How do I use a Student ID Card Reader with my Trac system?
Barcode Scanners and Magnetic Strip Readers are input devices just as a keyboard or mouse. They can simply be added to your Trac product and you have several options to consider when implementing a card reader in your Trac installation. In addition to the student ID, your Trac product can accomodate a barcode field and a card reader may be used to log students in and out.
What scanners are compatible with my Trac product?
Because scanners are input devices like keyboards, they are all compatible with your Trac product. When considering your card reader options, be sure to check the server requirements and compatibility with your web browsers and Student ID cards. When the reader is compatible with your browser and ID cards, it will function with your Trac product.
How do the card readers work with my Trac system?
A card reader deciphers the scanned data and then enters that data at the cursor's current location. Your Trac system stores a handful of ID options: Student ID, Barcode, and Username are a few of these choices. If your ID cards only contain the Student ID, then you are all set. Hook up the card reader, scan the student's ID card, and log the student in for their visit. However, if your ID cards contain information that does not exactly match the Student ID, then either the card reader needs to be programmed or your Trac application needs to be programmed to convert the scanned data to the correct ID.
Program your card scanner to modify the scanned ID
Not all card readers have the capability to be programmed to modify the scan; be sure to familiarize yourself with your scanner and its capabilities. If you can program your scanner/reader, then follow the instructions from the scanner documentation to modify the scan output. You should modify the output to match the Student ID number.
Program your Trac product to modify the scanned ID
If the ID cards contain more information than just the Student ID and the card scanner/reader cannot modify the scanned data, then you will need to implement a barcode script in your Trac system preferences to adjust the scan. A few things will need to be in place in order to modify the scan:
- The ID portion of the scanned data needs to be in the Barcode field of your student records
- Scan a Student ID card into a text editor, such as Notepad, WordPad, or TextEdit
- Email the scanned data to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the matching Student ID or Barcode
Redrock Software will use the supplied information to create a script that will modify the scanned data as it checks for a matching student record. The modified scan data is only checked against the student Barcodes, so you must have barcodes in your student records to use the scanner/reader. Student barcodes are typically imported with the student data from your student information system (see Importing Student Data).
Types of Scanners
TutorTrac accomodates any model or type of barcode scanner or magnetic card reader. The scanner/reader must be able to read the type of printed barcode or magnetic strip on the student's ID card. Here are a few types of scanners:
- Wand scanners that must be swiped across the barcode
- Laser scanners that may be aimed and triggered to read the barcode
- Mounted scanners that allow the ID card to be placed under the laser of the barcode scanner
- Mounted or hand held card readers that allow the ID card to be swiped through the reader
Barcode Scanner and Card Reader Resources
Because your Trac product is compatible with all scanners/readers, Redrock Software does not endorse or recommend any particular manufacturer or retailer. Before purchasing a scanner/reader, you may want to check with your college/university library or fitness center; they may use a scanner/reader and can share their experience. They may even have an extra scanner or a contact to purchase another scanner.
Where do I purchase a Scanner/Reader?
There are many online and local retailers that offer barcode scanners and magnetic card readers. You can perform a search on any search engine to find many sources to purchase a card scanner or reader:
Several manufacturers offer a variety of types of scanners. Be sure to research your scanner as well as the manufacturer. If you have difficulties with your scanner/reader you will most likely be contacting the manufacturer for support, so review their support and documentation prior to any purchase.