each Portal Screen is set up, the Portal Admin can put one or more Event Components on the screen in a number of different styles and layouts, including as lists or cards.
Each configured Component can specify which events are pulled. Filters include Event Type, School Level, Grade Level, Campus, Primary Group and Start & End dates. For example, one Event Component might display the next eight athletic games & tournaments classified as Upper School events.
To learn more about specific Event Component features, read about the Portal Screen Builder.
Events get published (displayed) based on the filter settings on each Component. No specific visibility setting is required on Group Event records to make the event display. Note that using the filters on a Component limits the visibility of future events that can be setup. For example, a school may wish to display only upcoming events, rather than all of them. This is accomplished by setting a filter to display the desired number of events and turning off the ‘Load More’ button.
Other Content Types
In addition to News & Events, additional content can be embedded on Portal Screens, e.g., Google Forms, Google Drive folders, and Twitter timelines. A Generic Embed Component can be added to a screen, making it possible to display many types of media that support embedding.
Permissions for managing this content is partly based on being a Portal Admin for the particular News & Events Portal. Having Admin permissions gives the user the ability to add new embedded content and change the embed code on already-embedded components. However, note that some embedded content may also require that the user have access to the relevant external content, e.g., access to a particular Twitter account may be required to post tweets from that account.
An additional content type is the result of taking a single Composer page and making it one of the News & Events Portal Screens. For instance, one could use a Composer Page to create a list of available resources (forms, links to other web content, etc.) for parents.
Managing these Composer Pages requires the user to be a Portal Admin. From the Content Screens tab of the Portal Detail Screen, a Portal Admin can create New Content Screens and edit already existing Content Screens.