Provider Best Practices
By Jean Feroldi, Assoc. AIA
Specialist, Continuing Education Review
Reporting Course Attendance Using QR Code Technology
The AIA CES team strives to support our Providers in delivering the best education courses for AIA members while improving the process of submitting courses and posting credits to member transcripts. We are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and ideas to help Providers present valuable content and materials, engage adult learners, and navigate the CES Discovery software with efficiency. Whether we are refining our education and presentation resources or troubleshooting software technical difficulties, the AIA CES team is committed to enhancing the CES experience for both members and Providers.
Recently, in an effort to improve the course attendance reporting process for Providers, our team has been exploring alternative options for expediting this necessary responsibility. While our software provides a basic way to report attendance by individual member, it is sometimes not the most ideal way to record attendance when dealing with a large number of same-day courses or hundreds of attendees. While we investigate new technologies with potential to improve Provider operations, we are intrigued and inspired when unexpected ideas are presented to us by Providers themselves.
Earlier in the summer, the Society for College and University Planning’s Associate Director for Education and Product Development, Kathy Benton, approached AIA CES about using Quick Response (QR) codes to report attendance for their annual conference, SCUP- 47 Make No Isolated Plans—Integration For Educational Quality. As an organization that reports continuing education credits to many associations, SCUP was interested in an innovative way to ease the process and post credits to various transcripts in a timely manner. It was a bonus that QR code technology came with very little cost.
While QR codes were familiar to me - I’d seen them posted on bus stops, cereal boxes, and ticket stubs – I was unaware of how they could be used in reporting attendance to AIA member transcripts. This past month, I had the opportunity to attend the SCUP-47 conference held in Chicago and speak to SCUP’s Professional Development Program Assistant Sadie Wutka about implementing QR codes for Provider programs.
In order to employ QR code technology in a way that would be supported by AIA CES Discovery credit reporting, SCUP relied on their staff to develop individual pages for each course of the conference. The pages provided full course details including a description and learning objectives with links to the course evaluation and attendance submission page. With a database of specific links to the conference’s courses, a QR code was then assigned to each course page.
Upon arriving at the conference and receiving my course program, I noticed individual QR codes alongside each course title. Reading through the conference instructions, I was directed to download a QR code reader to my smartphone to begin using my phone to record my attendance of sessions for the remainder of the conference.
When scanning a code for a session, I was presented a link to the course webpage where I could enter my name or conference identification number to submit my attendance for that course. Each attendee was required to record their attendance within twenty minutes of session start time in order to be credited for that course. For those without a smartphone or unforeseen technology conflicts, SCUP provided back-up paper forms for each course.
While there were some understandable workarounds to the QR code credit reporting solution, I was pleased with how easily I was able to navigate the system. SCUP was able to report credits to member transcripts within the mandatory 10 business day timeframe while minimizing the amount of manual data-entry. There were some obvious benefits to using QR codes for credit reporting and collecting evaluations and the technology was extremely accessible and relevant.
The AIA CES team continues to be inspired by how our Providers are pushing for quality and creativity in continuing education for architects. We would like to know what best practices you have developed or implemented as an AIA CES Provider.