College Issues Mandatory FitBits To Freshman Class

Big fans of personal surveillance rejoice: Oral Roberts University is tracking student movement, according to Tulsa World. The university has issued mandatory FitBits to its 900-person freshman class as a means of documenting its “whole person education” philosophy. Previously, students had carried paper notebooks to document their exercise, which were then transcribed by the instructors of their fitness classes into the school’s grading system. Now that transcription is automatic and global. Students are graded on their participation and on their performance in the end-of-semester field test, which is typically a 1½-mile run. Mike Matthews, who oversees data for ORU, says the university wants to measure correlation between fitness and academic performance. The FitBit will enable ORU to monitor its students worldwide. “Our students can be in Africa for spring break and the system will still be recording data,” Matthews said. The university mandates that students buy the $140 FitBit themselves, which is a nice twist. Not only are you monitored and recorded, but you get to pay for the privilege.

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