Why Pen and Paper is Out

data collection

Universities constantly speak about the importance of data. Administrators need and use data to justify budgets, fitness programs, building and grounds work and much more. For years, the pen and paper option was the solution to collect data for reporting this vital information. Now in 2017, customized technology is core to efficient data collection.

Why is the pen and paper solution inefficient and inaccurate?

  1. Individual papers or the binder of information can easily be misplaced or lost.
  2. Data on paper tells you very little and usually requires a staff member to manually input the figures and motes to Excel.
  3. Human error can lead to inaccuracies in dates, times and figures recorded.

How does technology make data collection, analysis and reporting easier? 

Customization

The first step to utilizing any technical solution is customizing that data you want to collect from demographics, fitness programming and forms. Universities in particular have special requirements for forms. Incident report forms, for example, require operators to set requirements and communication protocols. That can be accomplished much more efficiently through an online dashboard than by paper, pen and clipboard. Also, if the incident report form is marked as an emergency, the dashboard should offer the ability to set protocols that will automate distribution to appropriate staff.

Operational Efficiency

Instead of using your staff to manually input numbers and create graphs and charts, the technology can collect all of the information — things like facility counts, forms, attendance, check-in’s — in a process that is accurate and secure. Then it can output the associated charts and graphs you need to make operational decisions. This automated data collection and output leave your staff free to perform other tasks.

Reporting

All rec center operators are asked to justify their budgets, especially when it comes to adding programs and activities. With the right customized technology, you can go to an administrative portal and pull the report that quantifies demographics, usage, programs and time periods.

Conclusion

Technology is more accurate and more efficient for collecting the kind of data you need to effectively manage and grow your recreation facilities. Now is the time to move away from pen-and-paper data collection and into a technical solutions that will streamline the process and give you the tools you need to improve operational efficiency. You can do this all while “going green” and saving thousands of sheets of paper per year.

Rachel Koretsky is the founder and CEO of upace, a customizable fitness app and mobile platform that allows fitness and recreation facility operators to effectively engage, communication with and retain students as well as efficiently and accurately collect data, distribute forms and product analytics. Rachel can be reached at rachel@upaceapp.com, 215.630.7496 or visit upaceapp.com. 

Emily Harbourne is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at emily@peakemedia.com.

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