Guest Post: Using Forms in the Higher Ed Industry

Written by Formstack on January 23, 2013

Posted in Case Studies

Katie Savacool is one of our higher education customers. Check out Katie’s personal account of how she uses Formstack to go paperless within her department and synchronize workflow:

I work as the membership coordinator and office manager for the OPERS (Office of Physical Education, Recreation and Sports) at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  My staff and I sell over a thousand membership
packages for our recreational facilities.  My aim is to provide excellent customer service and keep to the policies set forth by UCSC, the Office of the President and the State of California – lots of agencies to keep happy, if you ask me.

The Problem
Our clients, with their busy schedules, wanted to be able to renew their cards online. If I met the requirements set by the university and the state, I knew I could set up a system where UCSC faculty and staff members could renew online and have the fee deducted from their payroll.

I started investigating by talking with other departments at the university. These other departments had full-time IT personnel who were able to dedicate several hours to their online processes. However, our department didn’t have those resources available.

Katie Savacool, UCSC

What was needed, essentially, was a secure digital form that recorded a unique signature downloadable into an Excel format. Additionally, I wanted it to look good and to be user friendly and fresh. In my frustration, I turned to Google.

The Solution
After looking at several programs, I decided to go with Formstack. I liked the appearance and the ability to create different visuals. Formstack met our needs for IT security, the electronic signature, and the user friendly interface. The fact that other colleges in California used the program added to its desirability. Formstack was implemented within a couple of months. I was able to insert the form I created within our web page in less than a month – and in my spare work time.

One of the best things was the feedback that I received from our clients. I had positive reviews, and I have used it ever since. But it doesn’t end there – I have found other purposes for Formstack forms. I try to use technology whenever possible to increase communications and eliminate waste.

Each quarter, my student assistants have to submit their schedules of availability for work. In the past, I used paper. Sometimes it would take half a term to get a written schedule from an employee due to the hectic life of a student. Now, with Formstack, I have students submitting their updated schedules on their cell phones due to Formstack’s mobile-ready forms.  I can download the data and use it to make their work schedules.

Another thing I use Formstack for is collecting timesheet data. I have a “daily duty” checklist for my employees to fill out each shift they work. I have the data sent to my email. It’s helpful for managing a staff that has multiple short shifts during a course of a day. I can track when they come in late, leave early, or miss shifts, and they can leave me notes within the program (using the Long Answer field) about things I need to know.

I’ve also used Formstack for miscellaneous tasks like collecting event survey feedback, emergency contact information with department staff, and creating online quizzes. I’d love to hear from other higher ed users about the way they use Formstack. Any tips left in the comments below would be appreciated!