Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
We have a den who earned Lion last year. They are now working towards Tiger which means they should first be awarded their Bobcat rank. IA doesn’t give the option in the drop-down for Bobcat for these scouts. Is that a glitch or is there some other issue here?
Now that both Scoutbook and the Internet Advancement program use the same database, I assume you should be able to enter or upload Bobcat completion via the Internet Advancement program. It would be nice to have this feature if it is not already implemented.
In reference to:
When Scoutbook was added as a tool, the rule was to use Internet Advancement tool (without the requirements detail) or to use Scoutbook, but not both (with a few exceptions for features not in Scoutbook)
They have the same database but not the same functionality, this is a perfect example. It’s maddening at times. We had this same sort of issue in June when we advanced the whole pack IA wouldn’t work so we advanced everyone in Scoutbook which took forever with 70 kiddos…the group award wouldn’t work either, it told me I didn’t have the permissions to do so but I’m the CC with the green checkmark so I’m not sure why. Because of that we had to do each one individually and Scoutbook is so laggy and takes a long time to go from record to record. We generally use IA for 100% of our advancement. Yesterday, we used it to advance all the new scouts to Bobcat who weren’t Lions and it worked just fine. I think IA is much more user friendly and straight forward. They both definitely have their quirks. It would be nice for them to be consistent, combined, and only have one system to use. Maybe someday they’ll get there. At least I’ve learned the workarounds.
Or if IA worked like it should, it would be only a few as well. If IA is the inferior product, why do we do recharter there? I think BSA needs to choose which they want us to use. I think most scouters are glad to use what BSA gives us but it needs to be something that is dependable without gliltches and bugs and is easy to use. All I know, I spend waayyyy too much time doing admin with things like this when I could be working on program instead. Activity planning is a better place to spend the time, talent, and effort IMHO. I really appreciate all the work you guys do here to support the forum. I’m definitely not trying to negate that because I couldn’t get all these things fixed without your help.
Nope I meant advancing at the end of the program year. I also see that you’re saying it would be a big job in Scoutbook because we don’t have them in dens but it’s because we don’t use Scoutbook for our adventures, awards, etc. We usually use IA at the end of the year once they earn their ranks so that info can get reported to council.
I wouldn’t look at it that way. The IA2 process is a vast improvement over “The Old Way” of rechartering, where we would all scramble to reconcile paper copy of recharter lists, put a giant pile of papers together, then get it to the council offices, where it would take weeks to months (at best) for the council to wade through everything and get it entered (together with any keypunch errors courtesy of the paper-to-computer-via-people data transfer process). That doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with IA2’s usability for advancement or activity tracking purposes.
Scoutbook is probably the “more mature” platform, being quite a bit older than IA2. IA2 is going to ultimately replace Scoutbook, as I understand what’s been posted in the past in these discussion groups. So, naturally not all of the features that are in Scoutbook have been re-implemented (yet?) in IA2.
I personally find the UI highly opaque in IA2, generating a very poor UX (again, in my opinion). A lot of what works in Scoutbook (e.g. calendars, messaging) isn’t available at all in IA2. Some stuff that used to work in Scoutbook has been broken in the process of porting to IA2 (e.g. profile data management and editing), and other stuff (e.g. reporting and activity logs), for all that I’m not fond of the interface, are actually more functional in IA2 than they were in Scoutbook.
My biggest gripe with IA2 is the inflexibility of access (mostly Key 3, Key 3 Delegates and the Advancement Chair) that currently exists. ASMs can do some things, but not others that seem intuitively related. DLs can do some things, but not others. The scope of what each role can do is frequently shifting, making figuring out who has to do things a complex task. In many ways, getting things approved ultimately gets dumped back on the Key 3, rather than permitting for delegation to other “trusted registered leaders” as has been past practice in many (particularly larger) units. Rumor has it that there is work going on to improve access so that additional registered leaders can be designated as having more access. That would be a huge improvement.
I still find the “context-sensitive buttons and menus” interface concept to be exceedingly opaque, particularly in the absence of complete, current documentation. Maybe it makes sense to some folks, but not to me. I assume I’ll eventually get used to it, though, or “age-out” and not be involved in that end of things anymore.
I had the pleasure of doing recharter the old way and, you’re totally correct, it is 1000000% better now.
I think a lot of the interface satisfaction comes down to personal preference. I like IA2 and find it to be pretty intuitive and prefer it over Scoutbook. IA2 is definitely a gigantic improvement over the original IA too. I don’t miss all of that manual entry. Scoutbook seems more klunky to me. There’s too many places to click and it’s very slow to respond to those clicks.
Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to. Hopefully the improvements you are hearing in the grapevine will come to be. I would just love to have one reliable system. It would make things so much easier. Thanks for all of your insight.
I believe “graduation” is the when the rank badge is awarded following completion of required electives (and bobcat badge, if necessary). I recommend for the well-being of Cub Scout, not the adult volunteer, that this occur as soon as possible and not held to just before unit program transition at the end of the school year.
Graduation might be as soon as the next pack meeting following earning the program’s rank badge.
Data entry tool requirements
It appears there needs to be tools for both a selected group of Cub Scouts and tools for entering data for individual Cub Scouts when graduations occur.
While feedback is always welcome, I think suggesting that we are only thinking of adult convenience and not the “well-being” of our Cub Scouts in how we award/record our advancement is a bit of a stretch. There is no hard and fast rule in how to do this. The Leader book you reference below says things like “may” or “often”, not “must” or “always”. We’re very familiar with instant recognition for our Scouts and do our best to do so with their adventures. Our pack has chosen to do graduation at the end of the school year because it usually takes until that time for the younger dens to complete their requirements. AOL cross in February, other ranks graduate in June. Transition is the summer. Come visit our pack if you’d like to see how we do it before you make and assumption that we’re not considering our scouts’ best interest. No complaints from our parents or scouts in our process or ceremonies. We added 25 new scouts to our pack this year…so I think we’re getting something right.
“graduation” and receiving rank are two different things. In Cub Scouts, dens DO NOT move up until the end of the school year. For example, Cub Scouts that earn rank in December, continue working on adventures for that rank until the end of the school year. They DO NOT move on to the next rank.
The Guide to Advancement is clear, awards are to be handed out at the next opportunity, not held until the end of the year. If the Bear den all earn their Bear rank in December, they should receive the rank at the January pack meeting at the latest, even if the Tiger den is no where near complete with their requirements. The same is true if only one member of a den earns rank, that member receives it at the next pack meeting and does not have to wait for the rest of the den to catch up.
You are right Ed, they are two different things. I totally agree. It just happens that the way we’re structured in our Pack, and how we do adventures, that our Cubs finish up adventures in May and rank is awarded at the next Pack meeting in June. We don’t generally have scouts moving ahead of others because they all do the adventures together at den meetings. Occsaionally there are scouts who do things outside of regular meetings on their own, but that’s not very often in our pack. And yes, that would move them ahead and they should be awarded rank sooner. That said, making the assumption that because we award rank at the end of the school year means we’re not doing things correctly, isn’t seeing our whole picture and was my point above. Also, the suggestion from Bill that the reason we do this is because our leaders are only considering their own well-being and not the well-being of our Scouts, really bugged me considering the time, talent, and effort our leaders contribute to our Scouts and our Pack. Our Scouts are the reason we do everything we do.