ID scanning to bring efficiency to forums


by Angela Niesz

Paper forum cards may become history as the idea of scanning Simpson ID cards at forum events gains popularity.

Brian Steffen, Simpson forum director and professor and chair of the department of communications studies, is anticipating the transformation.

“We’ve been doing the card system for many years, in fact even before I came to Simpson in 1989,” Steffen said. “And it’s become a very cumbersome, non-green system tracking attendance that is also very inefficient and is very prone to error. “

Scanning the ID cards would prevent the issues that may occur when forum cards are lost.

“It’s not at all uncommon for a student to claim, ‘I did go to that event, but the card was lost somehow,'” Steffen said. “And as a result we are looking for better ways to track it.”

Sophomore Class President JoAnna Freeland shares Steffen’s view.

“The students won’t have to worry about a tangible card to turn in that might get lost,” Freeland said. “And they can just get their cards scanned in when they enter and scanned again when they leave.”

Senior Sheila Zander also sees the benefits of scanning ID cards versus having a paper to hand in.

“There’s more of a guarantee of getting credit for going to that forum event than the actual turning in of a card,” Zander said.

For students who may be worried about not being able to write in to their advisor or who they were there for, Steffen has some reassuring words.

“The material (of those who attended) will be uploaded into a database,” Steffen said. “It will generate a database that will tell you every student who scanned at each event. For example, if I am a faculty member and I’ve asked my class to go to an event I can simply go into that database and see who went and who didn’t. The only way you would not be counted as being there is if you weren’t there.”

The scanning system will also benefit the Registrar’s Office.

“It’ll make it a lot easier for faculty to check and see which of their students attended the forum event,” Freeland said. “And it will make it better for the (registrar’s) office because they will no longer have to go through piles of forum cards every week.”

Steffen emphasizes that scanning ID cards be easier for the faculty, too.

“We are always looking for ways to make life easier as we transition into a new curriculum where frankly, all faculty have quite a bit more administrative responsibility than they really have ever before in the history of the college,” Steffen said. “It’s really important to kind of find ways to improve efficiencies and not have faculty spending a lot of time on things that they really shouldn’t and don’t need to spend a lot of time on.”

Zander thinks the idea of the switch is beneficial.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Zander said. “I

think that it will eliminate the possibility of people forging forum cards just to get their friends in.”

The new system will be tested sometime this spring and will more than likely be put into full swing in the fall.