Forms: Overview

In Sakai, forms are online structures that allow you to collect and store data. They are the electronic counterparts of paper forms, such as those you fill out to submit applications, complete surveys, and so forth. A screen shows an example of a form in Sakai.

Each form consists of a name, instructions to the user, a set of text fields or boxes, and field names. Both the instructions and the field names guide participants in completing the form appropriately.

In Sakai, forms allow you to collect and store information for use in wizards, matrices, and portfolios. These forms can serve a variety of purposes. For example, you may use forms to collect routine information, such as contact information and educational or work history. You may also use forms to prompt users to document their learning or document work they have completed. Other forms may be designed to guide users in documenting the details of a teaching experience, restating a particular learning outcome in their own words, and reflecting upon an internship experience. Still other forms can be used to collect feedback on the user's work.

In wizards and matrices, you can present different forms to each different user who needs to provide input to the wizard or matrix.

Within a particular wizard, matrix, or portfolio, you may specify that some forms can be used only once. You may also specify that a form need not be completed at all if it is not appropriate.

Other forms can and should be used repeatedly to collect multiple versions of the same type of data. So, a student may complete and save a contact information form many times to capture information about his or her home, work, school, summer residence, parents, study abroad and/or research locations. When working with portfolios, the student can include any or all of these versions of the completed form in one or more portfolios and/or one or more versions of a specific portfolio.

The instructions, fields, and field names in forms vary, depending on the information the form is designed to collect. Fields may also be as small or large (up to 4,000 characters) as the creator of the form deems necessary.

Forms can contain many types of fields. The different field types are shown in this table.

Field Type Examples
Text First Name, Street Address, Insights Gained, Feedback
Date Birth Date, Date of Certification, Creation Date
Integer Current Age, Social Security Number, Years at Current Address
Decimal GPA, mathematical results
Complex (multiple entries allowed) Phone Number(s), Email Address(es), Skill(s), Accomplishment(s), Hypothesis(es)

Forms may be published globally (that is, for use in all sites in this CLE instance) or locally (that is, for use in one site only). Most forms are created for one or more specific sites. However, if you create a form that has general applicability, you may recommend that it be published globally. Only a system administrator can publish a form globally (in response to your recommendation).

Any form included in a portfolio template may display all fields from the form or only some fields from the form. The same form (and some or all of its fields) may be used in multiple portfolio templates, wizards, and matrices.