We all have to adopt to a new normal now. And it’s great to see that some of you are already embracing the change, and have moved events online. It feels strange now, and the first attempts may be a bit wobbly, but soon it’ll be easier and feel pretty normal to all of us. 

Clubs and societies are a huge part of the UCL community, and all your events will play a very important role to support students in these difficult times.

If you’re unsure about creating online events or you think you could do with some extra tips, we’ve created this simple guide to support you along the way. 

And if you still have questions or need support, the Activities Team are continuing to work from home. 

Contact the Activities Team

Coming up with ideas

Have a video meeting with your committee members and get brainstorming. How about a weekly knitting tutorial, lunch-time cooking classes, group yoga sessions, evening sing-alongs, games or movie nights? There are so many options and ideas to explore.  

Some ideas to get you thinking ...

  • Online Netflix watch parties 
  • ​Streaming gaming competitions
  • Online Dance Sessions
  • Virtual knitting tutorials
  • Guest Speaker Conferences through Zoom
  • Mindfulness Exercises
  • Cultural and religious celebrations
  • Language speaking classes
  • Virtual theatre nights
  • Movie screenings
  • Music listening sessions
  • Radio live streaming
  • Food Tasting sessions or cooking classes
  • Weekly quizzes or trivia games (you can use Kahoot for this!)

What do I need to get going?

To move events, classes, quizzes and society meetings online, you need the following: 

  • A good wifi connection
  • A phone or webcam
  • A good set-up (make sure you appear fully in the camera frame, there is enough natural light etc.)
  • A rough structure of what you’d want to cover or do during the session
  • Most important, prepare for tech troubles: Before you start, test your internet connection, test your microphone and your camera, try to minimise background noise 

 

What about time zones?

  • lots of your members may be in different countries around the world
  • It's important you think about scheduling so that as many people can get involved as possible
  • Have a look at sites like 24timezones to help you decide the best time to arrange events

Which platform to use?

There are plenty of platforms to choose from and depending on the nature of your event, some platforms are better suited than others. Below are some options that may work best: 

Microsoft Teams

Suitable for: Committee meetingsFace-to-face interaction

All UCL students have free access to Microsoft Teams. You can use it to host video calls with your committee or members, share your work or display screens, and chat to custom groups so you can stay in touch with your club or society! 

Guide: How to set up Teams

 

Google Meet

Suitable for: Committee meetings, Face-to-face interaction

Google Meet, also known as Google Hangouts Meet, is now free to use for everyone and built to let dozens of people join the same virtual meeting, and speak or share video with each other from anywhere with internet access. The platform is great to use for committee meetings, virtual events, or in fact any other large meetings that require you to see and connect with multiple participants at once.

Anyone with a standard google account can host and join in Google Meet meetings. 

Google Meet

Simple live streaming – Facebook Live/ Instagram Live

Suitable for: Active events, Online training
Not suitable for: Face-to-face interaction

All you need for this to get going is a Facebook Page or a public Group or an Instagram Page and you can get started. You can also start a private or secret Facebook Group and livestream to that. All you will need to do is set up your phone on a tripod, open up the Facebook Group and select the red ‘Live’ button underneath where you post. Write the title of the class and start your session. 

The downside of livestreaming is that you can’t see the people who have joined your session, so feedback you’d normally give is not possible.

Participants can type in questions and offer the usual reactions (love, thumbs up etc) but you’ll not want to be overly distracted by them when you are guiding through a physical class for example.

Video tutorial Facebook Live

Zoom 

Suitable for: Active events, Online training, Face-to-face interaction 

Zoom is simple-to-use and provides you with the option to see everyone that has joined in via a grid view and you can zoom in to have any one person fill the screen. 

Starting the sessions is straight forward, you’ll just need to send a link to everyone interested before the event starts and they can attend live. 

For live teaching, especially when you need to demonstrate postures for example at a wider angle you will need your phone/camera set a lot further away than your webcam would usually be.

It is important to make sure that when your meeting is enabled, your society sets the event as private with a waiting room, so that you have to admit people to the meeting. This way you avoid just anyone joining the call. If you have any questions about doing this, please contact Dan Fow at [email protected] and he can talk you through it. 

Accessing Premium Zoom Accounts through UCL:

UCL has secured a zoom premium licence for us all to use follow the link here for more information on how to set up your account and events.

Video Tutorial Zoom

YouTube

Suitable for: Active eventsOnline training 
Not suitable for: Face-to-face interaction

YouTube also allows for live streaming. Your account will need to be verified (not difficult but takes 24 hours) and you will need to stream via webcam unless you have at least 1,000 subscribers in which case you can stream via the mobile app.

Access can be public, private or unlisted.

Private access allows sharing to a max of 50 different people.

To stream on desktop go to Creator Studio Tools then Live Streaming. You may need to wait for 24 hours to get access to live streaming the first time you attempt it.

You can schedule your livestream ahead of time to let your subscribers know when you are going to be live. As with Facebook Live you won’t be able to see people who have joined in. 

Instagram IGTV

Suitable for: Active eventsOnline training
Not suitable for: Face-to-face interaction

If you have an Instagram account for your Club or Society, Instagram IGTV could work for you. With IGTV you can upload pre-recorded videos to your own ‘channel’. From there your followers – or in fact anyone – can view them. So this would be ideal if you wished to make your class (or a taster) available to view to a large potential audience.

A few things to note:

1. Instagram videos are portrait rather than landscape so bear this in mind when you’re setting up.
2. You are limited to 60 minutes so be sure to keep your IGTV videos to under this time.
3. Because the videos are pre-recorded you naturally have the option to edit your videos before uploading. Perhaps add your class name and contact information to an intro? 

Video Tutorial Instagram IGTV

Skype 

Suitable for: Active events, Online training, Smaller meetings
Not suitable for: Face-to-face interaction

Skype works on PC/Mac and on mobile phones. You can invite participants to join the live call so you will see them on a grid, much like Zoom. 

However, just like Microsoft Teams (which is itself based on the now Microsoft-owned Skype), each participant requires their own Skype account. This will give them a username which they will provide so you as the host can invite each of them to join your call. 

This is different to Zoom where you can create a unique link that you email or text to everyone en-masse to join the session at the scheduled time with a single click. This makes Skype more suited for smaller sessions and committee meetings rather than bigger events. 


If you’re unsure which platform is the right one to use for your idea, please get in touch with us. 

Promoting your event 

How far and wide you’d want to promote your event obviously depends on the nature of it. Do you want to keep it intimate, so for your club and society members only, or is it an event that could be joined and enjoyed by any student at UCL? 

My event is for my Club and Society members only: 

  • Join the community facebook group This way you’ll stay connected with the UCL community, you’ll be able to see what other clubs and societies are doing and you’ll get an idea of what the community is in need of right now

  • Add your event to your own Club/ Society page on the Union’s website
    Send an email to all your members with details of your event and invite them to join.

    • Explain technology used (e.g. This event will take place on Zoom - you can download the app here etc.)

    • Make joining instructions as clear as possible. 

  • Share event details on your social media platforms
     

Ticketing your events and giving access:

  • Set up tickets and on the day of the event send the attendees the joining instructions/link..  
  • Do not put links to your event in multiple places/sites
  • Avoid putting a link in your What’s On Calendar event until at least the day of the event.
  • You can either submit a ticket request form and we can put tickets up for you or you could run free tickets through eventbrite
  • When using Zoom, make sure the Waiting Room feature is enabled and do not let people into the call unless you know who they are. 
  • Remember to make sure you have a moderator for all events and in the unlikely event of any issues be ready to shut down the call. 
  • Remember it should only be UCL students involved in your event under most circumstances.

Online Code of Conduct:

  • You should have a moderator for all events responsible for upholding  our online code of conduct - https://studentsunionucl.org/online-events-code-of-conduct
  • We have developed this code of conduct to ensure our online spaces are safe for all those using them, and to make clear that everyone who participates has a responsibility to help us achieve this.
  • Please make sure that all attendees are made aware of the code of conduct and that you are prepared to remove people from events if they behave inappropriately.

 

We’d love for everyone who is interested to join:

  • Join the community facebook group - This way you’ll stay connected with the UCL community, you’ll be able to see what other clubs and societies are doing and you’ll get an idea of what the community is in need of right now

  • Use the UCL community facebook group to promote your event - share it on the page and share joining instructions too.

  • Add your event to your own Club/ Society page on the Union’s website

  • Add your event to the Union’s What's On Calendar

    • If this is a regular event, ensure to tick the box for the event to be repeated weekly (for example) on the calendar

    • When the events are up on the What’s on calendar, we can include them into our All Student Email too. 

    • If you cannot add events, get in touch and we can add them for you

  • Always tag Students' Union UCL on Instagram - this will spread your reach and we are able to reshare your content @studentsunionucl

Speak to us!  

We’d love for you to get in touch with us so that we can help you develop your event ideas and support you in using the different systems available.

For more information and for additional support please get in touch with either Dan Fow, Societies Development Coordinator (Events) at [email protected]   or D'arcy McGuinness, Societies and Media Coordinator (Events) at [email protected]