Asset management and attendance registration at University

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), based in Preston, North West England, is one of the largest Universities in the UK with over 32,000 students and 3000 employees.

Key features for this solution

  • Simple data input
  • Easy data storage
  • Transferring information

UCLAN had a requirement to record their students’ attendance at various teaching events. This was achieved by way of a paper-based system that required all students to sign against their name on a paper register. This form was then manually keyed into an internal attendance monitoring database.

This system involved huge amounts of paper work being raised for registration purposes. Therefore a new automated system with the OPN-2001 from Opticon was introduced. This pocket memory scanner scans and captures the barcode on the Student ID cards, the tutor then downloads the data directly to the attendance database and the data can be viewed on a screen based version of the register.

The major problem with this system is the sheer volume of data and the time it takes to manually key it into the system. For this reason, there was a reluctance to monitor attendance for large lecture groups.

It is also essential for the university to quickly identify students who have poor attendance in order to address any pastoral issue, which may be the root cause.

UCLAN searched for a solution that would record the attendance of students electronically and directly transfer data into their attendance monitoring database. They required a simple and cost effective solution that would give them the flexibility to use in every area of their operation including temporary lecture rooms as well as external environments such as sports fields. Initial considerations included the use of networked based readers. This would involve a huge level of upheaval to install readers at every entry and exit point to a lecture room and would not be capable of being used remotely.

In the solution, lecturers were issued with an OPN-2001 with which they could scan the Student ID’s during their lecture. At the end of the day, the lecturer connects the OPN-2001 to a USB port on a PC that has access to the Universiy’s IT infrastructure. UCLAN have written a program to extract the data from the OPN-2001 and populate their own database with the attendance information captured.

The internal system uses the downloaded data to trigger a series of actions, such as emails/letters to students who have missed the lectures to identify the reason for their absence. This helps to ensure that the University is able to identify any issues which can then be resolved and promote attendance at teaching events and student welfare.

For more information, download the PDF file.

The University has developed processes to identify (at the download stage) any anomalies that need to be addressed such as duplication of ID’s or student ID’s being scanned that were not registered. It also highlights straight away any attendance issues for a given student which then gives the University the opportunity to speak with the student and uncover any issues the student may be having with the course or university.

The OPN-2001 solution removes the need for paper based registration sheets to be raised and distributed. A side benefit of the OPN-2001 solution would also be the ability to highlight if a lecture room was being inappropriately used, i.e. if a lecture hall with 300-person capacity was being used for a lecture with 30 people. The system could be used to highlight this information and enable the room programmers to ensure the correct and relevant sized room for future lectures.

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