There are a number of campus-based problems and processes that can be solved or made more efficient through the use of software. In 2017, Roompact released its Forms feature with a goal of helping ease some of these “pain points” on campus. Since then, our system has been used to file hundreds of thousands of submissions. Forms has rapidly grown into Roompact’s most popular feature, with nearly every single one of our partner institutions using the custom forms they create in Roompact to replace other processes. The cumulative use of Roompact Forms during this school year alone has saved over a million sheets of paper (that’s 2,000 of the standard printer paper reams you see at the store).
Since our launch, we’ve learned a lot from our campus partners and we constantly review this information to improve our software. The Forms feature, specifically, receives regular updates, often inspired by user feedback. Our development team utilizes this feedback to improve and optimize every aspect of Forms, enhancing the user experience as well as adding functionality. And since we’re cloud-based software, we’re able to incrementally add these improvements to our software on a regular basis.
So how can Forms help you? What new features have we recently added and how do they work? In this post we will cover five ways Roompact Forms can help you solve some of your campus problems and be more efficient in your work.
1. All of Your Data, At-A-Glance, and Downloadable for Further Analysis
Many departments are swimming in data without a systematic way of organizing that data and using it for improvement. Complicating this is the use of many disparate systems, with different levels of access, resulting in data that can be splintered across a number of different people and programs. Centralizing all of your forms and information gathering processes through the Roompact software can help.
The default view for viewing form submissions is referred to as the Summary page. This view provides basic information about each form submission in tabular format: author, form name, form type, and submission date.
The Summary page will usually serve as a starting point for finding additional data, whether it be using the filters to track activity for a single resident advisor, finding all submissions from staff in a particular building, or searching for a specific form submission. Clicking on a one of the rows in this mode will bring you to the individual submission view.
However, sometimes it is useful to see submission content in aggregate. This is also very easy to do in Forms. Clicking the dropdown at the left of each row in this view brings up an option called “Review Submissions,” which will take you to “Review Mode.”
In Review Mode, you have access to all of the submission data for a particular form template, including the contents of each field. The filter options in this view are similar to those of Summary page. If you are looking for a specific word or name mentioned in a duty report, or if you want to quickly review incidents within a specific time range, the filter options can help. There is also a download button that will allow you to export the data on your screen as a CSV. This can be helpful if you want to further analyze or run statistical tests on your data.
Did you make changes to your form templates after staff started submitting them? No problem. Roompact keeps historical records of how your templates change over time. If a form template has been edited, you can use the “older” and “newer” buttons near the top of the page to view submissions from one of the other template revisions.
2. Receive the Information You Need When and How You want It
We known higher education professionals receive a lot of email. Being able to manage one’s email notifications and customize them to individual needs and preferences is critical. Using the Forms feature, you can configure finely tuned subscriptions whenever a form is filed. For example, you may want to receive duty reports from your students staff members in real time, or you may want to receive program submissions summaries once a week.
You can create subscriptions for a particular form template by using the “Subscriptions” option in the “Options” dropdown on the Template Management page.
When creating subscriptions, you have control of the following parameters:
- Who will be notified when the form is submitted (any staff member with a Roompact user account or a specific email address)
- How frequently notifications are sent (live, 3 hour, daily, or weekly digests)
- Which buildings or floors the subscription should be limited to
3. Follow and Review Your “Paperless-Trails” and History
Keeping accurate records and histories is a critical component of residential education work. Sometimes you need to know who filed a form, what they filed it, and track any revisions or changes to that submitted data over time. When researching student conduct issues, this ability can be especially critical. The Roompact software was designed to record and maintain these “paperless trails.”
Within the Forms feature, when a submission is edited, its previous revisions can still be viewed using the Audit feature. Anyone who has permission to view a form submission can see all of its previous revisions. To use this functionality:
- Navigate to an individual form submission
- Click the “History” button under the title of the submission (only submissions that have been revised will have this button)
- Click the “Filed by” and “Edited by” entries in the history list to switch to that particular revision of the form submission.
When viewing an old revision of a submission, the purple “Auditing” badge will appear in the top right corner of the submission.
4. Design Beautiful, Easy-To-Navigate Interfaces
Residential education professionals seem to have a love affair with beautifully organized and color-coded files and binders. When designing the Forms feature, our software engineers took this love to heart to ensure campus users could control various aspects of the way information is displayed and organized throughout the system. From styling text, to color-coding categories, Roompact users have a number of different ways of presenting their forms and data.
When designing a Form Template, you may want to format your text to make it easier for users to read. Within the Forms feature, you have access to a number of different rich text formatting options. Doing so involves a few simple codes you can use to format your form questions and descriptions. The table below shows you how to do this.
(Note that you can also combine these formatting rules (e.g. put a hyperlink into a list). Each formatting rule will take effect immediately after you click out of the description box you are editing.)
Over time, the number of form templates you may create can grow significantly. Keeping these organized and easily discoverable becomes increasingly critical. To solve this, Form categories can be used to create groups of related forms. Categories are visible on both the Manage Templates and File Form pages. One feature that can make form categories even more useful is to set an icon and a color for each of your form categories. You can set each of these for a particular category by clicking the “Set Icon” option in the “Category Options” dropdown on the Manage Templates page.
One other place that the category color is visible is on the Summary page. Each submission’s form name will be the color of its category, making it easier to differentiate between form submissions and being able to see which types of submissions are visible at a glance.
5. Control Access to Your Information
Because residence life professionals frequently handle sensitive information, maintaining control and access over processes and data is mission critical work. There are a number of ways the Roompact software controls access and gives administrators and power users tools for managing this access on their campuses. Within Forms, access levels determine what a user is able to see as well as what they can submit. We also took this a step further by allowing Forms to be be deployed and withdrawn at any time.
Within the Forms feature, you can disable a form in order to prevent it being used for submissions. A disabled form will not appear on the File Form page for anyone. Any existing submissions to that form will still be visible. You can enable a disabled form at any time and it will become available for new submissions again.
When a form is disabled, a lock icon will appear next to the form on the Manage Templates page. The lock icon will also appear on the Summary page next to the form name in any existing submissions to that form.
The software development team at Roompact has spent countless hours designing and enhancing features that can help higher education professionals do their jobs better and more efficiently. As one of our most-used features, Forms has been designed based on feedback from many campus partners making it an ever more sophisticated tool. We’re not done with it, either. In fact, our work is never done. If you have ideas or suggestions for future features, or if you have a campus problem or issue you’re unsure of how to solve, reach out to us and let’s dialog. Who knows, maybe the next feature update we push out will be yours.