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Showing posts from March, 2013

Testing Kissflow To Create an Approval Process

I was really impressed with Kissflow ( which integrates with Google Apps ), a tool for running processes.  I'm working with lots of departments at the moment that are doing, or trying to improve their processes using Google Spreadsheets but this may offer a more complete solution.
It works like this....
First you design a form as if it was one big form for the entire process, with different sections. 


Next, you create a diagram of your workflow that can contain, approval requests, requests for more information, and queries. You can also create parallel processes and I liked the way you can create sub-process blocks.
At each stage you add the people who need to complete it.
The next step is to then sort of define who needs to see which bits of information at which stage.


 And finally you publish and initiate your process.

I have created one to request to create a new programme. It basically goes,

Create a requestGet approval to go aheadCheck fundingBroader consultationFinal Sign of…

Using Google Plus To Share Research Funding Opportunities

Matthew Collins sent me an email recently about using Google+ Communities to share research funding opportunities and news within his department.

What I find fascinating and useful to the rest of the university is that Matthew and the team in Archaeology are actively exploring other tools to do things ( like sharing tidbits of useful news ) out of email. That is to say, to say, "let's not use email anymore for this activity, let's use this new thing instead".  Quite often this can have some useful effects:


People get less emailPeople are happier to contribute to the new thing because they know that their creating content won't be a burden on other peoples' email in traysThe new thing has features that email doesn't that are really handy ( like being able to share all the posts with the new member of the team ).A different model of consumption happens. Because we're finding lots of people turn off Google+ notifications which generate email AND they use …

Improving Ethics Approval in Research With Google Forms and Spreadsheets

I have just met with a colleague who is using Google Forms to improve the Ethics Approval process for research projects. They are taking a slightly different path to the one I might have plumped for, and are creating, on-the-fly Google Documents, filling in the appropriate sections and then sending them to people to add comments to etc.

We thought he may have worked himself into a corner because although there is a function to capture when people submit a form ( onFormSubmit() ), there isn't one to capture if you "allow the user to edit responses" - there's no onFormUpdate().

We created a workaround by having a time-based trigger that just checks to see if the updated_timestamp is greater than the last_checked_timestamp.

The best part, for me, of working with my colleague was when I referred at some point to my JavaScript skills being far from honed and he asked "So is this JavaScript then?" and laughed incredulously. He was happily coding away without even…