Getting the right attendance and engagement solution

Monday, 9th October, 2017

Does your current attendance solution take up a lot of your time? Is it a monotonous task? Would you really like is an attendance solution that automatically tracks and records data and analyses it, so you understand how engaged your students are in campus life? Armed with this knowledge you can increase your retention rates by quickly working with at risk students. To help get the right attendance and engagement solution for your organisation, we have put together some basic questions for you to consider. The answers to these will guide your thinking towards the best solution for your university or college.

1. How many students do you need to track?
This is an important question to ask, as some attendance and engagement solutions are licenced based on student numbers, so obviously the more students you need to track the more expensive the solution gets. Your ideal solution should be licensed by organisation. For a large university there will be a high volume of attendance transactions being recorded, so you should consider the storage implications of all this data, and the speed at which it can be interrogated – a cloud-based option would offer significant benefits here.

2. How many locations will use this system?
Do you have a single site or multiple locations spread across a city or country? Make sure that any solution offers a licence that can be deployed across multiple locations without the need for additional costs being incurred. You should also seek out solutions that allow you to manage the data from these different sites via one management console and for the best results, in real time.

3. How do you want the data collected?
Make sure the options for how you collect data are flexible enough to suit your organisations current and future requirements, some solutions maybe restricted to ID cards and card readers (and of course, that may suit many organisations). However, others will want to take advantage of new technologies such as mobile apps, iBeacons and other contactless methods. It may suit your needs to have a single method of authentication or you may wish to use a combination. This will depend on your site locations and types of attendance you wish to record. For attendance at a lecture, a simple tap in and tap out option might be fine, but for a large event you may want to use iBeacons to quickly record a larger number of attendees. The key takeaway here is to look for a solution that offers you multiple options and suppliers that have the expertise to advise you of the best way to meet your needs.

4. Do you need to integrate your solution with other systems?
This is a key consideration during the selection process – many basic attendance solutions are standalone systems with no option to integrate with your other management tools, such as SIMS. Real time integration with other systems such as access control, curriculum planning or timetabling, gives administrators not only less systems to manage but an enhanced data set that provides deeper insights into attendance data as well as engagement levels, facility usage and academic management. Look for solutions that have the design and architecture to offer integration with existing core systems allowing you to maximise current investments rather than have to replace them. Additionally seek out suppliers that have the IT credentials to work effectively with your internal IT teams.

5. What additional benefits are you seeking?
These may range from reducing the time staff spend on administering attendance, improving your UKVI Tier 4 compliance reporting or better understanding of the true cost of student dropouts, to improving the student experience by offering a single identifier for all campus activity. Solutions that will contribute to these additional requirements without prohibitive additional costs will be worthy of your attention!

AIT offers a cloud based attendance and engagement monitoring solution that has been specifically developed to meet the needs of FE/HE organisations. This solutionenables an institution to progress from paper-based registers to automated data collection using a variety of automated data collection technology’s and as a result:

  • Academic staff can very quickly take registers and focus on the delivery of their lessons and lectures with minimum disruption.
  • Administration staff no longer needs to spend time updating spreadsheets and filing documents. The data is stored securely and the user configurable reporting tools enable data to be analysed quickly and easily.
  • Management can have direct oversight of levels of attendance by course /module/lecturer over any given period.
  • They can also have direct oversight of registers that are outstanding and measure attendance data.

AIT’s cloud based attendance and engagement monitoring solution delivers everything you need, it’s a management tool that drives and improves student retention and gives organisations a deeper understanding of how engaged their students are. To learn more about what AIT’s attendance and engagement solution has to offer click here.

Alternatively you can call us on 0113 273 0300 or email