Students at Northern Arizona University will have a hard time skipping large classes next fall because of a new attendance monitoring system.
The new system will use sensors to detect students’ university identification cards when they enter classrooms, according to NAU spokesperson Tom Bauer. The data will be recorded and available for professors to examine.
Bauer said the university’s main goal with the sensor system is to increase attendance and student performance.
“People are saying we are using surveillance or Orwellian [tactics] and, boy, I’m like ‘wow,’ I didn’t know taking attendance qualified as surveillance,” Bauer said.
University President John Haeger is encouraging professors to have attendance be a part of students’ grades, but he added it is not mandatory and up to each professor to decide, Bauer said.
Haeger added the sensors, paid for by federal stimulus money, initially would only be installed in large freshmen and sophomore classes with more than 50 students.