Think twice before being AppSent

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Class120: The revolutionary new app that tracks whether or not you’re in class and notifies your parents/coaches.

By Marco Rodriguez

The temptation to skip class is one that every college student has faced at one point or another. While true, would you give in to it if you knew those close to you would find out? Thanks to “Big Brother”, parents now have the opportunity to track your attendance in class.

Class120, an app created by Core Principal, tracks your location and notifies your parents and coaches when you skip class. The app, which had its official launch in January 2015, was first tested successfully in 21 universities across the country last year. It is currently only available for the iPhone and costs $17.99 a month or $199.99 for a whole year.

While the software automatically maps out the college campus, it does require that students submit their class schedules for it to work properly. With this information already on the phone, the app can promptly notify a parent and/or coach when a student has failed to attend class.

In an interview with NBC Nightly News, founder and CEO of Core Principle, Jeff Whorley, believes his app offers a simple solution to the growing concern about low graduation rates.

“The single best thing to improve students’ success in college is simple: Go to class,” said Whorley. Of course, not everyone would agree with Whorley. Such is the case with Kean University junior, Chris Capaldo.

“Just because someone goes to class does not mean they’re paying attention and doing their work,” said Capaldo. “I feel that this app is another way of being babysat which is not what college students need. If we can’t be trusted at this point of our lives, when will we be trusted?”

Angela Morin, Capaldo’s mother, understands her son’s point of view, but believes that apps like this should be handled on case by case basis as parents see it necessary.

“As a parent, you learn the personalities and habits of your children throughout the years,” Morin said. “Some kids are responsible and don’t need to be involved with programs like this, but on the flip side, there are others who could greatly benefit from it. If it means helping my child to stay accountable, remain focused, and succeed in school, I would seriously consider it.”

Critics of Class120, and apps like it, complain about privacy issues given that the app is constantly tracking student locations. In response to this, Whorley says that there is nothing to worry about, as the app only tracks students a small amount of time.

“This is only monitoring where you are at a very small percent of the average 19-year-old college student’s time,” Whorley told NBC Nightly News. “Of their total year, it’s a little over 4 percent of their time that they’re in class, so it’s a very small amount of time. But it’s a critical amount of time.”

Lisa Romanienko, an English professor at Kean University, while weary of privacy concerns, understands the financial reasons behind someone wanting a student to participate in the app.

“In general, I believe that the rise in the surveillance state is highly dangerous and an undemocratic element of modernity,” said Romanienko. “However, when it comes to the commodification of higher education, people consider knowledge to be a service and commercial good like any other. Therefore, if parents and the state are subsidizing the high tuition, then it is predictable that the financiers of this service would demand an optimum return on their investments.”

Student athletes are also discontent about new apps like Class120 being introduced into universities. Ronald Dunn, a volleyball player at Kean University, has his doubts on the actual benefits of the app.

“Personally I would not like to have an app like this implemented on my team,” said Dunn. “I think at the end of the day, it doesn’t harbor a healthy trusting team relationship, which is necessary. A better alternative would be to have coaches personally stopping into classrooms to make sure that their players are attending.”

Similar to Dunn, Kean softball player, Tonianne DeMatteo believes that trust plays a major role when deciding whether to implement Class120.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to having an app like this because I am one of those people who never miss class,” said Dematteo. “However, I do think it’s a little over the top and I think the coach should trust that their players are going to class.”

While the app is most widely used by individuals, Core Principles does offer it to universities at large to help them increase student attendance. According to research conducted by Core Principle, students are skipping close to 25% of their classes over a four year period.

So the next time you’re warm and cozy in bed, the sound you might wake up to is not an alarm, but a phone call from mom and dad asking why you didn’t go to class.


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