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The expert and the story behind our check-in technology

Stephanie Baxter
Senior Web and Applications Developer Stephanie Baxter is the brain behind the design of RGU’s self-check-in procedure for staff and students to use when entering and leaving campus buildings. In her community story, Stephanie shares a behind the scenes look at its production and possible additional uses.

Back in July, there were discussions held with university stakeholders on how to meet the Scottish Government’s requirement of recording contact details of all people who have accessed buildings on campus for Test & Protect. A decision was made that the best option would be to provide an online application to allow people to check themselves in and out of buildings. This would save on queues at receptions and remove any need for hardware to be installed at building entrances and exits.

Around mid-August, I was given the brief highlighting what was required and a deadline of the start of term to have it launched by. A little over five weeks for design, development, testing and launch was quite a challenge to be faced with! Thankfully, the requirements were brief: deliver a secure online platform to allow staff and students to log in, manage their contact details and check themselves in and out of buildings on campus; provide an administration interface and the ability to print off reports of people who were in a specific building at a certain date and time.

I decided to use a web framework for the structure of the app. It’s something we’ve used before within the team, so I could get going much more quickly than if I’d picked something that hadn’t been used in any of our other applications. Using this also means that other developers in the team can work on the application when required.

With every project my team gets together to scope out the requirements into individual tasks, each of which then gets assigned a time-to-complete value. We estimated that, with no interruptions, the site could be up and running within a month – no mean feat since a week with no interruptions is rare in our area of work. Following this discussion, we planned out a basic interface and I got to work scaffolding the application. After a few days I had the shell of the application built and the initial interfaces pulled together.

It took a few more weeks of development, but we managed to get the app out for testing two weeks ahead of the start of term. This gave us plenty of time to address any issues raised by the users who were doing the testing. We launched the app the week before the start of term, with marketing materials having been circulated to inform all staff and students that they should make use of the check-in site from the first day of term.

Since the site launched, it has been in regular use by people across campus. We have also added functionality to allow visitors to check themselves in and out of locations, which was requested by RGU Sport to avoid having long queues at the reception desk for each session or activity. We are also preparing to add more reporting functionality to provide information on when buildings are busiest, which will help to manage buildings being over or under-utilised.

Our self-check-in procedure is for staff and students to use when entering and leaving university buildings. It is fast, secure, easy-to-use, and will help support social distancing.

Head to to access the procedure from any internet-connected mobile device.

This procedure runs alongside, and is complementary to, NHS Scotland’s Test & Protect app which the university also recommends staff and students use to further protect our university community and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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