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Everything Dumb About Scoutbook (And How to Fix It)

Not all scouts bsa members are boys

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Scoutbook allows you to identify Scouts in leadership positions. Their positions are listed on the Troop Roster / Patrol Roster pages.

You can also use Print Roster / Roster Builder to create a report of Scouts and their leadership positions. Under “Settings” select:

  • “Show Scouts With Options Below”
  • “Show Positions With Options Below”
  • select additional options as desired

The information comes from the Scout’s Leadership logs.

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@JenniferSorbello I share your appreciation for ScoutTrack’s “grid view” that allows den leaders to view and update an entire den’s advancements on one page. Asking den leaders to drill down into individual scout profiles, or having them generate a report to see a den’s progress, seems like a step backwards.

Came here for the obligatory “not very courteous or kind!” comments. Was not disappointed.

This is a good conversation that needs to be had. I’m glad @BradMirakian got it started.

We’re being told that THIS is the tool we have to use for advancement, and my Troop is currently migrating from TroopWebHost, so we aren’t bouncing between two different systems and doing twice the work. But that’s hard to do when 3rd party software like TWH is just so good. It has all the options and just WORKS.

I’d like to see more transparency in the feature request and bug reporting processes. Or at least some expectation management. There used to be an IT roadmap with Scoutbook ‘way ahead’ information. That website hasn’t been updated in almost 2 years. What happened there? I understand attention and funds have to be realigned to more pressing issues in other departments, but it’d be nice to get some more specific feedback.

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By far our #1 use of computers in Scouting is for e-mail.

There are roughly three kinds of e-mail that are interesting:

  1. Announcements - one person to many.
  2. Discussions - many to many.
  3. Personal - one to one (or, with youth involved, typically one-to-two).

Scoutbook seems to cover (1) but not (2) or (3). That’s a total killer for us adopting it as our one-and-only online service.

And note: I did say “e-mail”, not “forum”. I want to send and receive messages through my normal e-mail client, using my normal e-mail address. I do not want to have to go to some web page to send and receive my e-mail.

I’m OK with personal addresses being exposed - that kind of thing can’t reasonably be kept secret - but extra points if they aren’t, if mail sent through the “troop hub” gets transmogrified into First.Last@.

And extra points if the @ is our troop’s domain. It would be OK if that’s our existing domain, or if there was a convention for giving troops scouting.org domains.

Our #2 use is calendaring.

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I just want to know why BSA released two different advancement tracking tools (Scoutbook and Internet Advancement 2) at the same time. It doesn’t make sense.

Get rid of IA2.

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@JordanBrown1 - IA2 and scoutbook were not released at the same time. At any rate, IA2 exists for units that do not use a tracking system for advancement, those that use systems and finally becuase the system that was Internet Advancement needed to be retired. Bit by bit, scoutnet itself will be retired. This is as I understand the process and thought behind the release.

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IA2 was released approximately June 2019. Scoutbook went “free” in January 2019. That’s pretty close to the same time.

Sure, IA needed to be retired. But they’d already acquired and integrated Scoutbook when IA2 was released. Even if they had IA2 in development when they integrated Scoutbook, the right thing to do would have been to kill it before release. Now they have two overlapping systems and feel the need to warn people not to try to use both of them.

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For #2, I don’t think that is a gear symbol on the Administration section. When I zoom in, it looks like it’s intended to be a compass rose. Since that section is meant to guide you to your profile or your unit’s page, a compass rose seems like a valid symbol. It may make more renaming “Administration” to something like “Navigation” since it’s more than just administrative items under that section.

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The broader point is that the content of Administration shouldn’t be nested under anything, period.

There are three items under Administration: My Account, My Family, and My Units.

My Account leads to a page where you can actually change your account settings, so the “Administration” is at least appropriate there, but it should be a standalone link at top right of page.

My Family and My Units contains 90% of the guts of ScoutBook. So just put these links right on the dashboard - not nested under something called Administration.

Some might consider this sort of thing (and my Item 1) to be small nits that go to presentation, but one of my biggest complaints about ScoutBook is how clunky and non-intuitive it is. These are EASY fixes. I’m not even asking for different functionality on Points 1 and 2 - just simpler, clearer presentation.

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While Scoutbook is on much newer technology than the old IA, the new IA is on even newer technology. The plan is to have all of Scoutbook on the technology from IA eventually.

No one is requiring you to use Scoutbook. You are required to use Internet Advancement, which uses the Scoutbook database.

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Can you please explain that to me like I’m 5? I don’t understand the difference. If IA uses the SB database… then we have to enter advancement information in SB.

They both use the same database, but you can choose to use Scoutbook or Internet Advancement 2.0.
The difference is the user interface.

Advancement has to be entered into the scoutbook database one way or another. There are two interfaces for doing so. Scoutbook.com is for units that want the unit management features. Internet advancement ( scoutbook.scouting.org ) is for units that want to enter completed awards only, possibly by upload from third party software, for the purpose of reporting to the council.

#5 - Somehow, I didn’t realize that parents automatically received emails for events that Scouts are invited to. That’s good to know!

I’m not really worried about attendance stats, but I’ve always wondered why I had to add them manually.

Not all BSA planning documents are updated annually, some are long-term visions. For example my council and district has annual plans and objectives, but next month we will be reviewing our council’s 5-year vision which has taken more than a year for elected volunteer leaders and representatives more a year to develop,

My observation is that the BSA IT reports are developed and reviewed annually primarily for the national annual meetings. I do not expect to see a national update until about April 2020.

BSA IT Roadmap

http://itroadmap.scouting.org/
© 2018 Boy Scouts of America

MYST + SCOUTBOOK
Coming soon

  • Learning for Life, Exploring integration into
    scout native interface.
  • Advancements, Membership Domains.

Videos

  • Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh on IT video (pre-Akela)
  • My.Scouting Tools (MYST) app

“MYST” is my.Scouting Tools

Scoutbook Roadmap

Scoutbook

From the first knot tied to final hours of service performed, the Scouting experience is a journey like no other. Scoutbook ensures not a moment is missed – tracking advancement, milestone achievements and all the fun along the way.

You can track advancements, upload photos and videos, send messages to leaders/Scouts/parents, plan events and track activities, and have fun for all ages.

Scoutbook will be free to all units effective January 1, 2019. Learn more. Scoutbook will be free starting January 1 2019 (14) UPDATED September 21 2018 PDF

Parents and Youth Members

  • View and manage youth advancement
  • Receive and view Unit Calendar
  • Receive unit messages

Units and Leaders

  • Import/Create and Manage Unit Roster
  • Track Advancement (Rank, Merit Badge progress, Adventures, and Awards)
  • Import Adult Leaders Training status
  • Track event payments via Payment Log
  • Create and Manage Calendar events for units
  • Send messages to unit and connections
  • Automatic youth advancement sync with ScoutNET

Councils

  • Send messages to Units within the Council
  • Import Council calendars into the Unit Calendar
  • Update the most recent approved merit badge counselor list

Learn more

Learn more includes the following statement:

Scoutbook in the Future

  • Program updates
  • Payment Log Enhancements
  • Ability for Youth Leaders to Approve Advancement
  • Enable Dual Registration
  • Redesign Report Tools
  • Integrate/Sync Membership (Scoutbook with my.Scouting including SSO – Single sign on.)
  • Implement the ability for Units to recharter via Scoutbook

Here is a chart showing the differences. Scoutbook Lite is now being referred to as Internet Advancement 2.0.

image
Source: IT Communications news release, September 21, 2018

More recent information in the help knowledge base:

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“Scoutbook Lite” made sense when Scoutbook cost money. Now that it’s free - which was well before IA2 was released - it doesn’t make sense any more. Use whichever features are useful to you, and ignore the rest.

BSA doesn’t have enough software development resources to be spending effort on duplication, and having two overlapping and different user interfaces for advancement is confusing.

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It should be noted that the needs of professional council staff and units using third-party software are different than units using the Scoutbook user interface.

May I suggest moving continued discussion about whether having a Internet Advancement user interface makes sense to a separate discussion (not in the New Scoutbook Feature Requests category)? This discussion is suppose to be about improving the Scoutbook user interface.

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