Ditch Your Biometric Scanner: Four Reasons Why Software Is A Better Attendance Solution
Software provides the same level of compliant verification with more flexibility and a better student and staff experience than biometric scanners.
When biometric scanners rose to prominence as a secure way to track attendance, they solved a critical problem for career colleges. Finally, when auditors arrived, schools could verify student identity without question. However, while biometric scanners solved one need, they created new challenges like manual data entry, poor student experience, and more.
Software built specifically for career colleges solves many problems that biometric scanners fail to address while ensuring compliance and simplifying back-office operations. Here are four reasons to ditch your biometric hand scanner in favor of a more compliant, efficient, and cost-effective attendance software.
1. Biometric scanners require significant manual data entry
Biometric scanners require significant administrator and instructor time spent on manual data entry. After downloading data from the scanner, administrators must enter it into the SIS to view a student’s full attendance history, including LDA and FDA. If a program also has an asynchronous component, administrators must pull that data from yet another system and enter it into the SIS. As a result, they may not have a clear view of a student’s risk status until entering the data. Plus, anytime staff enters data by hand, that data is open to human error and could cause compliance issues.
Many biometric scanners are connected to a single computer, requiring administrators and instructors to take turns managing attendance. Before OCM Boces implemented a mobile attendance software, administrators had to create a schedule for teachers to use one specific computer to adjust student time. If they wanted to change a student’s time outside that window, they would have to wait.
With mobile attendance software, students can check into class using their devices. That data is automatically transferred into the SIS, eliminating the need for manual data entry. Additionally, administrators and instructors to access and change attendance data from any internet-enabled device. Instead of waiting for their turn on a computer, instructors can edit time at their convenience.
2. Biometric create a poor student experience
Biometric scanners simply don’t create a good student experience. Students don’t enjoy waiting in long lines at the beginning and end of class. If a student is in a hurry after class, they’re more likely to skip clocking out altogether and request that an instructor change their time later.
Additionally, not every student feels comfortable with biometric scanners. Retinal scanners can be very disconcerting, and some students would prefer not to be on a thumb scanner for personal reasons. Plus, biometric data is highly valuable and properly storing it is critical. Some companies have also been subject to lawsuits for how their biometric data is stored.
With a software solution, students can check in on their mobile devices. For example, 50 students checking into class on one biometric scanner is time-consuming, but 50 students checking in on their devices takes less than 5 seconds. Students can check in via QR-code, sound wave, or using the Face/Fingerprint ID already stored on their device.
Because biometric scanners require extensive manual data entry, students don’t have a real-time view of their progress. They have to wait weeks, if not longer, to receive progress reports, or they have to seek out a report from busy administrators who may be fielding dozens of progress requests alongside their other duties. Software attendance solutions allow students to see their progress in real time through a mobile app. Plus, students have a complete view of both asynchronous and synchronous learning.
3. Biometric scanners do not allow for flexibility in learning environments
Biometric scanners are useless should your school transition online or should students move off-site for externships. DeHart Technical School, an HVAC and plumbing school in California, ditched its biometric scanner when COVID-19 first shut down schools. After a partial return to campus, DeHart ditched its biometric scanner in favor of a QR-code attendance solution that allowed students to check in securely online and in person. To maintain social distancing, DeHart held many classes outdoors, but California wildfire smoke pushed them inside. A mobile attendance solution allowed DeHart to remain adaptable and continue educating its students. The unfortunate reality of our world is that wildfires and other natural disasters are increasingly common. Schools, particularly clock hour schools that require hundreds of hours in a limited timeframe, need to be prepared to adapt to unexpected changes.
4. Biometric scanners are an expensive investment
Regardless of school size, biometric scanners can cost thousands of dollars to implement. Should a biometric scanner break or get damaged, that’s an added expense for repairs. Biometric scanners are also largely a fixed cost because you’re paying for the hardware itself. If your school wants to scale with more students, square footage, or externship sites, you’re looking at additional up-front costs of thousands of dollars.
A software solution is quick to implement and comes without the risk of depreciating hardware. Want to add 50 students or open a new building? Simple. Students download the app, and you pay per student without purchasing a new system.
Simplify with software
Software-based attendance solutions create a better student, instructor, and administrator experience at your school while improving oversight into potential retention and compliance risks. Request a demo below if you’d like to learn more about how CourseKey’s secure attendance software can support your school.