Virtual & Physical Sessions

Search for sessions that take place online, in a physical location, or both.

At this time it is important to only advertise virtual classes via your platform - the good news is that virtual data is now available in our platform via the isVirtual=true parameter (see below for more details). For example, https://search.imin.co/events-api/v2/event-series?mode=upcoming-sessions&isVirtual=true will return all virtual classes in our platform.

By using the isVirtual=true parameter, any classes that take place in-person at a physical location will not be included in your API results. Once Government restrictions are lifted, this parameter can be used to return both virtual (isVirtual=true) and in-person (isVirtual=false) classes.

1. Attendance Mode

Attendance Mode differentiates between sessions that occur physically, virtually or both. Please see the OpenActive discussion for this field here.

1.1. Offline Attendance (AKA Physical)

  • Response field (in EventSeries): "eventAttendanceMode": "schema:OfflineEventAttendanceMode"

Sessions that only occur at a physical location. For example, they may occur at a leisure centre, park or gym.

Offline Attendance sessions must have location data, which is stored in the SessionSeries' location field.

Additionally, when searching for Offline Attendance sessions, location search parameter geo[radial] is required.

1.2. Online Attendance (AKA Virtual)

  • Response field (in EventSeries): "eventAttendanceMode": "schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode"

Fully virtual sessions that do not occur at a physical location, but occur virtually. For example, a yoga class with an instructor using a video conference where attendees can view the instructor and the instructor can view the attendees.

Online Attendance sessions may have location data, which is stored in the SessionSeries' location field.

For fully online sessions, location data simply refers to the location that the organisation is affiliated with. Do not advertise that potential attendees visit this location. It is important to make this clear. The reason for including location data for fully virtual sessions is to satisfy use cases where organisations wish to support local activity providers, e.g. a local authority wanting to promote virtual sessions from the local fitness businesses in their constituency over and above other virtual sessions from elsewhere.

Online Attendance sessions may also have virtual location data. This is stored in the ScheduledSession's beta:virtualLocation field. Virtual location data is distinct from (physical) location data as it refers not to a physical place but a virtual place like a URL. In OpenActive, this is defined here.

When searching for Online Attendance sessions and not Offline or Mixed Attendance sessions, location search parameter geo[radial] is optional.

1.3. Mixed Attendance

  • Response field (in EventSeries): "eventAttendanceMode": "schema:MixedEventAttendanceMode"

These are sessions that can be attended at a physical or virtual location.

Mixed Attendance sessions must have location data and may have virtual location data. These are stored in the SessionSeries' location and ScheduledSession's beta:virtualLocation field respectively.

When searching for Mixed Attendance sessions, location search parameter geo[radial] is required.

It is important to consider how the different modes will be communicated to the end user on the front end.

For example, during the Government restrictions, schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode might render something like "Online Video". When the restrictions start to be lifted, think about how sessions withschema:MixedEventAttendanceMode (e.g. "Online video and in-person") andschema:OfflineEventAttendanceMode (e.g. "In-person") will be presented to the end user.

2. Search Modes

Supported Search modes for Searches that may include Virtual Sessions:

  • upcoming-sessions: sessions are sorted by the date and time that they occur. Earlier sessions are shown first and later sessions are shown last.

3. imin:locationSummary

Please note that we will be removing imin:locationSummary from search results where it is empty, i.e. where it includes information about a virtual session, like the following example:

"imin:locationSummary": [
{
"id": "#/imin:locationSummary/bfabc72914160a1478979f235bd484f9e357c023",
"type": "Place",
"name": "LIVESTREAM",
"address": {
"type": "PostalAddress",
"imin:fullAddress": "LIVESTREAM"
},
"geo": {
"type": "GeoCoordinates",
"latitude": 0,
"longitude": 0
}
}
]

With this in mind, it is worth considering the following:

  1. Look at imin:locationSummary in the API results.

  2. If it has at least one item:

    • This will pertain to a physical location, so print locationSummary[0].name.

    • This will display the physical location so people can go to the in-person part of the session if they wish/are allowed to do so.

  3. If it has no items:

    • Print β€œN/A” or β€œOnline Video” or similar to illustrate that it does not have a physical location.

At the moment you might be using "LIVESTREAM", which is included at locationSummary.name(see example above). However, in future, imin:locationSummary will not exist where there is no information related to a physical location. Therefore, we recommend that you do not code against imin:locationSummary where it has no information.

4. Optional Query Parameters - Virtual Sessions

The following query parameters are related to searches made for virtual sessions.

Query params are prefixed with virtual- if they are only meaningful for virtual sessions.

isVirtual

Possible values for the isVirtual parameter are as follows:

  • true: only sessions which occur virtually will be returned. This includes sessions with event attendance mode:

    • schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode; and

    • schema:MixedEventAttendanceMode.

  • false: only sessions which occur physically will be returned. This includes sessions with event attendance mode:

    • schema:OfflineEventAttendanceMode; and

    • schema:MixedEventAttendanceMode.

  • Not specified: where isVirtual is not included in an API call, all three event attendance modes can be returned:

    • schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode;

    • schema:MixedEventAttendanceMode; and

    • schema:OfflineEventAttendanceMode.

The behaviour of the isVirtual parameter is dictated by use of the geo[radial] parameter, as set out below.

geo[radial]

This field is required for non-virtual searches and optional for virtual searches (i.e. where isVirtual=true).

To return all available virtual classes, you must:

  • includeisVirtual=true; and

  • exclude geo[radial].

Virtual sessions have a beta:affiliatedLocation rather than a location field (OpenActive discussion). For Virtual sessions, geo[radial] filters on beta:affiliatedLocation. Use this to, for example, find virtual sessions that are affiliated with your local borough.

Note: if the geo[radial] parameter is included, only those virtual-only sessions that have either a location or a beta:affiliatedLocation will be included in the results.

This is because usinggeo[radial] with isVirtual=true has been designed for those users who specifically want to find virtual classes from β€œlocal” providers. API calls using these parameters will only return a subset of the available virtual classes.

isVirtuallyCoached

Is the coaching pre-recorded or live? This query parameter can also be used for non-virtual sessions (e.g. a spinning class that takes place in a gym with a pre-recorded coach). This is why it is not prefixed with virtual-. Possible values for this parameter include:

  • true: coach is pre-recorded; and

  • false: coach is live.

levelType

For attending virtual sessions, it is especially important to match your own level. This is particularly important for beginners who either want to try something new or have just started. For this, use levelType=imin:BeginnerLevel.

virtualIsInteractivityPreferred

Possible values for this parameter include:

  • true: sessions where the attendee and instructor are advised to interact, e.g. a video conference where all participants can be seen and heard; and

  • false: sessions where the attendee and instructor cannot interact, e.g. a live stream where only the instructor can be seen and heard.

Combine isVirtuallyCoached=false&virtualIsInteractivityPreferred=true to find virtual sessions that are fully interactive between instructor and attendee. In these sessions, attendees can potentially receive live feedback.

virtualUsesParticipantSuppliedEquipment (OpenActive discussion)

Possible values for this query parameter include:

  • true: the attendee must have some home equipment in order to participate properly, e.g. a yoga mat. This includes sessions with beta:participantSuppliedEquipment values:

    • https://openactive.io/Required(oa:Required); and

    • https://openactive.io/Optional(oa:Optional).

  • false: the attendee does not need any home equipment in order to participate, e.g. calisthenics. This includes sessions with beta:participantSuppliedEquipment values:

    • https://openactive.io/Optional; and

    • https://openactive.io/Unavailable(oa:Unavailable).

All of the above query parameters are all optional. Excluding the field means that sessions with any possible value are returned.

5. Response data

A Virtual Session will have the following fields:

EventSeries

  • eventAttendanceMode: (STRING) either:

    • schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode; or

    • schema:MixedEventAttendanceMode.

  • beta:isInteractivityPreferred: (BOOLEAN) is this a session where attendee and instructor can interact?

  • beta:participantSuppliedEquipment: (STRING) does the attendee need to have home equipment in order to participate properly? One of:

    • oa:Required - equipment is required;

    • oa:Optional - equipment is optional, and the participant can improvise; or

    • oa:Unavailable - no equipment required.

SessionSeries

  • location: this field will NOT be included for virtual-only sessions, i.e. whereeventAttendanceModeis schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode.

To ease the transition to including virtual sessions, virtual sessions are going to include a dummy location so that Events API clients do not break. This looks like:

{
  "type": "Place",
  "name": "LIVESTREAM",
  "address": {
    "type": "PostalAddress",
    "imin:fullAddress": "LIVESTREAM"
  },
  "geo": {
    "type": "GeoCoordinates",
    "latitude": 0,
    "longitude": 0
  }
}

This is just a temporary measure. Eventually, virtual sessions will have no location whatsoever, so please account for sessions with no location data.

  • beta:affiliatedLocation: (Place) where the virtual session was physically located before it moved online.

ScheduledSession

  • beta:virtualLocation: (VirtualLocation) where the session is virtually located (e.g. a URL).

  • maximumVirtualAttendeeCapacity: (NUMBER) the maximum number of connections to a shared virtual space.

An example, which only includes the salient data, of a search response that contains virtual sessions:

{
 "@context": ["https://openactive.io/", "https://schema.imin.co/"],
 "type": "imin:RestrictedCollection",
 "id": "https://search.imin.co/events-api/v2/event-series?mode=upcoming-sessions&isVirtual=true",
 "imin:totalItems": 3572,
 "view": {
  "type": "PartialCollectionView",
  "id": "https://search-test.imin.co/events-api/v2/event-series?mode=upcoming-sessions&isVirtual=true&page=1",
  // ..etc
 },
 "imin:item": [
  {
   "type": "EventSeries",
   "name": "Yoga with Franz K",
   "eventAttendanceMode": "schema:OnlineEventAttendanceMode",
   "beta:isInteractivityPreferred": true,
   "beta:participantSuppliedEquipment": "oa:Optional",
   "subEvent": [
    {
     "type": "SessionSeries",
     "beta:affiliatedLocation": {
       "type": "Place",
       "name": "Castle Leisure Centre",
       // ..etc - More Place data
     },
     "subEvent": [
      {
       "type": "ScheduledSession",
       "startDate": "2020-03-23T11:45:00Z",
       "endDate": "2020-03-23T12:45:00Z",
       "beta:virtualLocation": {
        "@type": "VirtualLocation",
        "name": "Zoom Video Chat",
        "url": "https://zoom.us/j/1234567890/signup"
       },
       "maximumVirtualAttendeeCapacity": 30
      },
     ],
     // ..etc - More SessionSeries data
    },
   ],
   // ..etc - More EventSeries data
  },
 // ..etc - More results
 ]
}

6. The API and front end UX

We have been working with activity providers on the information about virtual classes that should be included as standard in the open data. It is recommended that they include the following information at a minimum:

  • Class description;

  • The URL for livestream classes (if available);

  • Organiser name;

  • Organiser website and social media;

  • Price; and

  • Whether any equipment is required and if so, what equipment*.

Therefore, we recommend that your front end platform caters for the presence of this information in the API results.

* NB where beta:participantSuppliedEquipment is oa:Required, providers are being encouraged to provide clarification on what equipment is required in either attendeeInstruction or description (see here for further details).

Call-to-action URLs

Once an end user has found a session they want to attend, they will be presented with a call-to-action button. In the perfect world, this would be a "book now" button, however, in the absence of beta:virtualLocation.url, we advise building against the following (in order of preference):

  1. subEvent[].subEvent[].url (found in the ScheduledSession subEvent object), where it exists;

  2. subEvent[].url (in the SessionsSeries subEvent object), where it exists; or

  3. organiser.url, where it exists.

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