Check-in Applications with Argos are Music to University’s Ears
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University, in Massachusetts, was implementing a new program in which each Education major was to be issued an iPad to use as they fulfilled their student teaching requirements. Initially, they just needed to identify the correct students within the major and who were enrolled in student teaching courses. However, after identifying the students eligible to receive the loaner iPads, the University realized it’d be beneficial to have an application that would enable them to use that same information to check out and check in those iPads.
Bridgewater State was already using Evisions Argos as its enterprise reporting platform across campus. The staff member engaged to develop the solution was familiar with Argos, and the idea of connecting ERP data with a specific event seemed possible since the request started out as a report request for eligible students. The only additional equipment that was needed was a card reader.
Once built, the tool was demonstrated to IT administration, who approved it. BSU had created a solution that tied a tagged iPad to an individual using their school ID, a card reader, and Argos. The solution was simple, the card reader inexpensive, and the University could now provide an easy way to track iPad usage among its student teachers.
Not only did the combination of ERP data, Argos, and a card reader give the Education department what it needed, but it opened an array of opportunities to implement similar tools in various departments and organizations throughout the institution.
Soon after completing the card reader application for the Education Department, IT was approached by the Music Department to create a way to track attendance at performances. IT modified the iPad check-out application, producing a check-in tracker that would link a student to a specific music function.
After demonstrating the check-in application at a ‘technology day’ that highlighted new and existing applications and tools, the solution took off. Athletics uses it to check in students at the pool, fitness center, and various sporting events. New Student & Family Programs uses it for leader and new-student orientations. In all, over 30 departments and groups are utilizing the tool. They include:
- Career Services
- Pride Center
- Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice
- Wellness Committee Events
- Jumpstart Program (to track lending materials)
- Greater Boston Food Bank (tracks usage anonymously)
- Information Technology (for security awareness and other events)
Previously, Bridgewater State University had no specific data regarding attendance at any events on campus, let alone trend information about those attendees. This solution, due in part to its ease of use, has changed all that.
After users swipe their card using the card reader and the Argos application, they are tracked as attending an event/using a service/borrowing equipment. The user data – plus whatever information the check-in application was tracking (day, time, event type, equipment type, etc.) – is stored in a behind-the-scenes table in the ERP (Ellucian Banner). Check-in application users can then run reports in Argos that pull the event data into a report with other Banner data such as student demographics, enrollment, major, etc.
Since implementing the check-in application, end-users at the university have shared that their marketing and communication efforts are more informed and that they’ve been able to use their audience data to better shape future events and decisions.
The program is exactly what we need, plus it’s easy to use. The program is more than I ever expected…
Using the check-in app went swimmingly at our first event! I handed the student worker the attached directions to see if she could figure it out – and she did, easily. When I checked back in with her about 10 minutes in, she said, ‘this is a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.
This is a classic example of innovation in action. By thinking outside the box, IT staff were able to design a low-cost solution that drives data-driven decision making and promotes student success.