Canterbury students spared fuss with multi-purpose card

More than 13,000 students at Canterbury University are being spared the hassle of fumbling for various service cards this year.

More than 13,000 students at Canterbury University are being spared the hassle of fumbling for various service cards this year.

The university has integrated all its student card services, eliminating the need to carry four separate cards for student ID, photocopying services, library services and access to restricted areas.

Information services registrar Trevor Brown says it cost the university $90,000 to develop a system to interface with the Monitor photocopying system, Cardax door monitoring system, and Horizon library system.

"They all come from different suppliers and they're all proprietary," says Brown. "The major difficulty was getting everything co-ordinated and providing interfaces between these systems and the student system."

The card also accesses the student record system residing on an Oracle database.

Christchurch-based APS Credicard provided the hardware to make the cards and the software to provide the interfaces.

"The system is PC-based and has to obtain information from the student system, including various ID numbers for each of the proprietary systems. The software also has to capture the image of the student and the student's PIN."

The card has a barcode on the front which is used for library borrowing and a magnetic stripe on the back with one track for Cardax and another for the Monitor photocopying system.

The card identifies the student and checks to see how much money they have in an account. No money value is stored on the card. Instead, students deposit money into their accounts at cash loading machines in the library.

Brown says the students will soon be able to pay for phone calls and he is keen to implement the service for Internet accounts.

"The major problem there is within the accounting system used by the university." The cards also helped slash queues during enrolment this year. "On our best day we processed 2163 students and we issued a total of over 8000 cards during enrolment week. We did have queues of up to an hour long but we expect that with additional cameras and printers next year the queues will be eliminated."

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