MESA revamps club sign-in process

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In efforts to speed up the member sign-in process, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) utilized technology to create a paperless method of checking in its members.

This new technique uses barcode scanning apps on smartphones to capture information from the barcodes on student identification (ID) cards. During the beginning of meetings, MESA cabinet members go around and scan members’ ID cards to take attendance.

Previously, members signed in by checking their names off from a list. The time-consuming nature and inefficiency of the process inspired MESA adviser Nicolas Nguyen to innovate an alternative method.

“The key is to make [the process] more efficient and user friendly,” Nguyen said. “Because we are in such a push for [Science Technology Engineering Mathematics] learning, the question is how we can take advantage of [technology] to help people function more efficiently.”

Nguyen looked at the technologies, such as smartphones and barcodes, that students use on a daily basis, and came up with the idea of using these conveniences for club purposes. He then proposed his idea of scanning student ID cards to his MESA cabinet members, who used his idea as the basis for the club’s new sign-in process.

Secretary of MESA and President of National Honor Society (NHS) Calvin Phung tested this new procedure during meetings and felt that it was more efficient than the previous system. Behind the scenes, Phung created a “spreadsheet system that automatically counted the IDs” and assigned hours to members accordingly.

“I could copy and paste lists [of IDs] onto the spreadsheet,” Phung said. “With traditional paper sign ins, I would have to type all the IDs down and sort them. This system reduces my workload by a lot.”

While being more efficient than than paper sign ins, Phung found a major drawback in using barcode scanning apps. The process was spread out among multiple cabinet members, making it “a little messy.” Cabinet members who helped with the sign ins would have to email their lists to Phung. Still, Phung believed that the system was better than the previous one and integrated it into NHS. He “thinks the system should be implemented for a lot of large clubs.”

Though the process has not yet been perfected, it has helped MESA expedite the member sign in process for meetings. MESA cabinet members and Nguyen will be working on ways to improve this technique.

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