I am in a university, and roll call can take 15 minutes at every class sometimes, so I was looking for roll call software.


  • Check all students from a data list
  • Make a list of students who were absent
  • The software can take any shape and form, but reference of use at another school/university would be greatly appreciated
  • Either Windows/Mac/Linux/webapp
  • 1
    I don't think a software solution is the best way to approach this. My previous university used a student ID chip card that you scan while entering the lecture room. Before that, they were passing around signature tables. – Tymric Jun 10 '15 at 22:04
  • yeah.. I deleted software from the title. The problem with student ID cards is that you can pass the cards from your friends – whitenoisedb Jun 10 '15 at 23:03
  • 1
    Not if a person is scanning the cards (the same person who would have been calling the names). A question is off-topic on this site if it's not about software recommendation. So either try to make it only about software or move it to another StackExchange site – Tymric Jun 10 '15 at 23:14
  • 1
    Welcome to Software Recommendations! Please note this site is about recommending software, not assets like howtos, manuals, multi-media content, references, etc.. – Izzy Jun 10 '15 at 23:57
  • mm you're right. I'm near off-topic. So how about the software that runs the student ID card system, what's its name? – whitenoisedb Jun 10 '15 at 23:59

Use Face Recognition

You could consider using a face recognition program to do your roll call.

Most educational establishments these days already have ID photographs of all the students so that part is easy and presumably you have a list of who is expected to attend any given session and possibly who might attend as an option.

As Attendee Sign In

Possibly have a PC with a web cam near the door and have each student click a button to register on the way in - the camera would take the shot and run the recognition algorithm - if the face is matched that student is marked as attending, if not the student is asked to type in their name and that stored with the photo for you, or someone, to check later against the name entered - with a clear proviso that non-attendees who get someone else to sign in for them and that person will both receive demerits or other penalties. The only time that you might have a problem would be if you have identical twins on the course - possibly you could require them to both sign in at once.

As a Roll Call

As an advanced option, or a later project, the same basic code could be extended to use a, possibly software controlled, camera on or above the lecturers stage to scan the attendees, looking for matches and highlighting those that it doesn't match on the lecturers screen with a drop down list of possible attendees, (less all those already matched), for a manual roll call. This would avoid possible log jams at the door and if it only matched 60% of faces would reduce the roll call from 20 minutes to 5 or so.

Some FREE software to help do the job

OpenCV now includes some face recognition algorithms so with a little Python the task becomes quite simple - there even a paper on the OpenCV site that describes how to do the face recognition and includes the source code to match.

Developing such a Project

Starting from that paper, and building up the rest of the system, should be a relatively simple, but interesting, project that, if you do not have the time and/or necessary skills, could easily be set as a project for one of your Universities software courses.

Finance & Costs

All of the software mentioned above is free as in gratis and open source. I would also suggest developing it as an Open Source project as I am sure that other educational establishments might be interested in something similar and as a student project getting involved in the open source development world is a great experience.

  • In case of develop such a project I totally agree it should be open-source. I'm not sure if Face Recognition would be a good option in my university. Maybe I should take a look at student RFID cards. Anyway, I knew about OpenCV but didn't know it now includes face recognition algorithms. Thanks for sharing your ideas – whitenoisedb Jun 11 '15 at 15:09
  • I did forget that dress codes in some cultures/regions do make face recognition less of an option. – Steve Barnes Jun 11 '15 at 15:21
  • It's great, I should consider it, but it could also be something to make fun of, in a good and bad way, at least in my culture. – whitenoisedb Jun 11 '15 at 16:01
  • Maybe it would be possible to route things towards the good way - comedy/humor can be a powerful force or a valuable educational tool when used subtly. – Steve Barnes Jun 11 '15 at 17:06
  • Yes. Do you think it would be accurate on extreme cases where a student may change his/her look? (haircut, hair color, piercings, etc) – whitenoisedb Jun 11 '15 at 17:29

You might consider NoahFace, which has an iPad based attendance application using facial recognition. See screenshot.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.