Streamlining and simplifying the form filling process to pull from databases
Until recently, different student services offices on the University of Arizona campus used their own custom forms to collect information from students about themselves. These ranged from paper forms that needed to be delivered in person to online PDFs.
Beginning this year, the Office of the Registrar, and now the UAccess Student and UAccess Employee teams in the Division of the CIO, began adopting Gideon Taylor eForms to streamline and standardize forms within their respective systems.
The Gideon Taylor eForms software is a form and workflow program that integrates into the existing PeopleSoft software used in UAccess Student. Once users authenticate who they are, all of their relevant information—such as name and email address—automatically pre-populates the form, avoiding the need for the user to fill out this information each time. For UAccess Student, where students can access record registration, transcripts, and schedules, forms can now be embedded directly into the Student Center.
Over the last several months, the UAccess Student team has been installing the Gideon Taylor framework along with upgrading the software for the Modern Student Center (MSC). This process also implemented Skuid Themer—a companion product that works in tandem with Gideon Taylor eForms to host UArizona branding and design within the MSC.
The initial licensing of Gideon Taylor began earlier this year with the Office of the Registrar, who acquired the original funding through the Provost’s Investment Fund. Both teams spent a few months training their analysts to use the software and taking an inventory of forms to potentially overhaul into the new software.
This fall, the UAccess Student team partnered with the Registrar to work on the first batch of 80 forms to update and integrate into the new system.
“There's a lot of flexibility in how we use the Gideon Taylor product,” said Natalie Shue, Project Lead for UAccess Student. “There's a lot of behind-the-scenes logic things that we can configure, which is really interesting and much more customizable than a PDF. We can constantly update and improve it as we learn more about it, so that has been really exciting!”
The team has several projects moving into production, such as the Dean of Students Emergency Funding Request form. Emergency one-time funds are in place to help students financially to pay for rent, books, or tuition. The new, timesaving form the team is creating helps smooth the process of application.
“It allows the Dean of Students to verify all of the necessary information,” explained Shue. “It makes reporting for them a lot easier because we're able to pull that data out for queries and push it into analytics for the foundation to be able to query on for that funding. They have like a specific amount of money per semester, approving what they can until they run out funds. Then they will simply turn off the form.”
As a pilot and proof of concept for using the new Gideon Taylor Software, the UAccess Employee team focused their attention on developing forms for two UACares campaigns this November. “The UACares campaign was a great opportunity to use this new functionality,” remarked Teddy Lopez, Manager of Enterprise Applications for UAccess Employee. “By the time we were trained and had everything installed, UACares floated to the top of our list to develop.”
The UAccess Employee team is continuing to investigate future possibilities to incorporate Gideon Taylor into their applications. Potential new projects may include updating the Family Medical Leave (FML) and the Employee Recognition Award forms. “A lot of our team worked hard to get these forms out,” said Lopez. “The work we’re going to be doing with HR, Benefits, and FSO is really exciting!”