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Give QR Codes the Old College Try

by Rachel E.
Let’s be frank, smartphones have become one of the most important devices in our daily lives. You hear it every day: “Siri, where should I grab lunch?” or “Siri, give me the definition of widdershins.” The popular iOS personal assistant/knowledge navigator will even call you by your preferred nickname. We’ve all built dependent relationships with our smartphones, expecting the information we request to be delivered promptly and conveniently. Personally speaking, as a college student and among the young adult smartphone-crazed generation, I think universities would benefit from a better integration of smartphones on campus. And QR Codes are the intelligent way to make this happen. QR Codes are used to connect the physical world to the digital realm. Businesses place QR Codes on their in-store ads, marketing campaigns and product packaging to provide consumers with features and benefits, reviews, video content, the chance to redeem coupons and so much more. Likewise, colleges and universities could integrate QR Codes to make the school experience less confusing and more fulfilling, not only for upcoming freshmen, but also for the entire student body. I can imagine QR Codes just about anywhere on a college campus: on the directory, in the library, at the student center, or outside the classrooms; the list goes on. These QR Codes would provide student with useful information they need throughout the day.

QR Codes Education

College can be an intimidating and a puzzling experience for new students, especially in their first few days. QR Codes would make all that easier, helping them locate their next class or get the best deals on expensive textbooks. Codes could provide access to the college’s website where students could get information on professors, library hours, the school’s calendar of events, clubs, job opportunities, and tutoring sessions. Professors could also use this engaging tool to communicate more effectively with their students. For example, adding a QR Code on homework sheets could transport students to further reading on a particular subject.  Scanning the code might also provide access to sample quizzes and tutorials. Other professors might post a QR Code on the classroom door as a method of easily marking attendance. Some colleges are already taking advantage of this useful and innovative tool. Washington and Lee University staff wore T-shirts with QR Codes during freshmen orientation. The codes linked to valuable information such as how to set up a password for school email accounts, and the contact numbers for important campus services. Hamilton College used QR Codes on high school recruiting posters to differentiate its message from other university ads on the wall.  Students were instantly attracted to the unique ad and therefore scanned the code. City University of New York (CUNY) even incorporated QR Codes into ads, a location where people have plenty of time -- and a smartphone on hand; although cell service is hit or miss in the New York Subways, so maybe that’s not the best place for a QR Code.  I had to refresh the scan once above ground. QR Codes are incredibly beneficial for students, professors, and staff members within an active college environment.  In this era of technology, QR Codes are the smart way to engage with the student body and share important information.  Scanning makes it easy. So, yes, it’s time to give QR Codes the old college try.  And just in case Siri is busy right now, “widdershins” means counterclockwise, or in a left-handed direction.

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