Classroom QR codes to boost UNC Emergency Preparedness

QR codes - University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina is using the barcodes and an app to improve safety.

A group of University of North Carolina (UNC) faculty, including representatives from Campus Safety, University Police, the Center for Faculty Excellence, biology professor Kelly Hogan and others have developed and launch new emergency preparedness projects including classroom QR codes.

The barcodes are placed on the podiums of large lecture halls to inform faculty in case of emergency.

Scanning the QR codes provides the faculty member – or whoever else happens to be at the front of the lecture hall at the time – with a checklist of emergency instructions. This helps to ensure that faculty are familiar with both the facilities of their classroom and its emergency procedures.

QR codes - Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Professor Hogan found that this was a particularly important measure when she found herself in a classroom without a locking door when an emergency occurred in 2015. Fortunately, in that case, it turned out to be a false alarm. That said, it was most certainly eye opening.

The barcode directs users to a “resource hub” created by Campus Safety. This includes the emergency checklist in addition to information about the types of locking mechanisms in the classroom.

The QR codes provide an efficient and affordable way to ensure faculty have the emergency information.

“I think people are starting to become more aware, and putting the QR codes on the consoles in the classroom and announcing it is something we’re gonna have to do every semester to remind people until it becomes habit,” explained Hogan.

The QR code is also available on classroom computer login pages, ensuring that it is the first thing professors will see when they access their computers, even ahead of logging in. To further support this strategy, every instructor teaching in applicable classrooms receives an email at the beginning of each semester, providing a link to the barcode and additional safety and emergency preparedness information.

“So regardless of if it’s before something happens, during a disruption or after that, they can familiarize themselves and know that they can access that to provide some guidance to them,” explained Campus Safety emergency management and planning director Darrell Jeter.

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