FETC Meets Session Tracking Challenges

February 6, 2019

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The Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) is the nation’s largest independent education technology event focused on leveraging technology to drive student success. Now celebrating its 39th year, FETC draws nearly 10,000 qualified education technology decision makers from across the U.S. and around the world.

Educational sessions and workshops are a significant part of the conference. This year, there were more than 600 sessions spread out across 168 locations throughout the Orlando Convention Center North and South as well as the Hyatt Hotel that needed to be tracked for continuing education credits. Session tracking can be complex, so FETC’s challenge was finding a registration partner that could manage the process quickly and effectively, allowing FETC to concentrate on the event.

Convention Data Services (CDS) provided Tracker session tracking for FETC. Included with Tracker was all the equipment needed onsite to check in attendees at all sessions as well as training, support, reporting, and providing certificates. FETC tracking was challenging because there were so many attendees, sessions, and classroom locations spread out over a large geographic area.

A collaborative effort was needed between CDS and FETC to ensure the event’s success. Setting up session tracking was a tremendous organizational undertaking in order to manage all the sessions being offered. Onsite requirements for equipment and staffing needed to be determined in advance through planning and constant communication.

Session tracking was performed on phones using a proprietary app created by CDS. Outside of each session room, a staff member was assigned to scan each attendee’s badge, which contained a unique QR code. This was done as attendees walked into the room or when they were seated. The system easily tracked attendees and deleted any duplicate scans in a session.

Before the event, CDS and FETC worked together to outline the session tracking framework so the system was ready to go onsite. Training, especially for temporary onsite staff, was very important to ensure a smooth and accurate process in the fast-paced onsite environment. The Tracker technology easily configured for the next session without updating the hardware or requiring staff involvement. Having a date and time stamp with each scan allowed data to be pulled out as needed and codes changed quickly as sessions changed.

Session tracking at FETC 2018 was a success, and the streamlined onsite process quickly moved attendees through check-in. Throughout the course of four days, more than 600 sessions spanning 168 locations in three buildings were tracked— and all data was available in real time. More than 28,500 badges were scanned, allowing attendees to easily manage continuing education credits. CDS created a CEU page for attendees to access their session and credit information. By planning ahead and working as partners, CDS helped FETC overcome the challenges of detailed session tracking.