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RFID Checks Student Attendance in Arizona

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the present-and-accounted-for dept.

Education 554

The student newspaper at UW-Madison is running a piece about the use of RFID to check lecture attendance at Northern Arizona University. One poster to an email discussion list suggested that getting around this system would be simple if "all one has to do is walk into a classroom with 10 RFID-enabled cards in their pocket." "The new system will use sensors to detect students' university identification cards when they enter classrooms, according to NAU spokesperson Tom Bauer. The data will be recorded and available for professors to examine. ... [The spokesman] added the sensors, paid for by federal stimulus money, initially would only be installed in large freshmen and sophomore classes with more than 50 students. NAU Student Body President Kathleen Templin said most students seem to be against the new system. She added students have started Facebook groups and petitions against the sensor system. ... One of the most popular Facebook groups ... has more than 1,400 members." What are the odds that the use of tracking RFID will expand over time on that campus?

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Attendence in college? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089744)

Come on now. These are adults. If they choose to skip class because they feel their time is better spent elsewhere, that's their business. If they're wrong, they'll be punished at exam time. No attendance checks are necessary.

Re:Attendence in college? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089800)

No, evidently they are cattle.

Re:Attendence in college? (0, Troll)

joaommp (685612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089894)

I don't know what the fuss is about. That's being done in some universities in Portugal for some years now.

Here's an interesting thought... (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090176)

How about just installing a jammer in the classrooms to defeat this? We are talking about less than a watt and about $100.

The professors would be stuck either with checking IDs, passing an attendance sheet (I used to sign in my friends who were off working to pay for school...easy defeat), or just forgetting it and going back to square one.

Re:Attendence in college? (4, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089812)

As someone that taught in a French university: "I don't f-ing care whether students come or not in my class". It is THEIR problem if they fail the exam and the mid term, not mine.

Re:Attendence in college? (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089880)

As someone that taught in a French university: "I don't f-ing care whether students come or not in my class". It is THEIR problem if they fail the exam and the mid term, not mine.

What I find entertaining is some students started a facebook page to protest their invasion of privacy. Isn't that IRONIC?

Re:Attendence in college? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090092)

No it's not. They decided to use facebook of their own accord knowing of the privacy issues, I don't think they joined the university with this in mind.
Explaining facebook privacy issues to everyone doesn't make you look smart, just antisocial. You don't have to use it, but don't pretend that makes you superior.

American universities are more like businesses. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089930)

Yes, but we're talking about an American university here.

American universities aren't exactly places of learning, like they are in Europe and elsewhere. They're more like businesses in many ways. Students pay them huge sums of money, and in return they expect a piece of paper saying they've got certain "qualifications".

The actual learning part isn't really a priority for many students. They pay, they perform the minimum amount of work necessary, and expect to pass, even if they haven't actually learned the material or earned the qualifications that they seek. This is especially true for students who went through Bush's "No Child Left Behind" system, where failure is unheard of, even when students had absolutely no grasp of the material in question.

When professors do fail these students, the end result is often legal action against the university. Claims of "discrimination" are thrown against the university and the professors, and regardless of the outcome, the university ends up dealing with some bad publicity and legal costs. So it makes sense why they'd try to cover their asses, and at least have something to show the courts to indicate that the students in question didn't even bother to try to learn the material.

Re:American universities are more like businesses. (3, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090202)

American universities aren't exactly places of learning, like they are in Europe and elsewhere.

QS World University Rankings (Top 20) [wikipedia.org] Therefore, you are a terrorist.

Re:Attendence in college? (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089828)

Honestly though the only classes that ever had attendance requirements were the classes that you could use study for only one hour before the exam and pass the class without attending a single class. Therefore the teachers felt the need to impose such strict and silly attendance requirements.

Re:Attendence in college? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089876)

Partial exception:

I had a politics class where most of what I learned came from the class discussion. In this case, I benefited from other people's attendance. By having an attendance policy (enforced by "participation points" ... lame but effective), the teacher managed to improve the education for everybody.

That said, I still think it's on the students' own heads if they don't come to class. They wouldn't be contributing to the discussion anyway -- good riddance.

Re:Attendence in college? (4, Insightful)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089998)

My wife is a professor of English lit, and her reaction was the same: if your class is so large that you can't take attendance by hand in a few seconds, then it's too large for discussion, and if it's not a discussion class, who cares if you attend?

Re:Attendence in college? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090010)

Students who feel forced to go to class by a system like this aren't likely to participate anyway. I skipped classes sometimes in classes that weren't required, but there were a few lower level classes that attendance was required (at UW-Madison) and I typically just kind of kept my head down and read the Badger Herald or Daily Cardinal. Haha, so timely with the source TFA.

Re:Attendence in college? (2, Interesting)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090022)

I had the exact opposite effect in my poly sci classes when I wish others wouldn't be there disrupting the class. Sure, we only had pagers and useless laptops at the time but they couldn't sit still, stop bothering others or stay quiet.


One of the best teachers (in philosophy even!) didn't take roll until the end of the class, when a lot of kids would sneak in and say "here." At least THAT way they didn't bother anyone (being useless in group activities).

Exams in college? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089852)

Come on now. These are adults. If they don't learn anything because they feel their time is better spent elsewhere, that's their business. If they're wrong, they'll be punished in their careers. No exams are necessary.

Re:Exams in college? (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089916)

That's not true, exams are required. They make the difference between attended university and graduated from university.

Re:Exams in college? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089966)

Come on now. These are adults. If they don't learn anything because they feel their time is better spent elsewhere, that's their business. If they're wrong, they'll be punished in their careers. No exams are necessary.

I'm sure sarcasm was intended, but this is often the truth. I don't place any value grades, exams, or school projects when hiring interns or fresh college hires (although I can't prevent HR from using that as a screening mechanism). Either you know how to code or you don't, and it doesn't take much to figure out which. No amount of success at exams will get you a job with me, only actual learning.

Re:Attendence in college? (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089862)

If they're wrong, they'll be punished at exam time.

Or, they turn around and blame the professor (and the school) for failing to teach them. And ask for their money back. If the school can demonstrate, that they have not attended the classes, they can defend themselves.

Re:Attendence in college? (4, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090000)

I support Barack Obama, but not his mission.

Great. Then I support Osama bin Laden, but not his mission.

Re:Attendence in college? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090208)

Great. Then I support Osama bin Laden, but not his mission.

Now, now--don't be a dick.

"their business" - or is it? (4, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089902)

With many students being denied entry into a particular college/university/etc. because they are at their supposed maximum capacity.. I, for one, would think it entirely that college/university's business to say "If you're not going to attend, gtfo - we'd rather have somebody who does." as a deterrent to future students who plan on low/no attendance.

Re:Attendence in college? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089942)

Indeed. This a lousy use of stimulus money. Universities really shouldn't grade students on attendance. I'm not so sure that skipping class is a great idea, but if students don't value their education (or at least, don't value the lectures) then stimulus money won't fix that. Just fail them and move on.

I'm not a professor, simply a TA, but I just hand out bad grades when that's what performance on the problem set indicates is proper.

Re:Attendence in college? (4, Insightful)

lambent (234167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089996)

not really. it is often the case that students skip lecture, and then don't properly learn the material. they then either slow down the pace of the class during labs and recitation, or ask stupid question that they should already know the answer to in lecture, or waste the teacher's and ta's time by getting additional instruction on things they should already be aware of. this all then negatively affects the performance of students who actually try to attend and do all of their work properly.

your conjecture would be correct, if the teaching staff would be willing to let these students fail. however, this often negatively reflects on the performance of the professor. thus, you have students that don't have the good grace to fail quietly, and teachers that have no option but to help them out. everyone suffers as a result.

this is a growing problem in academia. go to any university (there is undoubtedly some form of post-secondary institution geographically close to where you are right now), and ask any of the instructors about this problem. they'll have a lot to say about the subject. so much so, in fact, that they probably wouldn't think to ask why some random person is asking them about class attendance out of the blue.

They pay for class, if they skip going WHO CARES!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090054)

They pay for class, if they skip going WHO CARES!!

Re:Attendence in college? (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090076)

You don't understand, these are the basic indoctrination classes, if the students miss these the whole indoctrination program might fail. What would we do as a country if we have university graduates who think for themselves and don't automatically buy whatever the current Democratic Party line is?

Facetiousness aside, it appears that initially it will be used only for core curriculum classes that most students could pass by showing up for class only on test days and taking the tests (and completing whatever other assignements are handed out). When I was in college I discovered that any class that included attendance as part of the grade had no content that I needed to learn in order to fulfill requirements to pass the class (additionally, the class discussion would be so boring that it provided no motivation for being there either).

Re:Attendence in college? (3, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090102)

You know, I used to think that way when I was a student too.. then I worked at a college. at most state schools, the tuition does not even cover half the cost of class, the taxpayers are picking up the rest of the tab, because they are trying to make their communities better, by having educated people in them.

So the whole argument of "They are paying for it, so who cares if they skip" kind of falls flat. Taxpayers are funding a large portion of that. If you aren't going to go, then just drop out already, and make room and resource dollars for someone else, who will actually show up.

Re:Attendence in college? (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090108)

And in exchange for taking 10 guy's cards into the lecture with me, I'll be glad to use their on-campus meal points to feed the homeless.....

Re:Attendence in college? (2, Insightful)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090156)

Yeah, but Arizona has been on a roll lately. I think they should make skipping class a felony next, and give the police the power to break into dorm rooms and bring students to class by force :-)

Re:Attendence in college? (1)

Redber (1445911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090170)

In general, attendance is recorded to satisfy financial aid requirements.

Re:Attendence in college? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090182)

If they are adults, they don't need to hide what they're doing ?

Re:Attendence in college? (1)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090188)

Well then no one would listen to the blathering old idiots they put out to pasture to teach undergrad courses. They would read it in the texts or get the lecture of the internet. Damn if only I could have fast forwarded some of my profs' lectures.

closed mentality (5, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089746)

This comes from a scarcity, closed-system mentality: log and track access. Mostly people who still think this way have not been shown better ways.

They could have done it open: used the resources to video record the classes, and broadcast them on campus (They did this at Stanford when I was there). Students, if they find value in being in the classroom would go, otherwise they could watch the recorded version. Benefits for the students are time shifting, taking breaks as needed, and 1.5x speed playback are obvious examples. For the university, recordings create tools for distance learning, and open education initiatives. For everyone, building a more open approach builds goodwill, and can be used for dramatic marketing and PR advantage.

The whole essence of education works better when the student originates the driving motivation to learn. Putting in place systems that force learning on someone (for example, tracking attendance) while may seem to improve results short term, actually reduce success long term for the person.

Re:closed mentality (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090062)

I always found lectures to have mixed effectiveness. If the class is small enough that you can have a discussion with the professor, you can get some good information; provided everyone isn't mute. For large lectures (>50 people) that are predominantly slides or talking, I never got anything out of them. For some classes I got better grades sitting at home and reading the book during that period. Reading, for me at least, was more engaging than trying to absorb information through osmosis.

Why bother? (2, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089748)

At the college level...why bother? Seriously. These kids are paying for the privilege of being there, so if they want to sleep through or skip class, who is the school to say they shouldn't?

They get paid either way.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089786)

Damn there's gonna be a lot of redundant mods...which kinda sucks since we all posted the same crap at the same time pretty much.

To be fair, I got second place on the internets! That's not so bad, is it?

It is? Damn. :-(

Re:Why bother? (0, Redundant)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089914)

Did you notice how everyone kept saying the same thing? I bet there are going to be a ton of people downmodded for being redundant.

Re:Why bother? (0, Redundant)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089976)

I didn't see that, but now that you mention it, I bet a lot of people will get down-modded for being redundant.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090192)

Ricky Bobby says: "If you're not first, you're last."

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089802)

These kids are paying for the privilege of being there, so if they want to sleep through or skip class, who is the school to say they shouldn't?

Except what about when the education is being paid for by relatives or a scholarship? If I were paying a large sum of money to send my kids through college I'd expect them to attend.

Re:Why bother? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089948)

Yes, but the data aren't being reported to the person who pays (relatives or scholarships). It's going to the teachers instead.

Fortunately, attendance isn't what matters -- grades are. If you're paying for your kids' education, you'd better be tracking their grades. That's what most scholarship programs do already.

Why? (1, Redundant)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089750)

I could understand doing this for primary and secondary schools, but for a university?

Who cares if the consumer does not show up to receive the service he paid for?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089856)

Because the dolt that skips is taking up space that someone with a bit more interest in the subject matter could use.

What's next? Overbooking classes like airlines to account for the "skippers"?

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089928)

you mean they don't already do that? I know my local community college does for exactly that reason (and has done so since before I attended).

Re:Why? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089968)

If the classes are so easy you do not need to show up, the university has bigger problems than overbooking seat space.

Re:Why? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090212)

Depends on the class, and the particular student. I personally skipped almost all of Astronomy 101 and 102 in school (took them because they were easy science credits). I was so into Astronomy growing up and had already read so much that I know pretty much everything that was to be covered in introductory level classes. Since our whole grade was solely based on 3-4 tests whose dates were advertised, I mostly just showed up for the tests - and was scoring A+'s on all of them. When I took more advanced Astronomy clases later I hit material that I didn't already know, and hence attended lecture for those classes.

It wasn't so much that the classes were easy - just that I had already self-educated myself on those topics. I'm sure that the same situation plays out for different people with other topics that they've already researched outside of school.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089890)

Who cares if the consumer does not show up to receive the service he paid for?

While I'm not going to completely disagree with you, I think it's important to note that the notion that "the student is a customer" has some gotcha clauses.

Namely, at public universities (which are very common and typically have the largest student populations), a very large (usually a majority) portion of the tuition for in-state students is being subsidized by the government. Even tuition for out-of-state students is subsidized, though usually at a much lower rate.

In that regard, even though they're still paying something, suggesting that they are as a customer paying for the whole of their experience is misleading.

Also, a school has to have SOME standards, as the degree that they issue signifies to others some meaning about that person. Without that degree stating that the person has met some level of standards, the value of the degree for everyone holding it is diminished. Now whether or not those standards should extend to attendance is debatable, but there's plenty of justification for the university dictating terms which persons pursuing a degree must meet.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090172)

Also, a school has to have SOME standards, as the degree that they issue signifies to others some meaning about that person. Without that degree stating that the person has met some level of standards, the value of the degree for everyone holding it is diminished. Now whether or not those standards should extend to attendance is debatable, but there's plenty of justification for the university dictating terms which persons pursuing a degree must meet.

That is what the tests, exams, and pojects are for.... The few exceptions I can see for this would be for things like "Public Speaking", or "Film History", "Directed Study in Voice", or other "performance" classes where being there is needed to actually do the work. For 101 level english lit, math/calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., let them attend or not. The proof will be in the exams. I can tell you for a fact that I showed up to a total of 4 chemistry lectures and 2 biology lectures my Freshman year at college. My time was better spent elsewhere. I also received "A's" in both those subjects all Freshman year. You are now saying to yourself that I must have gone to a crappy college or something, but the reality was that I went to a VERY good High School and took all the AP level courses, I just didn't take the AP exam for college credit because the college I was going to would not accept AP credit for core classes, which as an engineering major, those were part of the core program, and were required to be taken at my college. Those classes were also a complete waste of my time.

Re:Why? (1)

flabordec (984984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090028)

Who cares if the consumer does not show up to receive the service he paid for?

The problem is that, at least in Mexico, most of the time the student is not paying for tuition but his parents are, and they do care that their spoiled idiot of a son who does not care about his own education enough to, you know, go to class is being forced to learn something

Useless numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089752)

Wow. Over 1,400 members? I guess that settles the matter.

PROFIT! (4, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089772)

1) Lobby for this in your state

2) Go back to college, target ones with huge classes and this RFID attendance checking system

3) Advertise that, for a small fee, you'll gladly take people's cards with you to class. Once you get to class, take a nap

???

Profit!

PROFIT II (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090146)

To really make a profit, target the party schools. The day after St. Patricks Day will see the biggest profit windfall!

Wait, why do they care? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089780)

In my classes, they didn't care if you showed up or not, you already paid your tuition. If you fail out, thats your problem and your lost cash.

I don't see why I would necessarily have to go to class if I knew the material. And I didn't always go to class when I knew what its about. Using VB to talk to Oracle? Boring. Anyways, I wasn't graded on my attendance, and neither should any university student. They talk about how its their job to prepare people for the working world, when its not. It's their job to educate you on the skills you need to work in the field, your work ethics are an entirely seperate subject they should not have a part in, unless you want to go to a class dedicated to that.

I dunno, I could see this working for elementary school, but not University.

Re:Wait, why do they care? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090114)

I don't see why I would necessarily have to go to class if I knew the material.

It is necessary because the first 13 years of school in the US is based on showing up. Actually learning anything is secondary at best. The population has been trained for generations that attendance is what matters. Is it any surprise that this mentality seeps into what should be higher education?

security / isecurity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089788)

This seems to be a completely opposite approach than on my school where one can unlock classrooms (that have not been blocked by priviledged cards) with ANY card from an unrelated issuer (of course with the same standard)

Location found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089792)

Location found! Behind the bicycle sheds with Sally.

Just a testbed project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089794)

for the greater population as a whole.

Similar Systems Already Used (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089804)

The use of rf clickers like the interwrite prs makes this old news. Some profs already use the "clickers" for attendance as well as for in-class participation. Most use it to give students a chance for extra credit and to get feedback from students. Off course at the end of the semester it all comes down to just getting the grade (sadly). Personally, students should be treated as if they were adults. They should be able to decide if they will go to class. I do not understand why these profs want to force people to go to their class when they do not want to go. It is better to have students who want to be there.

Stimulus? (4, Insightful)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089808)

How is ordering RFID-backed ID card blanks putting federal cash to work on "shovel-ready" projects?

Let me guess....campus maintenance staff would've been fired over the summer if they didn't need to set up card readers at the door to a few classrooms? Does anybody believe this stuff anymore?

Re:Stimulus? (3, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089892)

Shovel-ready Death Panels?

Re:Stimulus? (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089918)

How is ordering RFID-backed ID card blanks putting federal cash to work on "shovel-ready" projects?

Uh-oh... Do we see a growing resentment of "stimulus"? Perhaps, allowing the government to spend billions of our dollars is not, after all, a better idea, than to simply return it to us (the taxpayers)?

Is that a RFID-enabled card in your pocket? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089814)

One poster to an email discussion list suggested that getting around this system would be simple if "all one has to do is walk into a classroom with 10 RFID-enabled cards in their pocket."

They obviously need body-scanners to detect this sort of foul play.

I volunteer to watch the scanner to make sure no hot coeds try this.

Re:Is that a RFID-enabled card in your pocket? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089860)

full body scanners of course.

all one has to do is walk into a classroom with 10 RFID-enabled cards in their pocket

I was just thinking about that, it should be fairly easy to catch that sort of shenanigans. Just a matter of matching up timing on the cards to identify when the same two cards got to the same 7 classes at exactly the same time.

Getting ideas (1)

pinkishpunk (1461107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089830)

Seems like they have been reading Cory Doctorow`s little brother and got loads of great ideas from it.

Re:Getting ideas (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089838)

Seems like they have been reading Cory Doctorow`s little brother and got loads of great ideas from it.

Seems like the students should read the same book and get some ideas of their own.

not so easy to defeat... (1, Interesting)

alta (1263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089834)

all one has to do is walk into a classroom with 10 RFID-enabled cards in their pocket.

Not so easy...

Step 1. Threaten each student with expulsion if they try to defeat the system.
Step 2. Install a turnstile to make sure people enter at the optimum rate (maybe not even necessary)
Step 3. Set the scanner up to sound alarm and flash a light like it's walmart if it ever detects multiple cards at once. (thresholds adjustable)

Problem solved.

As a student, yes, I would hate that I would actually have to attend that class. Yes, I'm paying for it, so why shouldn't I come and go as I please.

And as a school, yes I have the responsibility to vouch that said student did actually come to the classes they claim they did when they show you that way overpriced framed piece of paper. Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (2, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089878)

You get your degree for passing, not attendance. Their passing of students is not contingent on their attendance necessarily.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090106)

Professors or assistant professors are paid to teach. If the instructors show up to class, and no one is there, is he still doing his job - i.e. working? If the institution's whole purpose if to award degrees for passing, why waste 4 years of your life attending an university? Just study from home and pay to take a test to get certification.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (2, Insightful)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089896)

And as a school, yes I have the responsibility to vouch that said student did actually come to the classes they claim they did when they show you that way overpriced framed piece of paper. Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees.

Really? That degree says you attended all your classes? Or just that you performed all the practicals and written exams to the satisfaction of the dean?

2bit schools selling degrees don't bother with exams.

Solution Already Exists - Test Hard, Test Often (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089952)

And as a school, yes I have the responsibility to vouch that said student did actually come to the classes they claim they did when they show you that way overpriced framed piece of paper. Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees.

Why waste money on this fancy RFID tracking system, like tracking cattle? If you want to force the hungover frat guys into class, hit em' where it really hurts, the grade book...

Test often and test hard, if they don't show up they won't pass. No "2bit school selling degrees" would do something like that. Also, build each class curriculum with detailed lectures that cover material that isn't found in the book. If they don't show up to class, they miss key points that are on tests. Or, they have to pay through the nose for lecture notes and study them.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089992)

And as a school, yes I have the responsibility to vouch that said student did actually come to the classes they claim they did when they show you that way overpriced framed piece of paper. Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees.

Seems schools considering this need to look over their core competencies to make sure education is one of them.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (1)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090006)

The university degree is a measure of competence not on attendance. You can still test out of many classes at an accredited university without needing to enroll at all. Moreover many classes can be taken online. Many professors most their material online and do nothing more than present the material in the textbook in class, so if a student doesn't feel it is a good use of time to go to class, they shouldn't have to go.

These kinds of standards have set a precedent that does NOT include attendance. The university does not care.

The people that are bothered the most are teachers, because teachers don't like to lecture to an empty classroom, and because they know that students who skip are usually the ones who fail. Teachers don't like to give out failing grades because it reflects badly on them, and also because it disrespects them to not show up to their classes.

I would feel violated to carry around a tracking device. If they want a more efficient electronic means of measuring attendance then I think having a card to swipe in (like a business) would be much less controversial.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090016)

And as a school, yes I have the responsibility to vouch that said student did actually come to the classes they claim they did when they show you that way overpriced framed piece of paper. Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees

No, actually, you don't have that responsibility. You have to ensure students that graduate have sufficient knowledge in the field of their studies, nothing more. This is what the final exam is for, and why it is worth so much of the grade.

If someone learned everything they needed to PRIOR to going to university, but they couldn't get a degree without taking the courses, shouldn't they have the right to not go to class and write the final? (Not all schools allow you to simply pay to challenge the course).

I know I learned a lot about programming before going to a CS degree, so half a semester was a waste of my time, so I skipped it, still passed with flying colours.

Re:not so easy to defeat... (1)

celle (906675) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090036)

"Otherwise, I'm not better than some 2bit school selling degrees."

Well, actually, better or not, you are just a more expensive school selling degrees. So why the draconian shit again?

Sign Up To My Facebook Group!! (5, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089866)

Sign up for my Facebook group, we're protesting this invasion of our privacy!!

(good god, I hope at least some of the older slashdot denizens see the irony in it)

Not so easy to beat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089874)

from TFS:

"all one has to do is walk into a classroom with 10 RFID-enabled cards in their pocket."

And all one would have to do to defeat this would be to check the time between sign-ins. If tags are seen to check-in simultaneously, then they are suspicious. The next step would be to install individual readers at individual desks - if there's more than one tag per desk, then something's up.

And to the point that the students are adults and they should be allowed to skip: remember that exams are not perfect. There's a whole industry built around the unfairness of exams. And, int ruth, no exam is going to be a perfect test of a student's knowledge of the course material. Attendance at lectures can only help a student's knowledge, and it is not unreasonable at all to expect it.

In conclusion: bah, humbug. Your rights aren't being violated, only your scope for sloth. Get to class you lazy frack, those classes are costing your parents a fortune!

Spoiled (1)

blogbomber (1311295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089904)

I bet the kids who are petitioning are having their parents pay for their education. Anybody who pays that amount for an education is going to get their money's worth and sit in a class whether they like it or not.

Re:Spoiled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089984)

Don't be silly. My parents didn't give me a time for university, and I skipped LOTS of classes - mainly because I was working 24-40 hours a week in order to PAY for school and an apartment.

What if the class has limited space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32089906)

Given that some classes are full, yet, many people choose not to attend, this system could be used to make mid-season replacements.

New technology, old news story... (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089910)

This system was already in place ten years ago at the school I went to, only it was a barcode on your ID and not an RFID chip. It was used to track attendance to chapel and linked to your cafeteria account (assuming you had one).

Re:New technology, old news story... (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090060)

They tracked your attendance to chapel? Ouch. Did they suspend your cafeteria account for the day if you skipped?

Re:New technology, old news story... (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090142)

no. but if your attendance did not meet certain required levels, you would not receive any credit for the semester.

Re:New technology, old news story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090084)

At one private university I visited, they had a daily chapel which lasted 2-3 hours. If an enrolled student failed to go to chapel more than 2-3 times in a semester, they were given all "F"s for the semester and expelled from the school. This was explained to every prospective student before they were enrolled, so it would not be a surprise.

Going in and out of the chapel, all students were required to badge both in and out, which created large (5-10 minute) queues at the few card readers present, both going in and going out.

In a case like this, having RFID cards (HID badges or thereabouts) would make life easier for all parties involved.

I hate mandatory attendance (4, Insightful)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32089922)

I truly despise mandatory attendance. It forces students who don't want to be there to attend (remember the distracting assholes in K-12?). It punishes students who actually contribute when they are there, while others who do not contribute merely have to BE THERE. It is often used by professors who give boring lectures. As students, we should be allowed to manage our own time. I'm considering going into education (college level) and if I do, I will NEVER do this crap.

I hate mandatory learning styles (2, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090144)

I learn a lot from lectures. Others people don't. Requiring attendance is one way of forcing students to conform to a learning style that may or may not work for them.

Mandatory lectures, mandatory reading, mandatory practice problems, mandatory study groups.... By the time you get to college, you should already know how to learn.

Silly Me (4, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090004)

I thought the point of post-secondary education was that attendance is optional, knowledge of course content is required, and verified by examination. Some of my profs were among the most brilliant people I've ever met. Sadly, a number of them had the personality and teaching skill of a venomous reptile. Forcing students into regular contact with them would have been regarded as a war crime in any civilized country on Earth.

what about roll calls (1)

apricotmuffins (950235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090026)

Surely it is easier and cheaper for the teacher to spend 10 minutes taking a roll call? Not to mention, less room for cheating the system. Human interaction is a pretty definate way of confirming wether someone is there or not.

To avoid one taking in 10 cards... (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090032)

just put a rfid tag clipped to their ear, like cattle.

full attendace "benefits" (1)

plaukas pyragely (1630517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090042)

Some lecturers in my uni monitored student attendance and told that students who do no attend xx% of lectures would fail exam. Results? Noisy lectures where you can't hear lecturer talking, lots of distractions. So.. Yeah, it's a bad idea.

Here's a crazy idea (3, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090048)

Why not test "knowledge of subject matter" to check attendance?

I know most undergrad students still act like children, but the whole point of university is that that's where you start treating them like adults.

Epic fail (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090056)

I'm concerned about any university that uses classroom attendance as a means of estimating whether or not they're learning the presented material.

Tag collisions (1)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090058)

Due to tag collisions, a bag full of tags probably won't work. The rfid readers I've used require some time and space between tags to reset. You'd be able to stand there and scan one tag after another, but that would be a bit obvious.

Less to the point, college attendance is something that sorts itself out come grade time. Why bother tracking it?

I would not comply. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090070)

I would refuse to give my business to a school that attempted this, and if I were already attending a school that adopted this policy, I would refuse to carry anything with an RFID tag in it to any classes I attended.

-jcr

prototype? (1)

BabaG1 (1613555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090088)

some kind of prototype for national id/passports cards we'll all need soon? this is arizona, after all.

Why carry RFID? (1)

Above (100351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090090)

How about all the students microwave their ID cards for 5 seconds destroying the RFID chip? When the attendance for every class reads 0 they will get the message.

children with overprotective parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32090098)

My wife was a school counselor at a local college and helped write the student hand book and a handout for parents. They actually had to cover "you can't request your child's grades and we can't send them to you because these are adults and it fall under the privacy act" because so many parents were requesting their children's grades/transcripts be sent to them so they could check up on their kids. If you 18+ year old kid is in college/university and you need to keep that close of an eye on them then you have failed utterly as a parent (or you have a special needs child in which case it would have been sorted out when they were enrolled). The reality is many "adults" nowadays lack basic... well adult skills. Paying bills on time. Cooking themselves a simple dinner. Figuring out what something will really cost them if they pay with a credit card and then carry a balance. Eating and exercising enough so they aren't obese (68% of America is now overweight/obese). I pity the future.

Obvious problems abound. (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090116)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the rather obvious problem of people being held accountable for the 100% accurate function of technology that is outside of their control, or possibly even feedback.

Imagine being told at the end of term that you missed too many classes, when in fact you attended every one. All due to your RFID card being defective, broken, accidentally shielded, or other malfunction.

Note that the article said "using sensors to detect students cards", which implies a passive scan, rather than an active swipe. The fact that journalism is a dead art form and you can't trust a person to write a story using words that actually convey the facts of the situation COULD be misleading in this case.

Kinda the same (1)

m3rc05m1qu3 (1611071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090124)

at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. I've had my attendance checked in first year classes. We had these small remote "clickers" that we used to answer multiple choice questions on tests. At the beginning of each class the prof would give us all a minute to sign in with our clickers. As the summary says, it's pretty easy to get a friend to sign in for you... and answer your test questions.

OH NO RFID! (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090194)

Its the RFID boogeyman! They're going to read my thoughts from space! Seems here the gripe should be about attendance, not about the method of attendance. But hey, if its RFID it must be bad!

God protect us from FORCED attendance... (1)

drewhk (1744562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090204)

I am very happy that only the really interested students come in, and I do not have to handle masses of students that do not want to be there.

Go Arizona (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090216)

No worries, I'm sure that with their new laws, they'll only use this technology on those pupils who don't look "white enough"
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