Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Skipping Class? Sensors Now Take the Roll"

An article in the May 7, 2010 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education (page A11) tells us that Northern Arizona University "is installing an electronic system that measures student attendance."

The system will be installed "using $75,000 in federal stimulus money," and will "detect the ID cards students are carrying as they enter large classrooms."

The opinions of exactly three people are mentioned in the article: The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, who favors the initiative, and two students who do not. The students, one of whom created a Facebook group resisting proximity cards, express the opinion that class attendance is a matter of free choice and individual responsibility.

I suspect that some students are in favor of the initiative, too - namely those who responsibly attend class and resent slackers who get a free pass.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director


Leonard said...

I don't know exactly how the system works, but if it is not highly sophisticated, students will easily learn how to game it by, for example, having their friends, bring their id's to class.

Ken Pimple said...

Leonard - According to the article, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs "doesn't expect students to try to game the system by, for instance, giving their ID cards to friends who will attend the classes. 'The extent to which that happens is most likely to be very minimal,' she says. 'I don't believe in designing a policy or a system to address the outliers.'"

All in favor of rewarding cheaters, say "Aye."

- Ken