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MIGRATION TO NEW SYSTEM

Added on: Sun 31st March 2019

 

A MEMBERS GUIDE TO WHAT IS HAPPENING

WITH THE U3A WEB PRESENCE

Hi everyone.

Even if you are not a regular user of our website please read on – the changes may affect you and how you interact with PU3A. We advise that ALL members read this document in its entirety as there are important bits scattered throughout.

You may or may not be aware of the fact that PU3A is soon to change the web presence of our happy band. Below you will find some explanation and advice on what is happening.

WHY ARE WE CHANGING?

The reason for the change is twofold.

  1. Our old website was starting to look a little dated, and to re-work the system would have meant stripping it back to the bone and starting again, which would have been very time consuming for the Committee and costly to then get the development done
  2. We had a security issue back in August 2018 which we repaired on a temporary basis, but since then we have had to work with limited access as the full fix would have been part of the re-build.

WHY U3AWEB?

The Committee formed a sub-committee to look into what direction we should go. They spent 6 months investigating various options (6 in all) and on the questions of cost, security, usability and future-proofing U3AWeb came out as the top contender. The full Committee ratified the recommendation and we have now entered into a 3-year contract with the supplier for our website and database provision.

WHAT CHANGES WILL I SEE AS A USER?

The look and navigation of the new site will obviously be different, but we are writing “User Guides” which will be available to all users once logged in – we have tried to keep them as readable as possible without any techie language, but if you are confused by any of it please ask. We believe the new site is easier to find the info you want from a simple menu structure.

WILL ALL MEMBERS HAVE ACCESS?

All members will have access to basic information – BUT – to get full use from the system the member MUST have a logged email address (PU3A must have the email address of each individual for access).   We know that some people are either non-email users or are reluctant to register their personal email address with PU3A – but please read on – there may be a solution that will help you.

CHECK YOUR DETAILS

We would ask that once the system goes live all members access the system and check their personal details and correct if needed. The reason for this is that we have done a data transfer from the old system, but there is always a possibility that odd pieces of info may have been dropped by the import process. We have done our best to do a data check – but there is nobody better than you to check your details. Please pay particular attention to Gift Aid as we now know that Gift Aid can only be claimed by each individual – so each half of a Joint Membership must agree if they are eligible to claim – we will be putting an explanation document about Gift Aid on the new site.

ACCESS WITHOUT EMAIL

While you will be able to see basic information on groups and the generality of PU3A you will only have the same access as a non-member. This is because the security of the system requires an email address to be able to carry out some functions that relate to you and your membership. If you are adamant that you don’t wish to, or are unable to take up one of the solutions below the system does have back-up processes to cover this from a U3A Admin perspective, so you will not miss out on information, but you may miss out because postal services and written paper copy are considerably slower, so offers may have been and gone before you even see them.

See below for possible ways around the problems. The solutions take the form of the questions/statements most often made as to why a person doesn’t want to use email for PU3A and answers to those points.

  1. I simply don’t have email!
    1. If it is a case of you have a computer but no address then we can help if you simply need some guidance on how to create one and use the software to access your mails
    2. If you have no PC (or other device) then you could arrange for a friend or someone in one of your groups to act as a “WEB-BUDDY” and while they check their emails they do a quick check of yours as well – it is easy to set up and you could have full access and notifications from PU3A via a surrogate. If you wish to go down this route, again, we will offer guidance We want everyone to get the most out of the system they can
       
  2. I have email but I don’t want to register it with PU3A.
    1. If this is because you don’t trust the security of our database, then you can rest assured that
      1. We are a very unlikely target for any malcontent hacker – they want detail from the big boys like finance houses and online stores – we are microscopic beer for them. If you do online banking or any shopping online then you are more at risk from that than PU3A.
      2. Our security is as good as we are likely to get from any supplier without paying thousands upon thousands of pounds for a full 24/7 security team in an office somewhere.
      3. Your own PC or other device is more likely to be a source of data harvesting than our database – how many have security software that was updated less than a week ago? If not then your PC is a threat to your data.
    2. If this is because you don’t wish to put your personal email address onto a database because you fear it will be compromised, or that PU3A mail will get mixed up with your personal comms then you “could” create a second email address purely for PU3A business. Something like johnjonespu3a@gmail.com (apologies to any John Jones’s out there) would do the job.  Then you simply log into that account to see any messages from PU3A and conversely use it to send any PU3A related emails.
      We will give advice if needed.

We are not trying to bully you into the online comms world, but we would like everyone to get the most they can from our online services.

 

GROUP LEADERS AND U3AWEB

From the Group Leaders perspective the system gives you more visibility of your group and members for admin purposes – and while it may appear that there is “more work” involved by using the system it removes the need to keep all kinds of information in little files or bits of paper scattered all over the place – so your “work” does in fact reduce, once the system is set up.

All of the previous page about email access applies to Group Leaders, but their email access is possibly more important.

The system can give you :

  • Notification when a member of your group is suspended or leaves PU3A
  • Notification of when a new member wishes to join you
  • Automatic registers on paper for day to day use
  • Ability to change details and descriptions on your group pages
  • Ability to do income/expenditure logs for your group (this will be at some time after initial launch).
  • Ability to add “attachments” to your group page to give more info.
  • Group Leader can email group members within the system using a "blind" system
  • Group Leader can authorise full member to member emailing within group using a "blind" system
  • System advises of members without email to enable other methods of communication to be employed

We will be arranging “training” sessions for Group Leaders once we have launched – but prior to this there will be “How To” documents available once signed into the system.

Please give the new system a fair go - all change takes a little getting used to, but slowly it becomes second nature to operate the new site.  We are confident you will find the new system makes it easier to interact with groups.

Alan Locke (PU3A Web Admin)

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