According to a recent report from higher education-focused news media site EdScoop, the University of Alabama (UA) is getting set to continue on its path to digitize its services by deactivating all of its remaining stock of old magnetic strip cards this summer, in favor of a newer solution.
This move toward the digitization of the school’s services has its roots in the 2017 creation of the UA mobile student ID card, which was launched following the request for the technology by the student government. When the mobile ID launched it was part of a dual credential system, though that changed in 2020 when the university officially switched to a “mobile first” policy.
Since then, the more than 33,000 registered holders of these mobile IDs have been able to use their smartphones — the ID can be added to the Apple Wallet or Google Pay platforms — in campus dining rooms, residence halls, and at football games.
Janine Brooks, the Action Card director in charge of the project, said a key factor in making sure the digital transformation happened smoothly was listening to the concerns of the students and addressing them through clear communication.
“We listened to the questions they had about provisioning or about submitting their photos,” she said. “We take all those questions and put them on our website and into short training videos. Students, really that generation, prefer training videos — very short ones. A minute, minute-and-a-half would be the longest.”
The small number of staff and faculty that are still using the magnetic cards will have until July 13th before they are deactivated. The process was originally slated to happen last summer but, due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed until a more appropriate time for a full transition.