Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fill Out All the Forms

I've been working on a small internal grant, and just finished submitting it.

It's been frustrating.  Not because the project is frustrating, since it's not at that point.  And not because I've done some procrastination thing, since I haven't.

It's been frustrating because the forms are totally non-intuitive to me, and I don't use them well.  (Look, I already whined about the forms at the beginning.)

And it's been frustrating because the forms need to be "routed" electronically in certain ways, and the first way is through my chair (who is supportive and fine and all), and my chair is going out of town during the actual submission period, so I need to submit it early to get it through that step.

Anyway, I'd written the description and narrative stuff, and wanted to talk to my chair about it (since it's sort of her field, though not in a bad way).  But then zie was busy, and so couldn't see me until the next day.  The zie and I went through it, and zie liked it, but had a lot of good revision suggestions.  So I made those, and then went to talk to the writing center guy, and he did the same, and then I revised again.

And then I filled out all the budget stuffs, and finally, hit submit.

And nothing.

Now the form says that you should get an immediate email from the grant office and to let them know if you don't, but of course it was late afternoon, so the grant office was closed.

I sent them an email, and let my chair know.  And my chair sent an email to the grant headperson, but zie is on vacation.  (Which I knew, because someone had advised me to go ask hir to give me feedback on the grant, and I'd called to see if I could do that, but the admin assistant said zie wasn't available, and not to worry because it would be fine, blah blah blah.)

So this morning, I tried again to submit, and nothing but the computer busy thing.

So I called the admin assistant, and zie walked me through, and it turns out that if you click from the "work in progress" area, it doesn't work.  No, you have to click in from the "my work" area.

Doesn't that seem counterintuitive?  I want the work in progress, because I'm working on progressing.

And so finally, it worked.

Anyway, I'm excited about this project, and think it will be interesting.  I'll probably try to do it even without the grant, but the grant would pay for a student collaborator, and that would be good!  (It's a SOTL type thing, that grew out of a paper the student did.)

Cross your fingers for me!


  1. Our travel submission forms are so insanely counterintuitive that I think they were designed by the same person as your grants submissions forms.

  2. Anonymous7:56 AM

    That sounds like our new IRB form!

    I have had three computer-related failures this morning. I can't download anything from my work email account onto my work computer since they changed the system. I can't do the IT training because it won't load. I can't do the new payroll training because question 5/6 is supposed to have a damn dropdown box and it doesn't so I can't answer it and I can't move forward in the training unless that question has an answer. Brave new world.

  3. Good luck! I know what you mean about counter-intuitive elements of these online forms. Clearly, nobody actually did usability testing on their software rollouts. *sigh*

  4. Good luck!

    I had to look up SOTL because I wasn't familiar with the term -- sounds very interesting, and I'll look forward to hearing more about the project.