Core Principle Inc. created a new app called Class120 that allows parents, professors and administrators to track whether a student attends class.
Jeff Whorley, Core Principle’s founder and chief executive officer, said college students spend more than $31 billion a year on classes they do not attend.
“It would probably instill accountability in students, but it also could deter them from the notion that as adults we are responsible for making our own choices,” said sociology major Colton Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said it could be good to require freshman to use the app as a way to instill good attendance habits early on.
The app’s main purpose is to give students an incentive to regularly attend class. If not present, the app will send a text message or email to the parent, professor or administrators immediately. The student will also receive an alert.
“I think this could get students to attend class more frequently. I’m convinced that if you go to class more often, then you’re going to get a better score in the class,” said Andrew Stoner, assistant professor of communication. “However, you could argue that it would not be promoting a student’s independence or responsibility.”
The app is available to iPhones for $17.99 per month or $199 per year. Neither parents nor professors are allowed to track student attendance without the student downloading the app.
“I think it is an invasion of privacy,” said English education major Katlyn Dugenske. “I feel like it’s a student’s choice whether or not they want to go to class.”
Whorley said students skip about 20 percent of classes throughout their college career.
“I think for the most part students will skip class out of laziness,” said Shyla Reigstad, clinical lab sciences major. “Unless you’re skipping a class where attendance is actually unnecessary, in which case I could see how it could get annoying.”
Stoner said the financial relationship between parents and students could have a major effect on whether the app is appropriate. If parents pay for their child’s education, they are inclined to want evidence of attendance.
“I would look at what kind of control parents are still able to extract over the child when they go to school because that varies,” Stoner said. “Some students comply with what their parents want them to do and how they want them to live, while others view college as ultimate freedom.”