?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

Absent from Class

There is a new app out there that tells parents when their college aged students are absent from class. They get an email saying that Johnny didn’t attend English 101 or Sociology 320 today.

Really?  Do we need this?

The universities and colleges who promote this app seem to think we do.  And, in order to prove their point, they provide iPads to every enrolled student with this app already installed.  The unspoken motto must be, “If you use our iPad, your parents keep tabs.”

Personally, I am appalled.  I realize many parents pay for their offspring’s education, but there comes a time when they should no longer “spy” on their children.  Most of them are eighteen or older; if they don’t have their values sets by then, how will monitoring class attendance change that?  Besides quarterly or semester grades already provide a bellwether as to financing the next session of schooling or not.

I’ve always been a good student. When I was an undergraduate, I assessed if the professor added anything to the course.  And if all he did was read the text I’d paid dearly for, I didn’t think it was necessary to attend class. According to a formula that I learned, one could miss a certain number and still do well.  So the pragmatist in me played this game.

At the same time, there were classes I wouldn’t miss because they really added something to my education. I don’t think this attendance app takes this into consideration at all.

And had I been a student who struggled I would hope my parents would have instilled in me the notion that I needed all the help available, and attending class was one more way of getting it.

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