Arizona school tracks students’ attendance with chips in ID cards

Biola uses a type of this system, but doesn’t apply it as broadly. Students respond to the idea.

Daniel Getzfred, Writer

Northern Arizona University is tapping into $75,000 in stimulus funds to install a new system to track attendance in large, lecture-style classes.

The system, which uses new ID chips inserted into the ID cards of students, will be able to monitor who is attending class — and who is not. Wireless sensors installed throughout the large lecture classes will pick up an ID card carried by a student and transmit that information to a server for storage. The system has stirred up dispute with many students at the campus who say it’s their decision to go to class or not.

The brand new system also allows the teachers of the classes to be able to access the data stored on the servers to see for them who is actually in the class they are teaching.

This type of system, though not as widely implemented, is sometimes used at Biola. The clicker, as it is called, is used in classes ranging from Intro to Psychology to Old Testament. Its purpose is the same as the ID cards at NAU, and it tracks attendance through a wireless signal. This way the teachers can have a greater experience with their students as it allows them to also answer questions through the clicker. Some teachers use the clicker as a way to have the students answer questions through it to see that they are paying attention to the lecture of the day.

Many Biolans said the clicker is not a bad thing, but something that gets in the way when they are in a hurry and have to stop and remember it before they leave for class.

Out of 50 people surveyed, 20 of them said the clicker is a good thing that Biola needs to use more, 10 said it was OK, 10 said it is useless, five said its use isn’t great and five had no clue what it was.

“I feel the clicker response system is very adequate because it saves paper and time,” said sophomore Aubrey Zenteno.

“I didn’t care for it because you had to pay to register it and get it, but it would be good if they used it for more classes,” said senior Harrison Schueler.

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