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User Friendly Additions to new "Activity Log"

I’ve been using Scoutbook for a while, (since before the BSA ended up buying it and making some changes), and I felt that some changes should be made that might be beneficial to all.

As per the topic, I’m proposing that adding Hiking, Camping and Service Hours becomes more user friendly. On the old Scoutbook interface, you could directly do this yourself in scoutbook. At some point, it seems a change was made to require you to go into internet advancement instead. I’m not going to pretend I understand that decision, but if Single Sign On was implemented, then in theory your Scoutbook login and internet advancement login should be identical, eliminating the need to resign in. Putting that aside, putting these three things on a different website all together further increases frustration and complexity of adding these. Now people have to learn a new interface on a website.

If moving Hiking, Camping and Service Hours to internet advancement was done for the purpose of requiring a Unit Leader to approve it, wouldn’t it have made more sense to just add approval to Scoutbook, instead of pirating it and making a good program that was for the most part user friendly, not that?

All in all (maybe it’s an unpopular opinion?), but how we log activities in Scoutbook should be changed, as the way it is currently, is not user friendly and makes more work for those who track their activities online.


Wholeheartedly agree - as a Scoutmaster in a meeting or event I’ve first got to get into Scoutbook (SB), then navigate over to or bounce back-and-forth between SB and Internet Advancement (IA) to simply see if a Scout’s campout or activity was entered, how many nights of camping they have, etc. so I can sign off a requirement. Tenderfoot Rqt 1a. for instance, “Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors” now requires me to log into IA, pull up the Scout’s Activity Log, which is no easy task mind you - especially when not on decent WiFi, LTE or 5G, verify the Scout completed said activities, then return to SB and sign off that requirement. Under the old SB Activity Logs that search took all of about half a minute to log-in and navigate to, and you were still in the same Scout’s individual record, so easy day. There are several other requirements like this for First Class Rqt 1a., plus Service Hour requirements that have to be verified throughout the ranks.

Even post campout - the unit leader could just do mass entry of who attended in SB in a matter of very few clicks and key strokes…Now we have to log into another very non user-friendly system that majorly lags, create an event (hope that the lag does not kick you out from where you are), pick and choose from dropdown list of registered Scouts & Scouters (which when you have a large troop is much more cumbersome than SB was - just clicking next to names of attendees), and when you have multiple people with same name (i.e., a Jr. and a III’d) it just lists the same names twice, without any suffixes, so you never know if you are picking the right person. Albeit - the one useful feature in IA over SB is that you can click the advanced tab and easily modify hours attended for Service Projects and the like, but it still takes just as long as it did to go in and modify individual records under SB if an error was made or an adjustment was required.

Like you, I’d love it if we could have old way back in Scoutbook and just add the Leader approved option. There were times we were getting duplications, but a little (re)education of some of the parents and leaders of the process typically resolved that. It would seem that there could be a tweak to add the updates to the Sync feature. Even if we still had to use IA for entry (which again is not very user or bandwidth friendly), it should at least still be able to display the Scout’s individual activity record in SB like it used to without having to long into IA, run a report, or download Scouts BSA history.

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Scoutbook and IA are supposed to be moving to the same platform. We really need a single consolidated calendar for all unit events.

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Are they planning on merging Scoutbook and IA into one new platform, or is it moving Scoutbook into IA?

Ideally I hope it’s not Scoutbook into IA, as IA is not user friendly and is significantly slower in comparison to the other solutions out there.

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I understand it is going to be a completely new platform.

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Does the UAC/BSA have a Estimated date for the new platform rollout?

so this new activity log is absolute garbage …
I keep my own records because integration with national outdoor awards is non existent … While scrolling through my records and updating them I found multiple errors

2 boys(so far) dont have camping credit for the event
the event doesnt exist on the calander at all while other boys have credit for it on the report
and there are 6 events for individuals with the right title but only 1 night of camping for the event (when it was 8)

the event is listed in the logs but not in the calander
why did we feel the need to fix something that wasn’t broken ?

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First, remember that Scouts and Scouters are kind, and calling someone’s work “absolute garbage” is not very Scoutlike behavior…

There was a clear need to change the activity because additions and improvements to them was consistently in the top two or three improvement requests over time (logging different types of activities, leader approval of hours/nights, integration with JTE and other awards, etc.). The new activity logs are different – that’s for sure – and the launch hasn’t been as smooth as anyone would have liked. But, without the changes made, none of the other improvements that people have been clamoring for would be possible. Making the improvements and staying in the current Scoutbook development environment was not going to happen.

So, to quote a Scoutmaster friend of mine, sometimes you have to “embrace the suck” to get the rewards. The new logs as they are now are the foundation for improvements down the road.

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While the new layout isn’t “Garbage”, I don’t think embracing the suck in this instance should be acceptable. We did have something that worked, and although it needed a few new features (as you pointed out with being able to have leaders approve these things and integration to other awards), I think that pirating from something that worked and then ruining it wasn’t exactly necessary.

Regardless of whatever BSA decides to do however, whether it be keeping this feature or rolling back to what existed in Scoutbook already, I do hope that they improve the entire function of logging activities in general.

  1. What do you mean by “pirating”?
  2. Rolling back into Scoutbook isn’t likely; were it possible to make the changes to the Activity Logs that have long been requested without moving them to IA2, I assume that’s what would have been done.

By “pirating” I meant more or less taking the features wanted off Scoutbook (The main feature of being able to log activities), and then combining with other features on IA2.

As for it being rolled back, I do agree that it likely won’t happen, but I disagree that they couldn’t add this functionality into Scoutbook. As someone above mentioned they believe BSA is creating a new platform for advancement (presumably what we know as IA2 right now?), so I am under the impression that it was more or less a matter of wanting to force people to begin using their new platform. On top of this, Scoutbook initially did not automatically check off merit badge requirements for awards, and this was added later. If something such as this could be added, wouldn’t it make sense that tracking activities could have been added?

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