Automating Interactions with Web Services : NFC based attendance software in Java

University essay from KTH/Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab); KTH/Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)

Abstract:

Today we use an obsolete way of handling information regarding which student and/or teacher is attending which class/lab/seminar, attendance is written down on a piece of paper and collected so that an administrator can manually enter this information to some data processing system.

This method is far from optimal and demands a lot of time and resources from administrators, teachers, and students. Correct gathering of attendance is important since it is required for specific parts of some courses. We propose to automate the collection of this attendance data, thus enabling students and teachers to simply swipe their NFC-enabled KTH access card in order to enter their name on an attendance list. This will be achieved by creating an application that adds a student to an attendance list by reading information using a NFC/RFID reader and mapping the card’s UID to a KTHID (a locally unique identifier used within the university) using a database. The resulting attendance list should be formatted in such a fashion that it can easily be uploaded to systems such as KTH Social and Daisy. Ideally these systems will be extended so that instructors/teachers can use this attendance list to automatically create the appropriate entries in these systems to record the student’s participation in the indicated activity – in the process avoiding a lot of manual labor and improving the accuracy of the process.

An additional problem is that there is currently no unified system that connects the KTH access card database (BRAVIDA) to the KTH LDAP database (which stores information about KTH students, faculty, and staff). This means that each student’s access card UID must manually be added to a database together with the student’s KTHID. However, once this database entry has been made, we can then map from a card number to a KTHID (or the reverse).

The purpose behind and expected result of this thesis is a functional prototype of an application that creates an attendance list by reading data from the student or teacher’s access cards using a NFC reader. This will hopefully stimulate further digitalization in KTH and also encourage more courses to utilize such access card based attendance lists. The result should be less manual effort by students, faculty, and staff, as well as more accurate and timely filing of attendance information for courses.

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