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Collecting Data via Online Forms

April 15, 2020

We’ve made several improvements to the Online Forms app in recent months. In this article, we wanted to highlight the different ways you can give parents (or students) access to online forms in QuickSchools, in order to submit data that you’re collecting for the schools.

The methods to be discussed are as follows:

  • Portal Access (recommended for existing parents/students)
  • Public URL
    • Non-authenticated users
    • Inviting Applicants
  • HTML code snippet (i.e. Embed Code)

The access configuration elements are located near the top of the screen, right below the “Instructions” field:

Configuring Access to Online Forms

Don’t forget that the Online Form Packet needs to be “Published” in order for access to be enabled. Once published, you should see a green check mark on the top of the screen, with a button to “Unpublish”:

Published Online Form Packet

Portal Access

The first access element is “Show this form to:”, where you can select specific teachers / staff, and/or “All Parents” and/or “All Students”. This option is the recommended option for existing users, since each submission will be directly linked to the user. When used in conjunction with “One From Per Child (OFPC)” (article coming soon), student-related fields in the form packet that are mapped to system fields are automatically filled when the applicant accesses the form. Applicants can then change the values if needed before submitting.

Public URL

In order to process data from new users, the Public URL is the most straightforward approach. This would essentially create a dedicated page on QuickSchools for processing submissions. You would then provide the link to users, either via your website, or via email.

Non-Authenticated Users

Since users accessing the Public URL are not logged into QuickSchools, users will typically need to submit the entire form packet in a single session (i.e. in one go). But there is an option in the Online Forms app for non-authenticated users to save their submission, and come back to it later, via a uniquely assigned Reference Number.

Allow applicants to retrieve a previously saved form
Retrieve previous submission via Email and Reference Number

Details for this feature is described in a separate article (link below):

https://blog.quickschools.com/2018/07/09/online-forms-saving-your-submission/

Inviting Applicants

If receiving random unverified submissions is a concern, you can use the non-authenticated users function to lock down new public submissions, and only allow specific users access to continue filling in forms. The flow would go as follows:

  • If a random unverified user attempts to access the Public URL, they will not be able to start a new submission. They can only continue an existing submission via a Reference Number.
  • The applicant would then contact the school to get a Reference Number, either in person, or over the phone, or even via email.
    • During this time, the school will verify the applicant’s eligibility (based on address, or financial support, etc).
  • If eligible, school will manually create a submission for the applicant, which will generate a Reference Number.
    • The Reference Number can be communicated to the applicant in person or over the phone.
    • You can also use an Email Template to send the generated reference number to the applicant.
  • The user can then use the Reference Number to access his/her submission via the Public URL.

This flow is mainly for public schools, where students need to be assessed for eligibility based on their home address. But this can also be extended to private schools where eligibility needs to be assessed prior to submission. 

Manually create a submission via the “Submissions” screen.

If you receive submissions from an external source, and you want to collect additional information via the Online Forms app, you can import new submissions via Excel, and then send out invitations via email, so that applicants can fill in any remaining info about their application. This process will be detailed in a separate article soon. 

HTML code snippet

The final option for configuring access is to use the HTML code snippet. So instead of providing a link to applicants, you can embed the online form packet directly on your website. This provides a more seamless experience for visitors to your website, since they don’t have to leave your website in order to fill in the form.

As schools prepare for the upcoming school year, we’ll be posting more articles about the Online Forms app, and how it can be used to collect student data in preparation for the new school year. Please feel free to leave a comment, or chat with questions.

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