ParentPaperwork allows you to create a School Form and send it to multiple staff members for completion. An obvious example would asking a group of staff to accept an ICT usage policy.
Create the Form
To create a copy of the Form for multiple staff select the School Form template, and change the drop down ‘This Form is for me’ to ‘No’. Select the names of the Staff who need to complete the form. If there is a file that needs to be attached then click Add Files.
When ready click the Save New Form and a Draft will be created. If all details are correct click the Complete button. A copy of the Form will be created for each of the selected Staff.
Notification to Staff Members
An email notification will be sent to each of the selected Staff members, with a link to their copy of the Form.
Staff Open the Form
When the Staff member clicks their link their copy of the Form will open, with the Form assigned to them.
Staff Edit the Form
The Staff member edits the Form as if they had created it, they click the Edit Form button, enter information into the fields, and click the Save Form button.
Staff Complete the Form
Once the Staff member is happy with the information they have entered they click the Complete button to submit the Form.
Note you can set up additional workflow steps, for example, to send a notification to other Staff on submission, or to request Approval.
Schools are continuing to implement ParentPaperwork’s School Forms module to handle internal paperwork and improve administrative processes, and giving us fantastic feedback. This week we have launched a powerful new feature as part of the Form Template and Workflow system – locking and unlocking fields on sections of a Form as it moves from one User to the next through a workflow.
Take the use case of a Professional Development form, where a staff member wishes to attend a seminar or undertake some other PD. The workflow might be:
- Staff member completes information about the seminar
- Staff member forwards form to Department Head for them to confirm budget line; append notes about requirements for another teacher to cover the absence.
- Department Head forwards form the Deputy Principal for Approval
- Deputy Principal may Approve or Not Approve, and append their own notes.
Thus there are three groups of fields on the form, each which can be managed by a different person on the workflow.
Assign Fields to Groups
Fields on a Form Template can be allocated to a Group. When you edit a Field you will see an option to allocate the Field to a Field Group (if this option does not display please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure this feature is enabled). Group 0 means the field is not allocated to a Group.
If you allocate Fields to a Group this will be displayed in the Form Builder after you Update the Field.
Lock/Unlock Field Groups on Workflow Steps
Once you have Fields allocated to Groups, you can manage those Groups from the Workflow. When you edit a Step on the Workflow you can decided to Lock or Unlock a Field Group. For example in the screenshot below Group 1 is unlocked and thus editable on Step 2, whilst Groups 2 and 3 are Locked and would not be available to be edited by Users on this Step.
The ability to lock and unlock fields offers a powerful way to control a Form as it moves through any number of workflow steps.
A common request from ParentPaperwork schools has a way to organise Slips and Forms into Folders. For quite a while we have had the ‘Current’ and ‘Archived’ folders, which we introduced to give at least the ability to ‘hide’ older records. But it’s become apparent that we needed more than this.
We have now enabled a new Folders system for both Parent Slips and School Forms.
Set up Folders
Click on your user name at the top right and select Settings, then the Slip and Form Folders option.
You can add and edit the Folders as required. You can delete Folders but only if there are no Slips or Forms allocated.
Allocate Slips and Forms to Folders
Once you have created some Folders you can now allocate Parent Slips or School Forms to the Folders. You can allocate multiple records at the same time, click the checkboxes next to the records you wish to allocate
Once you have selected the records click the Action drop down and select ‘Copy/Remove Selected to Folder’, and whether you wish to Copy the records to the Folder, or Remove From the Folder. Select the destination/source Folder and click the Go button.
The records will be allocated to the Folder (or removed). You can view the records in the Folder by selecting it from the drop down list and clicking the search button.
Records can be in multiple Folders at the same time.
The Current and Archived folders remain separate, so a record is either in the Current or Archived Folders, AND maybe in one or more Folders you have created.
Today we have added date fields to our online slips and forms, expanding the list of available field types.
These new date fields are designed to capture a specific date – day, month and year. They are going to be useful for all manner of information, excursion dates for a permission slip, a student’s date of birth, the dates a staff member wishes to take a vacation.
The Form Builder now has 10 date fields available for each of the School and Parent sections on the form templates. As with other field types, just drag a field over from the list of available fields on the left hand side.
When a Slip or Form is created from the template, the user can select a date using the pop up date picker.
When a parent is filling out a form they also can use the picker to select a date. You can have multiple date fields on the same template.
We’re rolling out a number of improvements to our online forms over the next week or so, and first up is the ability for someone to Not Approve a Parent Slip or School Form.
Our schools already make great use of the form workflows, especially to ensure that the appropriate staff members have approved a form before it is distributed or moves to the next step.
For example, perhaps the Business Manager needs to approve an excursion permission slip before it is sent to parents; or the HR Manager needs to approve a staff member’s leave request.
It’s become obvious to us that not everything is going to be approved the first time; up until now we’ve generally recommended this be an offline process – the approver might contact the requester outside of ParentPaperwork to advise that something about the form needs to be altered.
But now this can happen on the workflow within ParentPaperwork. Whenever a User is asked to Approve something there is now also a button to Not Approve.
Clicking the Not Approve button opens a window where the Approver can enter a comment or feedback about the reasons for not approving the form.
When the Go button is clicked the form is sent back to the person on the Send for Approval step, and new Send for Approval and Approve steps are displayed, along with the comment. The status of the form is changed to Not Approved.
An email notification is sent to the person on the Send for Approval step advising them they need to take action, the email also includes the comment.
This cycle of Send for Approval/Not Approve can loop endlessly until the Approver is satisified and clicks the Approve button.
We’ve released two great improvements to the form workflows in ParentPaperwork:
- Select User on Workflow
- Autocomplete of Workflow Steps
Select User on Workflow
Until now multiple Users could be selected on an Approval workflow step, when the workflow step ‘Send for Approval’ was actioned all those Users would receive a notification, and any of them could then take the Approve action.
This feature allows an option to be set when configuring the workflow to say that the User taking the Send for Approval action must nominate one of those Users to take the Approve action.
When editing a Workflow Step for an Approve Step, there is a new drop down option to ‘Choose from one selected User’.
When a Slip is moved through the Workflow, the User who actions the ‘Send for Approval’ step will be prompted to nominate one of the group of Users allocated to the Approve Step.
Autocomplete of Workflow Steps
We have tweaked the workflow system to auto complete steps under two circumstances to make usage more intuitive.
- After an Approve step is actioned where the next step is a Send for Approval, the Send for Approval will auto complete. Deals with workflows with multiple approvals and means the person actioning the first Approve step then doesn’t have to manually action the next Send for Approval step
- After the Approve step is actioned where the next step is Queue to Send, the Queue to Send step will auto complete. This means if the person approving doesn’t realise they need to take an action again to Queue the Slip, the job is done for them.
Note: Auto-complete will not fire on a Send from Approval step after an Approve step if a User needs to be selected for the next Approve step – otherwise there’s no opportunity for that User to be selected.
Read about more features: Annual student record keeping just got smarter
Photo: Lucélia Ribeiro
We’ve had a bunch of feedback recently from schools piloting our new School Forms module about User permissions. One request has been the ability to split a User’s read only/edit permissions between Parent Slips and School Forms.
For example, you might have a staff member who only needs View Only Permission for Parent Slips, to generate reports and search for parent Responses. But as a member of staff they need to be able to add and edit School Forms.
We’ve now split the permission, so it can be set separately. To edit a user click your User name at the top right, then Settings > Users. There are now two fields:
- Parent Slips User Permission
- School Forms User Permission
The ‘Only these Student Lists’ option remains in force for Parent Slips, and the ‘Only the User’s Slips/Forms’ remains active both for Parent Slips and School Forms.