The University of Newcastle has announced that it’ll be tracking students by their phone data to ensure attendance in class.
The university released an email to students, stating that location records of students would be used “for the purpose of monitoring [their] attendance against the mandatory attendance requirement.” Students must attend 80% of their classes.
The policy, which will only impact those commencing studies this year, requires students to check in to class via an app. The university will then cross-check attendance by checking the their phones’ geolocations. Jeeeeeeesus.
“Such records and information may also be analysed by the university,” the email continues, “to assist us in making better decisions regarding the operations and services around mandatory attendance.”
Luke Harrison, education officer for the student union, spoke to the ABC about the implications of such a scheme. “We believe it’s a gross invasion of privacy on the part of the uni against the students and it points to a growing trend of the corporatisation of unis all around Australia.”
Kastor Morgan, another student at the university, told Business Insider Australia that the policy introduces a whole new array of potential issues. “[It’s] a bit silly because it relies on GPS tracking to see that we’re in class, but from what I’ve found the GPS on most phones on campus is extremely faulty so many people will probably not be able to check into classes even when they’re in the room.”
Students can choose to opt out of the app, meaning they’ll just sign in with their tutor IRL (just like the good ol’ days). Still, this surveillance situation is getting out of hand.