Students returning to campus this fall semester have encountered many changes. Perhaps one of the most significant changes is the new chapel QR code scanning system. Last year chapel credit was given using a scanning system where students could use their student IDs to scan in and out of chapel.
At first, the QR code system created some confusion and frustration amongst the student body when the first chapel took place. However, Dr. Chris Confer, assistant provost and dean of students, believes that this was the best move for AU and the student body.
“Most students didn’t know, but the original scanner system being used had some glitches, and by the end of last semester it ended with an error, and fixing it was going to be expensive,” says Confer.
Last year, AU developed their university app as a resource for students living on campus. Among the app’s features is one that allows students to access the QR code scanner, which is located at the top, left-hand corner.
Confer said, “Since AU invested their time and money creating the app for students, it seemed to make sense to utilize it further by having the QR code scanner built into the app.
“We feel the app is a great place to have students connected and part of the campus,” says Confer. “The thought process behind this, and a positive as well, is that students can use the QR code system for other campus activities such as CAB events and sporting events.”
The implementation of QR scanners has primarily affected sophomores and upperclassmen, since freshmen were unaware of the previous system. With some frustration here and there, students’ complaints and concerns have been heard.
“The people working behind the scenes, namely the Reardon staff, ushers and Dr. Confer, have been very attentive to listening to feedback and coming up with methods to make scanning out using the QR codes more user friendly and less time consuming,” says Campus Pastor Tamara Shelton. “This started with adding a few more codes at the door, then putting the code on the screen and now placing QR codes in the lobby.”
The switch to QR codes has allowed the student body to use the app that SGA have created. Additionally, using the app has made it easier for chapel attendance to be taken. The old system was occasionally faulty, causing students to miss out on chapel credits they earned.
There have been around 15 students who have had issues with the QR code scanning system, but Confer assures students that their app developer is working hard to figure out what the problem is with those particular students’ apps.
Senior Mara Meyer-Malian, a member of the spiritual advisory committee and a chapel usher, helps to plan chapels alongside others to create a strong spiritual atmosphere for students. In seeing the changes of how students scan in and out, Meyer has noticed that the switch to QR codes is overall a positive change.
“I think the usage of QR codes at chapel has really helped the speed of getting out of chapel,” says Meyer. “From chapel cards, to scanning IDs and now using the app—it has definitely improved over the years.”
Another problem students have noticed is that the WiFi is difficult to connect to, which may be a reason why the process of switching to the QR code system has been frustrating. In order to check out of chapel quickly, students’ phones require a stable WiFi connection.
“We are working closely with our IT staff to fix the problems with WiFi as efficiently as possible,” says Confer.
Changes on campus are unavoidable. Most changes, however, are made to benefit students, not to take away from their AU experience.
“Dr. Confer’s office manages chapel attendance, and I trusted that they are seeking methods to make this process more efficient,” says Shelton. “In addition to the changes that have already been made, the staff will continue to be attentive to evaluating how it is working and make changes as needed.”
Confer appreciates the students’ patience through this process of switching over and getting used to the QR code scanning system.
If students still have issues with the Raven Life app, they are encouraged to go to the left side of the lobby in Reardon after chapel is over to have staff help them get checked out and additionally to try to determine why their QR codes aren’t scanning.
“I hope that the check-out process will become second nature for students as we all get used to it,” says Shelton. “I am available and open for students with any of their thoughts and ideas related to Chapel, QR codes or otherwise. We want our time as a community together on Tuesdays and Thursdays to bring us together in meaningful ways.”