No more skipping class: Loyola business professors track attendance with RFID tags

Two Loyola University New Orleans professors are using modern RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to save time in the classroom.

Small keychain tags like the one pictured here are used by Loyola business students to check in to class.

Finance professor Mehmet Dicle, Ph.D., and economics professor John Levendis, Ph.D. have been using the surprisingly cheap attendance system to great results. “I have about 75 students in each of my classes and spend between 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each one calling roll, instead of teaching,” Levendis said. “With the program we created, we’ve substantially reduced check in time.”

A similar University-wide program at Northern Arizona University was costly and riled up students concerned about privacy invasion. The system used at Loyola is different, and according to Dicle and Levendis, the students have given it rave reviews.

“Our system is completely voluntary and the computer chip is very weak. It cannot be tracked from within a few feet from the scanner. Plus, the whole operation is very inexpensive,” said Levendis.

“I have not had one complaint from any student about the use of the attendance tracker. In fact, the students who do comment on it say they like it because it’s quick, convenient, and fair,” said Dicle.

The scanner (one needed per professor) is portable and costs about $20. The chips registered to each student are less than 30 cents each and both the chips and scanner are readily available online and in electronics stores.

Watch the scanners in action here: