Monitoring attendance: early intervention

The following is an emerging idea of a pilot in Electrical Engineering to monitor attendance at labs and tutorials for 1st year students. The objective is for staff (DoS, personal tutors) and students have have an accurate and upto date system to alert them of students who are disengaging.

The data will also be available via authentication (CAS) for the indivdiual student to better inform them of their attendance.

The system would use the Library Card. Based on existing technologies which are bring further rolled out across campus, for instance, print charging etc.,

Each libary card contains a Mifare chip – which is the unique ID of the card. The Active Directory system matches the library card ID to a user. So, you can lose the card, cancel it, and be re-assigned a new card.

The proposed system would involve purchasing a number of fixed and handheld Mifare Chip Scanners. The fixed ones would be located in electrical engineering’s labs. Laurence Lockton will be supplying details of the company where they get the scanners

A database would be needed which stored the unique ID of the session (lab), and the group … all this will be finalised at a later date. It would store the Card ID, and pull the student details across from AD.

A number of reports could be run against this database … giving the dashboard view, ie. by session, by student

The student would also need an interface to authenticate against, where they could see their data.

Where next?

  1. Talk to Dave Mayo about setting up a database (mysql) to stick all this lovely data in
  2. Talk to James about the project
  3. The timetable (sessions, and groups) is managed locally by Karen Woods, so need to talk to her to get a handle on numbers, complexity, who should be in what group, do they change groups etc.,
  4. Get Alex upto speed as part of his orientation
  5. Include Dave Ford & Jane Rippen in the loop

The phasing will be as follows;

  • phase 1: by end of September 2010 – have a system which will record the attendance data
  • phase 2: end of Oct 2010 provide a limited view of the dashboard for staff, and an authenticated view for students
  • phase 3: Nov 2010 – work out next iteration

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