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Request to return to logging service hours, campouts, and hikes via Scoutbook rather than Internet Advancement

Enhancements are coming. It is not possible, given the current financial situation to move everything to the same time. There is ongoing development to make the system more seamless and provide a more integrated solution. The BSA has more systems than just Scoutbook and Internet Advancement to deal with using its limited IT resources.

The SUAC is made up of volunteers that serve units in multiple roles including Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Den Leaders, Committee Members, Council Advancement Committee members, etc. We review requirements, suggest priorities, support users, test releases, and more. The BSA decides the final development priorities so while we can make suggestions, we cannot dictate what order features are worked on.

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I agree with everything mentioned in this thread - i.e. both the User Experience Issues and the Limited Resource Issues… I think the point which @iisaphd makes regarding the calendars is in my view the most egregious issue with the implementation.

My unit uses attendance in Scoutbook to be able to have attendance reports for the troop. Then I have to double entry the data into IA for OA elegibility and other reports. There is no synch between the two.

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I believe I brought up a thread asking why Scoutbook was being more integrated to Internet Advancement.

I can understand why they would not want to move it back due to Scoutbook being on an outdated programming stack. However, the major issue I see is that Internet Advancement is not much better. Even if the stack is not as outdated, it’s still slow and a major inconvenience to have to log into two separate websites to log service hours.

Assuming the BSA stuck to its own ideals it teaches (the scout law) and acted thrifty, then in my mind it made no sense to purchase Scoutbook in the first place if they wanted to move it to internet advancement anyway. Money spent buying the platform and maintaining it would have been better spent then creating an entirely new platform (that’s faster than Internet Advancement, and doesn’t suffer from cross compatibility or cross communication with existing services). Given the BSAs financial situation at the time of coming into owning Scoutbook, it’s safe to say most of us knew they’d be in a dire spot anyway.

I’d be curious to see what stack Scoutbook is programmed on. I’d assume something like PHP as that’s common and the most “outdated” thing I could think of. As I said, either way Scoutbook is still more responsive and faster in load times than Internet Advancement is.

All in all, I’m in agreement with the original poster of this thread though. Regardless of the outdated stack, the fact that the process of adding service hours is less friendly and significantly more obscure and less intuitive than it was hurts units and people trying to use this more than anything. It gives leaders just another reason to continue using a service like Troopmaster and just export data into Scoutbook instead.

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Serving as a Unit Commissioner and Roundtable Commissioner, the Internet Advancement approach to logging Camping and Service hours has lost the audience to which it is intended. Scoutbook was the best approach to recording these data points from a parent, Scout and leader perspective. The removal of this capability, though technologically necessary from BSA’s perspective, was poorly executed and poorly thought out. In my opinion, BSA Development Team missed very important steps in implementing a change like that, USER FEEDBACK and BETA TESTING.

A comfort level was developed by the end users of Scoutbook for this capability. Based on first hand knowledge, unit leaders no longer care about Internet Advancement 2.0. They do not have time to bounce around from tool-to-tool recording all this information just for the benefit of BSA reporting. Most of the leaders I have spoke to within our Council either record the camping and service hours in the Scouts handbook only or totally ignore recording the information at all.

If this is what is happening throughout units in BSA, then there is a likelihood the reporting for camping and service hours is no longer accurate. From my perspective, no Scout will be delayed in rank due to the unit not properly reporting in Internet Advancement system. Therefore the level of urgency to report this is of no interest to the unit leaders. I would suspect if BSA wants to have better reporting for camping and service hours, the urgency would be on National to resolve this issue. Otherwise don’t expect proper reporting in the Internet Advancement tool. To me it is worthless and brings little value to the leaders as opposed to Scoutbook

Lesson to learn - Avoid making decisions in a vacuum.

Just my two cents worth…

v/r
Chip Powell, PMP, ITIL, CISSP
Council VP of Programs
Pee Dee Area Council (552)

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Except it isn’t two separate web sites and a single sign-on process makes the transition from Scoutbook over to Internet Advancement seamless for both report generation and activity entry. I just verified this with my account - clicked on the IA button from the dashboard and was taken directly to the roster in IA in a new tab, ready to enter activities. I also used the Activity Log Report from the Troop reports menu, and it went directly to the IA report builder screen for creating an Activity Log Report.

This is the same model we use to log on to discussions.scouting.org from Scoutbook.scouting.org or advancements.scouting.org.

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@RyanDodd you mention Internet Advancement being slow. Can you be more specific? Is it page load time, is it a certain section or actions. Having actionable feedback may help with optimizations to the software.

Like Chip Powell, I’m also a Unit Commissioner and completely agree with his assessment. I’ve received the same feedback from units. Units would rather continue using the paper method than use the IA2 for activity logs. It might make a difference if each Scout could enter their own activities and if when they click “activity log” it wouldn’t take so long to load the IA2 webpage on mobile phones. Personally, I already find our Troop advancement chair overworked. Also, it would be helpful if there was a “click here to return to Scoutbook”. It seems once they are in IA2 they are stuck there. I understand that it was National’s intent to make it easier for them to get data for JTE reporting. But if few use the tool what was truly gained?

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When I click “Activity Logs” in Scoutbook to access internet advancement, it’s particularly slow to bring up the page in that method.

Clicking about produces semi desirable page load times, but if you attempt to load up a particular set of activities (Camping and Service specifically), it takes a good chunk of time. I’ve not timed it or anything, but it’s easily over 30 seconds. I wouldn’t say my internet connection download time is particularly slow either (800mb average).

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Ryan, I’ve seen lag issues in all kinds of applications when I have a lot of drive activity going on, or if my drive is nearly full. Could that be contributing here?

@RyanDodd thank you for specifics. I have alerted the developers in case this is something systemic that can be optimized.

I have non-stop issues with IA 2.0 and have quit logging anything due to long load times, total crashes of my Windows 10 desktop, and excess fields that Cub Scout does not need to log like elevation and location twice. I found Chome would not work with IA, so I have to use Edge to even log into IA. For several Dec, Jan early Feb, months IA was not capable of logging in as I got an error and which stated the developers were working on the issue. Scoutbook was much faster, and with the mobile app, a log could be completed while in the field at the completion of the event. I tried last week to log an hour of service for my unit, and it messed up the dates and times. Maybe it was because we are in the Far East Council and we are a day ahead of the USA. I now can not figure out how to edit and change the log to correct day and time. The IA 2.0 log also messed up the number of hours. I never had any issues with Scoutbook. My blood pressure just can not take dealing with IA 2.0 absolutely the worst software implementation I have come across in over 20 years.

PS My unit is rechartered and I am CC registered in myscouting.

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@ScottMarbut thanks for the additional info.

I just checked tonight and looks changes have already occurred to a few of your issues. Location is only required once for a hike activity. Elevation is no longer a required field of entry for a hike.

The date/time issue has been reported to developers very recently and is being investigated.

As for the browser issue, you may check to see if you have any extensions running, particularly ones related to privacy and tracking. Myself, I had nomorobo installed on my phone for spam blocking and IA wouldn’t work until I whitelisted the site. You might check that and see if it is causing your issues with the browsers in question.

VPN might also be an issue, if you use it.

Been Unit Commissioner and Unit Commissioner plus also Unit Advancement Chair the move to Internet Advancement for Service hours and others is a pain. In addition there is no way to segregate the different time of miles each scout has like Cycling, Hiking, Swimming, Boating, etc. We should have a single platform. People struggle to jump from My.scouting to IA to SB, we are volunteers and this add up to our daily chores, work, family. With all the things happening in BSA having a roadmap on this can help a lot.

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That’s a fair criticism, but isn’t really a change from the Scoutbook logs. I understand from SUAC posts that adding the various different types of logs required some rearchitecting of the software, which motivated (in part) the move to IA2 as the platform. I’m not a big fan of the new logs (I find the UI/UX less user friendly than the Scoutbook version, personally), but the old logs had their own quirks as well.

I’m not entirely sure why the platform on which the logs run is a key issue, though. I think that the access issues (i.e. limits on who can update and approve logs) and the interface itself (which I find clunky, although others seem to like it) are valid concerns, but I don’t understand the concern about the click-through from Scoutbook to IA2 on the logs. Is it because of the interface/user permissions items, or is the change of platform really impacting something that I’m not seeing?

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