Friday, November 23, 2012

Sign Up Genius: An Intuitive Online Sign-Up App

Since I took over as the elementary after school activities coordinator, I've wanted to migrate away from paper sign ups and do all information sharing online. I created this website to share information, but I wasn't sure how to do electronic sign-ups. The problem was that at the same time I took over, we also decided to institute "caps" on the activities, so that 20 people, for example, wouldn't sign up for drums when our school only had one drum kit.
...Even though that strategy worked well for Trip Shakespeare*

So any online tool I used had to only allow for a certain amount of sign-ups. This meant that the school's recent push to use Google Docs for everything wouldn't fly here.
Keep trying little one.

I started looking at online survey tools; Survey Monkey, Fluid Surveys, and a few more that I can't recall. Fluid Surveys seemed to have the most potential. Their paid service allowed caps to be set on questions (which they called "advanced quotas"), and they had some nice logic commands so that I could control what grades signed up for certain activities. So I paid the monthly fee, designed the survey and tested it. I didn't work. I emailed them. They told me it was a bug and that they'd fix it eventually. I cancelled my monthly subscription.

I might have gone back to Fluid Surveys this year to see if they'd fix the bug, but our school's IT coordinator told me I might want to try SignUpGenius. I got this tip at around 9:00 at night. By 11:00 I had a perfect sign-up tool for after school activities ready to be rolled out.
A screenshot of my first sign-up 

SignupGenius allows for a maximum number of people to be enrolled in a certain activity. When that number is reached, the activity is grayed-out. I can also set it so that it can only be reached by password. Since I started using it for after school activities  I've started using it for parent conference sign ups as well. I absolutely love it; it does everything that I want it to and it's free.

*When I saw Trip Shakespeare way back in 1991 or 1992, they all migrated to the single drum kit during this song (I think). It's a four person band, so it was fun to watch four people banging out a synchronous rhythm on a single kit. 

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