Background and Aim
The previous Attendance Monitoring process was manual, which meant it was time-consuming for staff, slow and ran the risk of manual errors.
Hence, the aim of this project was to implement a new electronic, automated attendance monitoring system to significantly reduce manual effort and provide better visibility and reporting for staff, thereby enabling them to provide timely and better support/intervention for students where necessary.
The solution consists of the following:
- Attendance Monitoring module (Offline Attendance – OLA) within the CELCAT system
- CELCAT Timetabling - upgraded (from v7) to the latest version (v8) in order to exploit new capability and ensure full supportability.
- Swipe-in card readers installed in rooms/locations around St Mary’s sites which previously did not have them. For off-campus locations where it is not possible/practical to have card-readers, lecturers are able to log into the CELCAT system using the CELCAT web/mobile interface and update the registers there.
- Access Control system (ActWin Pro) – which hosts the card-readers has been upgraded (from ActWin Pro) to the latest version (from Act Enterprise) in order to ensure full supportability.
- Attendance Reports have been developed using SMRS (St Mary’s Reporting System) which is based on Microsoft SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services).
The new Attendance Monitoring solution was installed, configured and implemented by 17th September 2018, for the start of the 2018 / 2019 academic year.
Attendance is now being monitored for all students on all pre-sessional, foundation, degree and postgraduate taught programmes (including programmes of study with work placement) for all timetabled sessions (as scheduled in the St Mary’s Timetabling system, CELCAT) at St Mary’s sites including: Main campus (including sports pitches/track); Teddington Lock (including sports pitches); 60 Waldegrave Road; and The Exchange.
Untimetabled sessions such as tutorials (which are managed outside of the CELCAT timetable) are not being monitored automatically.
Students tap into the card-readers installed in teaching locations at St Mary's, with their St Mary's student ID Cards. This information is matched against their planned attendance, as scheduled in our Timetabling system (CELCAT).
If/when students are absent from timetabled sessions, they are not automatically emailed by the system. Instead, student attendance data is available to staff (as appropriate for their role), who will contact the student if/when necessary.
Reports are produced nightly and give varying levels of detail of students’ attendance at Programme(s) and/or module(s) level or for an individual student.