We have all experienced this before: Someone emails or asks you about a piece of paper, such as an application for a workshop, that they had given you weeks ago, and suddenly your mind goes blank. Did I really get that paper? What did I do with it? I’m pretty sure that I put it in its appropriate file, but what if I didn’t? This is when I start to panic, until I can get to my desk and flip through my files. I always find whatever I am looking for, but I could do without the panic attack. The logical solution? Put these forms online, which is what COSEE-West did this year with our applications for our summer workshops.
Since one half of COSEE-West is headquartered at the University of Southern California (USC), we can take advantage of the many site licenses that the University purchases. One of these is a license for a powerful online survey tool, Qualtrics. You do need to pay for the full version of this software, but once you have an account a world of survey options opens up before you. And although Qualtrics is geared toward surveys and analyzing the data gleaned from such studies, the user can modify the questions that are asked, allowing you to create registration applications.
These surveys and applications can be distributed widely, such as on a website or via a mailing list (and yes, they can be password-protected), or they can be selectively sent out to whomever you choose. All of the responses are recorded and tagged with individual identifying numbers; they can be exported to statistical software such as SPSS; and they can be converted into PDFs or Excel, PowerPoint or Word documents. Overall, we are pretty happy with this tool at COSEE-West, and I no longer have applications floating around my filing cabinet.
Contributed by Jane Lee