@CHECK – A MODERN CLASS ATTENDANCE CHECKING TOOL
Students’ attendance at university classes can be checked in several ways. The old-school approach – with students signing the attendance list – disorganizes the course of the lecture while typing the attendance list into any type of electronic diary requires extra time from the teacher. Taking attendance orally during class is, in turn, not only time-consuming, but it is also hardly feasible in large groups of students.
Client-server solutions might streamline the process. Students could connect to the server using their mobile devices or laptops to confirm their attendance. This procedure, however, requires that they always bring their devices to class. Moreover, additional measures would have to be taken to prevent access to the system from outside the classroom.
Attendance could also be checked by means of dedicated chip card readers – resembling those used in offices which register employees’ working time by storing their clock-in and clock-out times. This technology, however, is relatively costly and requires that students always carry an additional card.
The system developed by a group of students from FMCS (Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science), Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, is a solution to all of the abovementioned problems. Its users confirm their attendance by means of their standard student cards. As a result, no additional devices are required since the chips on the student cards applied at FMCS are processed using cheap extensions to standard keyboards already in place at the Faculty.
The @CHECK system also offers a number of additional functionalities. In the “seating mode”, for example, after having their card read the student can select the seat they would like to take (in the same way one chooses a seat in the cinema). Information on the seating of the students is also available to the teacher, who can see it on his or her computer screen, as a result of which students are no longer anonymous to the lecturer. Moreover, since this information is permanently stored in a database, the teacher can also compare solutions and answers worked out by students sitting next to each other to prevent mutual copying.
In the “no-seating mode”, students do not select the seats they would like to take, which substantially shortens the time necessary to check attendance. In the “automatic seating mode”, the system assigns seats to students randomly, which may be useful during tests and examinations. The teacher may also want to apply this mode to make sure that students do not always collaborate in identical teams while working on consecutive tasks.
@CHECK has been successfully tested during a lecture attended by 48 students, and at the moment (March 2020) it is being deployed at FMCS to be tested during 10 courses starting in the summer term of 2020.
One of the most important features of the solution is its scalability. The module processing student cards can be easily extended to support any type of chip. As a matter of fact, three different types of student cards are currently in use at FMCS (depending on the date of issue) and all of them are successfully processed by the system.