Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of computer software company Core Principle, developed “Class120,” an app aimed at holding students accountable for their class attendance.
For $17.99 per month or $200 per year, the app can track whether or not a student is in class, according to U.S. Today.
The student must first download the app to their phone and upload their class schedule. The state-of-the-art geolocation technology of the app then alerts parents if the student is in the classroom at the necessary times. The app inputs the layout of the given college campus and is then able to determine whether or not students are where they are supposed to be. The app does not alert parents of students’ whereabouts during times other than class.
Dr. Jason Barr, Associate Dean of the School of Education, said the app may be unnecessary, as parents that are concerned about their child’s attendance will be able to know if he/she goes to class regardless of the app. “Parents who want to monitor their children in college like this will do it whether or not there is an app available for doing it. I doubt that a parent who trusts their child and provides a lot of autonomy to their child would suddenly want to track their attendance if an app was made available,” said Barr.
“In other words, the app has no influence on the relationship between a parent and child,” continued Barr.
“If parents are paying for their child’s education, I think this is an excellent app,” said Antonia Popo, a senior social work student. “However, if they aren’t paying, then the student’s attendance is none of their business. It’s the students’ prerogative whether or not they want to attend class.”
Similarly, Dr. Judith Nye, an associate professor of psychology and Associate Vice President for Academic Foundations, said she feels the app may be an intrusion of privacy, and that a parent who wants to know about class attendance can do so in a less domineering fashion.
“I would think that parents would get the same effect by querying their students about their classes on a regular basis. Pursuing this alternative has the added benefit of showing that parents are interested in what their students are learning, and encourages students to become more engaged in their educational experiences,” said Nye.
“Academic engagement is even more powerful than simple attendance in its positive effects on college (and career) success. I would think that most parents would be far more comfortable playing the role of partner in student success, rather than attendance police,” said Nye.
Nye added that college students, experiencing independent responsibility for the first time, have the right to pursue those responsibilities without interference from their parents.
Members of the student body said that the deciding factor in the justification of the app is whether the parent or the student is paying for the education.
Freshman **MAJOR** Jake Marciniak said he believes that for the parents that pay for their child’s education, they have an obligation to go to class.
“Higher education is a privilege for students, and most of the funds are paid for by their parents, so they definitely have the right to know whether or not their child goes to class,” said Marciniak.
“I think if a student is paying the tuition himself/herself, they have no obligation to tell their parents about any aspect of college life.
The app’s main objective is to prepare students for the workforce by teaching them the importance of punctuality and reliability. Many universities implement various policies on class attendance. For example, if a student misses a certain amount of classes throughout the semester, a professor may subtract a letter grade.
Policies like this reinforce the idea that attendance is critical to academic success, and that an aware parent will better be able to redirect their child’s mistakes if needed.
The hefty price of $17.99 per month or $200 per year has also garnered some criticism for the app. Supporters of the app have noted that the app’s fee is worth the monitoring of attendance, rather than the thousands lost in tuition fees that lead to failure.
Diane Branco, mother of graduate student Anthony Branco, said that a confident parent will not have to purchase this app, as the trust in her child reassures her confidence in his attendance.
“A college student is an adult, so there is no reason for me to make sure he goes to class,” said Branco. “It is his responsibility, and I trust that I have instilled in him the discipline to attend class on a regular basis.”
PHOTOS COURTESY of Kiera Lanni