Reason Forms Training

The Reason Content Management System can be used to create forms, which can be completed and submitted online. Replacing paper forms with online forms can reduce the amount of paper used while simplifying the form completion process. Responses can be sent via email or stored in a database, allowing for easy and convenient retrieval.

Those wishing to create forms on Luther College’s website must contact Web Content for Reason training.

Goals

Upon completion of this 1-on-1 training, you will be able to:

Training

Getting Started with Forms on Reason

Begin by visiting http://www.luther.edu/admin/ and logging in. Your screen will show a page similar to the one below:

ReasonForm 1
ReasonForm 1

If you have admin rights to multiple sites, they are listed in the upper left corner under “Your Sites.” With a click of the mouse, select the site to which you would like to add a form. Then, click on “Forms” either under “Add/Edit” on the left side of the screen or in the middle of your screen. It doesn’t matter which “Forms” link you click; clicking either one will lead you to the same page. The following screen shot shows with pink circles where to click.

ReasonForm 2
ReasonForm 2

Add a Form to Your Site

If you have already created forms, they are listed here. To create a new form, click “Add Forms” in the peach box in the middle of the screen. The words “Add Forms” are circled in pink on the following screen shot.

ReasonForm 3
ReasonForm 3

Next, you will arrive at a page entitled “Adding Form.” Start by typing the name of the form into the first field. The next two fields are related to the collection of responses. This topic is discussed in the section “Decide Where to Save Your Form’s Responses.”

Build Your Form

Before building the form, have an ordered list of the questions you would like to ask on the form. The form is built from top to bottom. It is best to enter the questions in the correct order, since moving a question involves repetitive clicking.

You can start to build your form in the large white box labeled “Form Content.” The buttons for the various field formats are shown below:

ReasonForm 4
ReasonForm 4

Here is a description of the fields, listed from left to right:

  1. Text Field for a Small Amount of Text. The field is one line long. This is good for short answers, such as names.
  2. Text Field for a Large Amount of Text. The field is a large box. This is good for longer answers that might contain multiple sentences or multiple lines.
  3. Checkboxes. Those filling out the form can mark multiple boxes.
  4. Radio Buttons. Those filling out the form can mark a single radio button.
  5. Select Field. This is a drop-down menu. Those filling out the form can select a single option from the menu. This field is especially good if there are a large number of options, since the drop-down menu does not take up very much room on the webpage.
  6. Hidden Field. This is a field with a hidden label.
  7. Text Description/Comment. People cannot respond to your text descriptions/comments. You can use these to give people directions or warnings. For example, if the form must be submitted by a certain time, you could warn people by inserting text into the form.

To build the form, click one of the field options. First, enter the question you would like to ask in the “Label” box. Enter the default values, if applicable. This is optional for the text fields, but necessary for the other types of fields. Then, check the box if you would like to require all respondents to answer this particular question in order to submit the survey.

The following example has each of the field types, in the order listed above.

ReasonForm 5
ReasonForm 5

ReasonForm 6
ReasonForm 6

Edit Your Form

If you would like to edit the wording of the question or of the options, click “Edit” above the question.

If you do not like the order of your questions, you can shift questions up or down one at a time. Accomplish this by clicking the up (or down) arrow directly above the field and to the right of the “Edit” button.

You can remove the question altogether by pressing the “X” above the field and to the right of the up and down arrows.

Shown here are the buttons referred to in this section:

ReasonForm 7
ReasonForm 7

Note that the top question does not have an up arrow and the bottom question does not have a down arrow.

Decide Where to Save Your Form’s Responses

When a user submits the form, the responses will be saved to a database or will be sent to one or more email address(es). You will decide between these two options by considering your use of the responses and the sensitivity of the responses. Sensitive information should be saved to a database, since email is not necessarily secure. Information that is urgent or needs immediate attention should be relayed through email. This way, someone will be alerted right away when a user submits the form. The following picture shows where you can specify your preferences.

ReasonForm 8
ReasonForm 8

At the top of the form, there is a drop-down menu that gives you the option of saving the results to a database. If you would like the responses to be saved to a database, select “yes.”

If you would like each response to be sent to one or more email address(es), enter the email address(es) into the field labeled “Email recipient.” Remember to enter Luther netids rather than full email addresses. For example, if I want the email to be sent to [email protected], I would enter “knudch02” and omit “@luther.edu.”

Add a Thank You Note

After the user submits the form, the user is redirected to a page which signals to the user that the form has been submitted successfully. A thank you note also appears. Enter your desired thank you note into the large text box provided, as shown below. The note could also contain further instructions, if you have any.

ReasonForm 9

Save Your Work

Unless your form is short, you should save your work as you go. You can do this by pressing “Save and Continue Editing” at the bottom of the page. You will be able to continue working on your form.

When your form is complete, press “Save and Finish” at the bottom of the screen. You will be returned to the “Add/Edit Forms” page.

ReasonForm 10

Create a Page to Display the Form

In order for the form to appear on the internet, the form must be associated with a webpage. If the page already exists, skip to the next section.

Begin by clicking “Pages” on the left side of the screen. This will bring you to the “Add/Edit Pages” menu. From here, there are two ways to add a page.

  1. Click “Add Page” in the peach box on the right side of the menu. Enter a title for the page and enter the parent page. After you have selected the parent page, enter the page URL. Continue to scroll down to the text box labeled “Content.” Enter whatever text you would like to display above the form. Then, scroll to the bottom and save the page.
  2. Navigate through the pages listed in blue until you find the page that you would like to be the parent page of the page that will contain your form. Click “Add Child.” Enter the title and URL for the page. Continue to scroll down to the text box labeled “Content.” Enter whatever text you would like to display above the form. Then, scroll to the bottom and save the page.

Associate the Form with an Already Existing Webpage

If you have not yet created the page that will display the form, visit the previous section to learn to create the page.

Click “Pages” on the left side of the screen to arrive at the “Add/Edit Pages” menu. In the middle of the screen, there will be a list of the pages in your website. The list should like similar to this:

ReasonForm 11
ReasonForm 11

Navigate to the site that you want to contain the form. Once you’ve found it, click “Edit” in the “Admin Functions” column. Scroll down to “Type of Page” and click the radio button next to “Form page (A form must be associated with page for this to work).” Next, scroll to the bottom and click “Save and Associate.” You can also click “Save and Continue Editing” at the bottom of the screen, and then click “Associate a form with this page” on the left side of the screen. Either method will bring you to a page which will let you select a form. The form(s) you have created are listed at the bottom of the screen in a list similar to this one:

ReasonForm 12
ReasonForm 12

Find the form you would like to associate with this page, and click “Select,” as circled in the above picture. Then, click “Finish” on the left side of the screen, as shown in the following picture:

ReasonForm 13

Now your form will be located on your website. If you want to replace this form with another form, edit the page and click “Associate a form with this page.” You will need to deselect the current form and select the new form. Then click “Finish” to save the changes.

Retrieve Responses from a Database

If you chose to have responses sent to an email address, you do not need to read this section. If you chose to save responses to a data base, you will need to read this to learn how to retrieve the responses.

To begin, make sure you are logged onto Reason. Then, go to the website that displays your form. Click “Enter administrative view,” as is circled in red in the screen shot below.

ReasonForm 14

You can view the responses, which are listed on the website in a table. If you would like to download the responses, click “Export Stored Data” as circled in the following screen shot.

ReasonForm 15

A window will pop up that is similar to the following:

ReasonForm 16

You can choose to open the data if you would like to view the responses right away. Accomplish this by click the radio button next to “Open with” and select the program you would like to use to open the responses. The computer may suggest using Microsoft Office Excel. Then, click “OK.” The software should open and the data should then pop up.

If you do not need to view the responses immediately, you can save them as a csv file. To do this, click the radio button next to “Save file” and then click “OK.” You can then open the csv file with software such as Excel or R.

Additional Resources

Visit the Reason website

http://apps.carleton.edu/opensource/reason/ is the home web page for Reason Content Management System.

Contact the Technology Help Desk