Electronic Efficiency: Online service log replaces thousands of handwritten forms

Isabelle Allen, Photo Editor

Many students who participate in community service are familiar with the old-fashioned, pen-and-paper method for turning in volunteer hours.
But, in the last five months, that process has changed.
Community Service Sponsor Kristoffer Barikmo said entering more than 3,000 forms over the course of last year was plenty of work for only one teacher to do in his spare time. To make the task a little easier, a new method was introduced to Blue Valley.
“Blue Valley Southwest [made the changes] last year,” Barikmo said. “They were the leaders in creating the system, and [last] spring, we jumped on board and made that our system for submitting hours for community service starting May 19.”
Barikmo said the community service directors across the district decided a new online method would be more efficient for logging community service hours.
“Now, essentially, all of the information is still the same, but everything is submitted online,” Barikmo said. “It goes into a general database that makes it easier for us to transfer over to transcripts.”
The community service form can be found on the BVHS website’s homepage.
Students still need to have supervisors’ signatures to turn in along with the online form.
Since the change, Barikmo said he has found the new method to be more beneficial for students who are active in community service.
“You can sit down at your computer instead of having to [handwrite] all of these forms,” Barikmo said. “You can just keep a record of it and keep it in the database.”
Not only has the new method been easier for students, but it is also less time-consuming for the community service directors across the district to log and track hours, Barikmo said.
“It is more efficient for me because it puts the work of the data entry on the shoulders of the students,” Barikmo said. “Now, instead of the students filling out the sheet of paper, they are typing in all the information, which saves a lot of work on my end.”
This year will be the transition period for the online forms, but Barikmo said he expects to use only the new system in the future.
“We will only accept the paper forms until the end of September,” Barikmo said. “If [students] give me a form past then, it will be returned to them, and they will be asked to fill out the online form instead.”
Sophomore Alex Roberts said she prefers the online method.
“I think the change to online is simpler, especially for students to log their hours and be sure they are accounted for,” she said.