The Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M is asking students to swipe their university ID cards at all student center sponsored events and programs in an effort to better track attendance and engagement.
According to the center’s president, students and guests will swipe their IDs or state-issued driver licenses prior to an event. Students will swipe their IDs at laptop computers equipped with USB card readers.
Per a report from The Battalion, the new ID swipe protocol isn’t mandatory, so those who are unsettled by the idea can opt out. Some student-only events, however, will require mandatory student ID card swipes. The data obtained from the swipes, however, will assist the university’s student center in providing better and more desirable events.
Once a student swipes his or her card, the information is recorded on an Excel spreadsheet, which is then uploaded to a separate software program that is used to analyze attendance data. The swipe data will be collected for a wide range of events including lecture series, stage productions, movies, concerts and conferences.
The inclusion of driver licenses in the swipe data will help the student center to determine how many event attendees are practicing students versus members of the community or visiting guests of the university.
One possible sticking point for the project, however, is having students to bring their IDs to the events. Most of the event sponsored by the student center do not require the student ID card for entry, and there have been cases of students attending events without their ID card altogether. For those students who do swipe into events, however, demographic data will be logged along with their attendance.
According to the university, the software used can generate demographic data that includes age, race, college, university classification and housing status.