Easy sign-up and attendance tracking using University Cards

IT Innovation ChallengesStaff project based in the Medical Sciences Office and IT Services

Hilary round 2015

For more information, please contact innovation@it.ox.ac.uk


Event attendance tracking and sign-up happens across the University. Participants are often required to crowd around, or circulate, and write their names on a list. This is slow and distracts participants from why they are there. In many cases it then requires time-consuming and error-prone deciphering of handwriting and rekeying.

This project aims to make this process as frictionless as possible by using the NFC (Near Field Communication) chips and barcodes on University cards to identify people to be added to a list. Organisers will be able to use an app for compatible phones; a web application for tablets, laptops or desktop computers with attached readers; or a low-cost dedicated device which could be plugged into an Ethernet socket to read the identity of the user from the card. For those who have forgotten their card, the phone app and web application will accept an Oxford SSO username, card number, or email address.

The various client options will use reusable web services to submit participant identifiers. A user-friendly administrative interface will allow those with appropriate permissions to create and manage lists of users, including specifying an expected or allowed list of sign-up users. The lists created will be viewable online or downloadable for use in other applications, such as to populate a mailing list. In the medium term, it should be possible to access these lists form other applications such as WebLearn and the mailing lists system.

Scenarios in which the system could be used include: event attendance (lectures, seminars, practicals, etc); student societies collecting email addresses at the OUSU Freshers’ Fair; and in-person electronic voting. The system will be extensible and will have the flexibility to cope with new use cases and the emergence of new card and reader technologies, as well as changes in the options for storage of groups.

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