Many of our customers in Form Workflow Plus are admins or coordinators in schools or universities, and the most common approval workflows have to do with organizing students and teachers. Some literal “old schools” still use paper forms, but the modern school has gone paperless, using online tools and applications to manage the most basic processes.
In this blog post, we demonstrate how to use Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Form Workflow Plus for organizing a field trip to help you get started with your own process planning.
Organizing the student body
No matter what level, whether it’s kindergarten or school or college, the ratio of students to teachers is usually many dozens to one.
Organizing students can be challenging when there are between tens to hundreds of students per class, and even more so when taking them outside of school grounds, where you not only need to figure out who’s going or not to figure out the headcount and resources you need to book such as admission tickets and buses, but also secure waivers from parents if they are underaged, and collect any payments for additional fees required for expenses not shouldered by the school.
At the end of the day, it ends up that there is one person in charge of overseeing and coordinating everything. This is not only a humongous responsibility, but also one where you cannot afford to make mistakes.
How to begin organizing the trip
First, decide what information you need in order to organize the trip and get things done. As a coordinator, you may need to find out at a high level:
- How many people want to go to the field trip so that you can book the right number of admission tickets you need to book (if any) or how many buses you need to take the students to the field trip destination.
- The ages of the students going on the field trip to secure liability waivers from parents and guardians, and/or add parents who will accompany students so that you can add them to the resources you need. (This is easier with elementary students and more complex at the high school level where you get a mix of minor and adult ages per class.)
- How many attendees have actually paid the appropriate fees for the field trip so that you can follow up on anyone who hasn’t paid yet or exclude them from the final headcount after the deadline has passed.
- Miscellaneous information that is important to key stakeholders like the principal, the PTA, concerned parents, bus operators, the management at the venue of the field trip, etc. If your school doesn’t yet have a procedure for field trips, it’s important to keep in touch with and be able to assure transparency with all parties involved.
Second, break down what you need in steps to make it easier for everyone to coordinate with each other:
- Teachers can coordinate per classroom or section the number of students attending, their ages, waivers required, and any accompanying parents
- OIC for payments (this can be another representative per class, a department head, or a faculty leader per year level, depending on what the school’s organizational structure is like) can approve final headcount after confirming payment for field trip fees
- Coordinator can base the booking of resources and finalize the itinerary based on the final headcount, which will then be shared back with the school heads and teachers
How to set up the field trip with Form Workflow Plus
The best way to accomplish this in Form Workflow Plus is to create a Google Form form to collect responses, and then set up a workflow with at least two steps of approvals.
REQUEST FORM: The Google Form must request information such as Name, Grade/Year Level, Class Name, Homeroom Teacher, etc. For fields that will require filtering later on (such as by class), we recommend setting up the answers as a drop-down menu or multiple choice rather than free text forms to avoid typos and mistakes.
(On Form Workflow Plus, click Add-Ons > Form Workflow Plus > Start > Create and then Edit Form. You can then edit the default form with the questions you want, such as below.)
STEP 1: The workflow creator would ideally set up multiple conditions, one for each class, so that the approver for each class would go to the specific homeroom teacher assigned to it.
Teachers are the first line of approval and they can cross-reference their class lists and note the information and consents prior to sending the approval to the next level.
STEP 2: The workflow creator can set this up in two ways: either set up specific approvers per class again, or the same approvers for all second level approvals (this can be the principal or an accountant/finance manager or an administrator). They would then look after whether the field trip attendees have paid up prior to approving.
In this example, we’ll set up the approvers per Year Level Head, who will check if everyone attending has paid up or not.
The workflow creator can then set up the coordinator/administrator to be CC’ed upon final approval, OR set up an optional third approval step for the coordinator to approve once actions have been taken.
OPTIONAL: STEP 3 and Onwards. You can set up as many conditions and filters and approval steps as you like, based on the question fields and conditions you set.
Form Workflow Plus allows different user roles to make workflow management easy. If the coordinator/administrator is also the workflow creator or has been set up as an admin or owner, they can also oversee the requests at every step of the way without needing to set up a third step with the admin/coordinator as an approver, unless it is required as a formality. You can do this via the web app by clicking on “Manage Workflows” at the bottom of the add-on or logging in directly from your browser at //app.formworkflowplus.com.
More power to the people
Fortunately, now that everything can be done online, virtually anyone can create an approval workflow. Form Workflow Plus makes it easier for those who work for schools by empowering anyone at any level to set up an approval process for their needs, with multiple steps and multiple conditions for each step, and be fully transparent to all users.
Try Form Workflow Plus now, or schedule a demo with us.
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