Published on December 19th, 2008 | by Chris1
User Profile:Victor Valley College
Often times we talk about Formstack being used by small businesses and nonprofits, but there is also a strong number of educational institutions (Colleges, School Corps, Athletic organizations, etc.) that are using our form builder and using it in many unique ways.
Victor Valley College is one of those educational organizations. Victor Valley College is a 2 year higher educational institution located in California, they are using Formstack throughout all aspects of their school. I had the fortune of hearing how they are using the product from Justin Gatewood, take a read below and hopefully their uses may conjure up some ideas on how your organization can use Formstack.
Organization:Victor Valley College
FS: Tell us a little bit about your organization:
We are a 2-year degree-granting (Associates Degrees), accredited higher education institution in Southern California. Our primary target market(s) is/are the local high school graduates (the bulk of our full-time students), and then the entire community. We are different than the traditional 4-year institution because our enrollment fees are dramatically lower ($400+/unit at the 4-year level – $20/unit at our level), yet our units are FULLY transferable to the 4-year state universities, AND we offer vocational training and non-credit, fee-based special interest classes in addition to the full credit courses.
FS: How did you hear about Formstack?
I did a web search for form processing stuff on Google.
FS: How do you currently use Formstack?
We use Formstack as follows:
- Class schedule request forms
- Student newspaper requests
- Student/tutor referrals
- Online Writing Tutor submissions/student receives email help back from a live person about their research paper
- Technology training evaluations
- Online class registration (using SSL so that they can submit their Credit Card info. to pay for the classes)
- Football team/program feedback
- Prospective athlete submission forms
- Request forms for our online Work Order processing system
- Monthly award nomination (All area schools can submit a teacher “hero” for an award program started by one of our Academic Deans)
- Student Survey
- Online orientation form (Tied to a video where students can watch an online video and submit a form which has allowed the instructor to reduce the amount of “in-person” orientations to almost none)
- Student organization and club membership signup
- Password sign up for online library research databases
- RSVP’s for registrations to limited attendance events
- Anonymous campus Health and Safety concern form
FS: Any other ways you might use it?
We are preparing to use it for new employees in our district as a resource for requesting user accounts and password to most of our online/networked systems (password protected online form). Also with the new logic that has been added recently, we’re planning on setting up an “online general interest” form, where a prospective student or member of the public simply fills out the online form, based on their interests, and then, based on their selections, the form data is automatically routed to that area expert for a response (still planning this out, but it should be very helpful)
FS: How has Formstack solved a business/organizational issue?
Formstack has solved two major issues for us.
- Our web server (at the time, a FreeBSD Linux, version 4.3 STABLE build running Apache/Tomcat) had failed a security vulnerability audit which was commissioned by our statewide Chancellor’s Office, so I began looking for ways to “close the security holes”, and, by migrating to an off-site form processing system like Formstack, VOILA!, one problem was solved.
- The ability to share the data with other groups at the college (through the “Share Data” URL feature) is invaluable. No more building reports from form data in Microsoft Excel or Word, I can just email them the URL for that form’s “Share Data” function, and they can do the rest themselves (without compromising the security or functionality of either the online form or the submitted data).
FS: What do you like best about the product?
Everything. I have yet to find something I didn’t like, and you keep adding more features to how I can manipulate and collect data, so, thank you very much!
FS: What features do you find most helpful?
The visual form builder is so easy. You don’t have to know ANYTHING (I mean it, not a thing) to use it. I’ve been building CGI forms since 1995-96, so I’m fairly familiar with how to do that, but after seeing your interface, forget that! I’m only using your form builder from now on.
FS: What improvements to Formstack would you like to see?
The improvements that I wanted for the past year or so (and had posted about on the forums) have already been included in your wonderful product, so, I’ll have to give that some more thought.
FS: Any specific features you would like to see?
I would like to have the ability to automatically attach a file (that I have previously uploaded), and include it with the confirmation email message (for those online forms where a user is requesting a specific document). This would be equally helpful if logic could be added to this feature (so you could have a list of files, for example, in my case, a list of documents from our Admissions Office), and a site visitor could fill in an online form, select a specific document from a drop-down list, check box list, etc., and, based on that selection, the confirmation message that they would receive would have that document (which was previously uploaded and associated with that selection) as a file attachment.
FS: Any other tips/tricks/words of wisdom you would like to share with others users/readers?
Use it, use it, use it. The more you use it, the more you’ll grow to love the interface, the ease of form building and embedding the scripts on your own website so that the form “melts” into your design seamlessly. Use the re-direct URLs and the confirmation email messages (invaluable and very professional) to interact with the submitters.