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University Gives Away iPhones To Curb Truancy

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the give-me-lobster-and-I-won't-skip-dinner dept.

Communications 252

Norsefire writes "A Japanese University is giving away iPhones to its students to use the phones' GPS functionality to catch students who skip classes. The University claims students currently fake attendance by having other students answer for them during rollcall, they also said that while this can be abused by giving other students the phone, they are much less likely to do this due to the personal information, such as email, a phone generally contains."

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There is always an easier solution... (5, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164155)

Okay. Umm.. Who the fuck cares if students show up to class or not. At university we are old enough to decide if class is a waste of time or not. I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164183)

The article states that attendance at this university is a necessary requirement to graduate:

Truants in Japan often fake attendance by getting friends to answer roll-call or hand in signed attendance cards. That's verging on cheating since attendance is a key requirement for graduation.

Having said that, smart students would probably be able to figure out a way of disabling this 'feature' or spoofing it to show them as being in a different location pretty quickly. Also GPS often fails to get a usable signal in some buildings.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164251)

The article states that attendance at this university is a necessary requirement to graduate:

Truants in Japan often fake attendance by getting friends to answer roll-call or hand in signed attendance cards. That's verging on cheating since attendance is a key requirement for graduation.

Having said that, smart students would probably be able to figure out a way of disabling this 'feature' or spoofing it to show them as being in a different location pretty quickly. Also GPS often fails to get a usable signal in some buildings.

So what?

They just give the phone to whoever is going to be signing in for them.

If they want to stop truancy, just give a quiz at the beginning of every class.

Of course if what they're interested in is giving the students an education, stop taking roll and just crack down on academics.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (4, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164453)

The article states that attendance at this university is a necessary requirement to graduate

So? It's still a dumb requirement for graduation. Unless it's different over there, University is optional, paid for entirely by the attendee, and generally not started until one's about 18. There's absolutely no reason to make attendance part of the requirements for graduation, if you choose not to attend, that's completely up to you.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164545)

So? It's still a dumb requirement for graduation.

Your opinions on the matter will not change reality, no matter how enlightened you are or how dumb you think it is. The facts are given: This is not your university, chances are this isn't even your culture, and attendance IS mandatory there.

Some universities are harder than others.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1, Redundant)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164579)

This thread is a discussion and discussions entail the presentation of opinions. By your logic, no one should express their opinion because "it won't change reality".
Neither will yours, so by your logic you should STFU as well.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164573)

I think that attendance is often mandatory (certainly in tertiary studies that I've done in Australia it has been) because soaking in the subject during lecture, hearing questions answered and participating in group discussions are actually part of the educational process. It's not just about the essays or exams.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (4, Informative)

chaos95 (1340107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164703)

I think that attendance is often mandatory (certainly in tertiary studies that I've done in Australia it has been)

I went to university in Melbourne, and attendance was only mandatory for the practical/lab component of each course; lectures and tutorials were optional (but obviously recommended).

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

p!ngu (854287) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164719)

I can only speak for my degree, so I study mathematics at the university of Queensland (Australia), and we don't have anything like this. The closest thing to it is that for one of my courses, a first year course that I tutor, if you don't attend the tutorials you miss out on 1% per week. No penalties otherwise.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164617)

I was merely answering the OP's question by pointing out that the article had already answered it. I was not passing judgement on whether or not such a requirement was a good idea. So I'm not sure what the point of quoting me and asking "so what?" is.

Utterly different (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164861)

The whole University scene is utterly, utterly different than in the west. It's "optional" in the same sense not being homeless is "optional" in the west - you can do it but you are looked down upon mightily. I wouldn't draw any comparisons to anything you know here.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164873)

Sounds like the equivalent of a community college. (the bargain basement version of a university for those not familiar with the US education system -- minimal entrance requirements, cheaper, not research institutions)

Re:There is always an easier solution... (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164211)

I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

Congrats on your engineering degree. I hope that those skipped English classes don't interfere with your technical writing ;)

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164837)

I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

Congrats on your engineering degree. I hope that those skipped English classes don't interfere with your technical writing ;)

Like nobody does this outside of engineering. I also have an engineering degree, but my electives are all over the map.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164927)

Don't chimp out, buddy. It happens. Thanks for reassuring us that you're such a wordly individual. But why did that post offend you to the point that you had to reassure us?

Those ECO's [wikipedia.org] happen for a reason, buddy.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164213)

Article: That's verging on cheating since attendance is a key requirement for graduation.
Apparently in Japan they need to attend.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164295)

Disclaimer: [Citation needed]

I've heard how difficult it is to get into and graduate from good Japanese universities. But as far as American universities go, why force somebody who's been reading grad-level literature recreationally to attend every instance of english 101?

Look at most job requirements. Many state degree or equivalent experience. As an example, I'll use military training: a person who's been through backshop or even depot-level military electronics training has been through 9 months or more of school. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, all one class. Military "junior colleges" such as CCAF(Community College of the Air Force) do not often directly translate into equivalent undergrad credit in public or private universities.

In America the requirement is silly (and based on my experience, usually never enforced ^_^ ). A former Airforce backshop avionics or Navy nuclear tech should be required to attend every rudimentary DC electronics class with such challenging problems like serial and parallel resistance with a little norton or thevenin? Prior military please chime in, we'd love to hear about how your education translates into the civillian college world.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164649)

you're retarded

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164717)

Sod off, you bloody rotter.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164299)

Okay. Umm.. Who the fuck cares if students show up to class or not. At university we are old enough to decide if class is a waste of time or not. I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

Japan isn't America. Apparently they care. Perhaps it's because universities have a limited number of spaces that they would prefer to give to successful students and truancy may correlate with success. It's been my observation that students who are truant a lot, even if successful and breeze by the first round of classes, tend to crash and burn later on as when they don't change their habits. Or it may be that some classes require a team effort and truant students disrupt that (but for whatever reason, the team is reluctant to report it.... or it counts against them anyway).

There could be a lot of reasons. Your experience doesn't mean it takes into account everything.

Anyway, this sounds like a technical solution to a human problem that will ultimately fail to a determined truant. Perhaps the teacher should enlist a trusted assistant and they work some system. Perhaps they should give out one ticket to each student with serial number at the end of each class as they walk out the door that will enable them to sign in on the "was here last time" sheet the next class. Then they just count tickets given out to signatures to ensure accuracy and that no one is cheating. Or something like that. Anyone without a ticket just signs a sheet indicating they were present that time but absent last time (and whatever preceding times).

If they want to get fancy technologically, I guess they could use several retina scanners (to avoid traffic jams, fingerprints scanners would be duped too easily these days) that allow you to sign in at the beginning and then out of each class at the end.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

caranha (680518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164797)

Perhaps it's because universities have a limited number of spaces that they would prefer to give to successful students and truancy may correlate with success.

Not really. Japan currently has a problem of more spaces than students (aging population and all that). It is not as bad for universities as it is for elementary/high school, but it is a serious problem.

Or it may be that some classes require a team effort and truant students disrupt that (but for whatever reason, the team is reluctant to report it.... or it counts against them anyway).

This is more likely. I have TA'd for a course where the entire team's grade was determined by each member's assignments.

Anyway, I find this article highly irregular. My experience is that japanese universities will bend themselves backwards to prevent any undergrad student from not graduating. Also, all cellphones here
have GPS, not only iPhones. I think it is more likely, from RTFA, that the university is putting on a course for the students to hack with the iPhones, and the writer of the article decided to capitalize on the minor point of "trying to check attendance with the GPS".

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164331)

That reminds me of a lecturer I had who did his own TAing. He was like "you are not required to attend this class.. you are not required to attend the tutorial sessions.. however, here is a graph of the students who passed last semester and their recorded attendance. As you can see, those who didn't attend consistently did worse than those who did.. if you want to pass this course, will attend both the lectures and the tutorial sessions." Guess what we were studying.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164435)

If your website doesn't have prices and a shopping cart, visitors will not buy your products. Seems obvious huh?

(from sig).

Actually, no. Think Microsoft. Think newspaper sites.

The converse is also not true. For example if you go on to chinadirect and search for "long march" you could find a web page with an intercontinental ballistic rocket (complete with nacelle and launch trailer, but no payload) with the familiar "add to basket" shopping cart icon. Click to complete that transaction and you're given a "contacts" page rather than a visa/MC or Paypal.

You might consider using a different sig. I expect to start selling them*, just as soon as I can get the payment gateway sorted on my web site.

*the sigs, not the rockets.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (5, Interesting)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164361)

The Japanese don't see their university students as grown-ups, not yet 'shakai-jin' or part of society. So university kids are still... kids. Even more frustrating is; grades are more about attendance than performance.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164777)

The Japanese don't see their university students as grown-ups... So university kids are still... kids. Even more frustrating is; grades are more about attendance than performance.

Pretty much the same as here (U.S.A.).

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0, Troll)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164851)

Even more frustrating is; grades are more about attendance than performance.

With that and the crap about their racism and treatment of people whose distant ancestors were butchers/undertakers, why do we even consider them an economic threat?

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164405)

The problem is that in undergraduate courses in Japanese Universities, classes are always a waste of time. Once you've passed the entrance exams, you basically just have to turn up to graduate.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164501)

It's so that they know if they really are or aren't there so after like 5 missed hours they can boot them from the class without a refund like most US colleges do. It's not like teenager truancy prevention.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164511)

That's what I was wondering. As I tell my first years: spoon feeding is fine at highschool, but once you reach uni the uni's responsibility ends once they've provided the opportunities for learning - if you don't want to take advantage of lectures and tutorials then fine, that's your choice, but don't come bitching to me if you fail as a result.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164569)

Okay. Umm.. Who the fuck cares if students show up to class or not. At university we are old enough to decide if class is a waste of time or not. I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

Agreed. If your students can pass your class without showing up, you're wasting their time and you should figure out how to make your classes more valuable to them. They should be coming to class because if they don't they'll have a difficult time passing the final exam, not because you're tracking their cell phone.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164693)

I'll go one further: the students should be coming to class because they believe it a good way to further their pursuit of knowledge... If only classes were like that...

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164825)

Students can't pass the class without showing up, though. Attendance is mandatory. Didn't you read the syllabus?

I'm either being totally serious or extremely sarcastic. You decide which.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164599)

I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for

Like playing WOW, I assume.

Better Solution (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164637)

Forgo the "college experience" entirely, do a military stint in a technical specialty, and avoid having to pay out a boatload of cash for a degree that has a minimial ROI anyhow.

Re:Better Solution (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164761)

As a Navy veteran, I'd like to add the usual caveats:

  • The military isn't for everyone.
  • Training in the military tends to be on equipment exclusive to the military, therefore badly preparing you for work in the civilian world.
  • A university degree is vital towards getting a job with any security, and the last exceptions are disappearing quickly. But the military's promise of helping you with university education is pretty hollow, as the GI Bill won't even cover a single year of tuition at a decent university. You're consigned to community colleges and obscure state universities.
  • At least with university you can still take advantage of your youth and see the world during the generous vacation periods. In the military, your mobility is exceedingly limited and by the time you get out, you feel like you screwed yourself.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164811)

I skipped tons of classes during my undergrad degree and this enabled me to actually assignments that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for.

I just saved time by some words.

Re:There is always an easier solution... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164881)

Please stop assuming that your culture and values are universal. There are a diversity of people in this world who do not think the same way as you, and this doesn't make them stupid, nor idiots.

Mmm (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164191)

Don't the Japanese in general already have better phones than the iPhones? I don't see the appeal of actually using the iPhone except as a tracking device to give to a friend.

Re:Mmm (2, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164215)

Depends how you define 'better'. Japanese phones are certainly more feature-rich than the iPhone. However, they aren't always more elegant or usable (some of the interfaces on Japanese phones are pretty awful, to be honest).

Besides, even if I had a 'better' phone, I still wouldn't refuse another phone for free!

Re:Mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164419)

If they have such nice phones [As reported in some other ./ article, iirc] then I would just give my iPhone to a friend... [Especially since they just posted a ./ article saying explicitly that the GPS would be used to track you]

"It shows that Troy and Kenzie are sitting in the same seat today?"
"Ah, yeah, GPS imprecision, etc."
"BULLLLLSHIT"

Well, it was worth a hypothetical shot.

FridgeLogic: Wait! Why is the university allowed to track someone else's iPhone? What the hell, Apple / ATT / university!

Re:Mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164461)

FridgeLogic: Wait! Why is the university allowed to track someone else's iPhone? What the hell, Apple / ATT / university!

They're probably not just giving the phones to the students to do with as they please, as that would be rather stupid for a wide variety of reasons. TFA isn't exactly clear on the issue, but it'd be far saner to just conditionally lend them to them. And unless they're forcing them to take the iPhone and let them track them everywhere with GPS, there's not really a problem.

Big deal. (-1, Troll)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164199)

Why would any Japanese kids be interested in that bulky American phone with it's outdated tech and lack of hello kitty?

Re:Big deal. (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164253)

Actually the iPhone has emoji support

Re:Big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164493)

Do not dare to insult of Hello Kitty nation symbol Japan's, gaijin dog!

Universities are for education... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164201)

not babysitting.

Questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164205)

Would I use the university provied phone as my "pretend to go to class phone" or as my "drug dealer phone"?

hmm.... but... japanese kids don't like the iphone (1)

nairbv (596536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164207)

as far as I know, the Japanese have way better phones. I thought they didn't like the iPhone?

They'd probably just keep their email on their "cool" phone, and get their friends to carry their "lame" iphone to class.

Re:hmm.... but... japanese kids don't like the iph (2, Interesting)

[Zappo] (68222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164497)

As I understand things, it's not simply a matter of "better". Personalization is important in Japanese culture. There's huge variety of phones and consumers can find and tweak one to be "perfect" for each individual. But Apple seems to have a diametrically opposed "one size fits all" philosophy of consumers products -- "we built the most perfect product we could, and it's the one you should use." (I type this on a MacBook Air with a piece of paper taped across the camera that has no lens cap and can't be turned off). So from what I've heard, the iPhone has done poorly in Japan and the reason is cultural mismatch. If there's a university program pushing iPhones on students, it strikes me as not unlike Apple's historical practice of using educational systems to gain footholds in markets. But good luck to them trying this in Japan...

After I wrote the above, I found the following story on "Why the Japanese Hate the iPHone:"
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/02/why-the-iphone/ [wired.com]

Ah, so maybe you're right about simply "better" phones. What I wrote at top was opinion stemming from 9 years working in the telco industry, quite often closely -- sometimes in person in Tokyo -- with my then-employer's Tokyo office and Japanese customers.

Who cares about attendance? (2, Insightful)

cbraga (55789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164221)

Forcing someone to attend won't magically make him interested or engaged in the subject. They need good teachers for that. And good exams so bad studens won't pass by cheating and those who do pass will be actually well prepared.

Not hard to circumvent. (1, Redundant)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164229)

Dude hold my phone and let me borrow your notes after class.
People signed each others names on the attendence sheet all the time at my college.

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164297)

Didn't make it to the second half of the summary, eh?

Also... what sort of college has an attendance sheet? (Aside, apparently, from the one in TFA.) At that point in life, you know enough to decide for yourself if you want to attend class. If you cut, it's no one's loss but your own.

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164347)

Didn't make it to the second half of the summary, eh?

Also... what sort of college has an attendance sheet? (Aside, apparently, from the one in TFA.) At that point in life, you know enough to decide for yourself if you want to attend class. If you cut, it's no one's loss but your own.

UWM did for it's 100 level courses. Beyond that they assumed you had enough dsicipline to decide for yourself. Still all kinds of stupid.

No I didn't read the article but now that I have I matain this will still happen. You just keep your personal info on your real phone, which in Japan is going to be better than an iphone anyway.

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164369)

Foreign language courses frequently have an attendance requirement as participation with other speakers is vital to the language learning process. Similarly, lab sections have that requirement. How are you going to do the lab if you're not actually there?

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164391)

How are you going to do the lab if you're not actually there?

You're not, and you're going to fail. So why bother with an attendance sheet?

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (2, Interesting)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164489)

Correct me if I'm wrong: The iPhone doesn't have background applications, so the student has to go to class, sit down, run the app to locate his or herself. Couldn't they then could quit the app, get up and leave?

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164673)

Maybe they're jail broken?

Re:Not hard to circumvent. (0, Troll)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164845)

Correct me if I'm wrong: The iPhone doesn't have background applications, so the student has to go to class, sit down, run the app to locate his or herself. Couldn't they then could quit the app, get up and leave?

They can assume your absent if your off grid.

What? (1)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164235)

Doesn't it defeat the purpose to tell the students this ahead of time? Who would they use the iPhone if they knew this was the case? Or does the school "force" them to do it? Well, even if they did, use your regular phone for personal stuff and the iPhone purely to appease the school and hand it to your friend who goes to class, like the article says. If it's a "prestigious" school, as claimed, why should they care so much if the students are in class as long as the school still gets the tuition money out of them?

Re:What? (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164291)

If it's a "prestigious" school, as claimed, why should they care so much if the students are in class as long as the school still gets the tuition money out of them?

If a University only gives degrees to students who attend classes, someone with the degree is believed to have good attendance and therefore the degree from that Univerisity is more valuable to an employer.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164311)

My point is that attendance is irrelevant as long as the student learns the material (measured by testing and finals).

Re:What? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164355)

No, the degree is more valuable to the employer if the employer has gotten great employees from that university in the past.

An employer doesn't care how many hours of lecture you sat through. Hell, they normally don't even care what your grades were. They're going to drill you on technical questions that are directly relevant to what you'd be doing at their company. If you know the answers, they're satisfied. If you, and a lot of your fellow alumni, all do great work, then they'll be more likely to hire from that school in the future.

But they're not gonna look into the school's attendance policy.

Re:What? (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164375)

We're not talking about America.

Re:What? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164413)

While I admittedly have never applied for a job in Japan, I find it very hard to believe that employers would base their hiring decisions on the attendance policy of the school, rather than technical drilling of the applicant. I realize that it's a very difficult thing to cite, but do you have any sort of evidence to back that up?

Re:What? (1)

Bored Grammar Nazi (1482359) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164815)

While I admittedly have never applied for a job in Japan, I find it very hard to believe that employers would base their hiring decisions on the attendance policy of the school, rather than technical drilling of the applicant. I realize that it's a very difficult thing to cite, but do you have any sort of evidence to back that up?

If you're really interested in the subject, I recommend this book:

The Japanese Mind [amazon.com]

I've been living in Japan for over 7 years now, and this book has been really useful in helping me understand some of the weird behaviour that I have to deal with on a daily basis. It's a collection of articles written by Japanese students on several topics related to Japanese culture.

This is sure to boost attendance. (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164239)

Now that every student will be able to browse the web and chat with their friends in class, I'm sure fewer will cut.

Re:This is sure to boost attendance. (2, Insightful)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164273)

The iPhone can only run one GUI app at a time, so all the GPS apps require it to be the main running application to work. So unless they're jailbreaking them the only way this will work is to force the students to have the GPS app open during classes, which makes it impossible for them to run anything else (such as Sarari). And if they close the GPS app they're accused of truanting.

Re:This is sure to boost attendance. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164309)

So there's no way to have something run in the background? Hmm... well, one more reason I'm glad I didn't waste that sorta money on a phone.

Re:This is sure to boost attendance. (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164477)

That's correct. Apps are not allowed to run in the background. It sucks, mostly... but it's also part of what makes it a very stable platform (compared to win mobile phones) and helps prolong battery life.

Re:This is sure to boost attendance. (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164723)

Sure apps can run in the background, they get cute little badges too. It's called Backgrounder app and is available on Cydia. Admittedly it takes the crappy battery life and makes it worse, but that is what makes it a useful platform (compared to win mobile phones).

Re:This is sure to boost attendance. (1)

Logic and Reason (952833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164621)

This is Japan we're talking about. I'd be surprised if more than a handful of students couldn't already do this.

I don't know... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164245)

... how about making the classes worth attending, and making testing difficult enough that poor attendance matters?

Re:I don't know... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164783)

how about making the classes worth attending...

Because that is really hard to do. You obviously have no teaching experience yourself, especially if you are teaching something as dry as computer science or mathematics. When you have a large amount of work to get through, it is not easy to make it exciting. ...and making testing difficult enough that poor attendance matters?

What the hell is this supposed to do? Make the tests hard enough that they test what they are supposed to, who cares is nobody turns up, as long as they learn what they need to. If some students find it better to study in their own time, then good on them. I understand that professors don't like teaching to empty classrooms, but the point of Universities is not to keep professors in full classrooms, it is to teach students.

Pretty sneaky, sis... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164255)

"They also said that while this can be abused by giving other students the phone, they are much less likely to do this due to the personal information, such as email, a phone generally contains."

Sure, assuming they're dumb enough to store such information on a device owned by a third party...

Re:Pretty sneaky, sis... (3, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164307)

assuming they're dumb enough to store such information on a device owned by a third party...

They'll tell the students that they're going to do random spot checks on the phones and if there isn't any personal information on them they won't graduate.

What is it we always say? (2, Insightful)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164301)

Technical solution to a social problem? How about just count the number of names on the sheet, or learn to recognize your students? I don't know, crazy ideas...

Nice Going, Japan! (5, Funny)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164315)

If "Having other students answer roll call for them" is an indetectible method of circumventing the rollcall procedures, then Japanese professors are just playing into the West's "All Asians Look Exactly Alike" stereotype. Way to go, Nihon.

Re:Nice Going, Japan! (0, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164699)

If "Having other students answer roll call for them" is an indetectible method of circumventing the rollcall procedures, then Japanese professors are just playing into the West's "All Asians Look Exactly Alike" stereotype. Way to go, Nihon.

You joke, but in all seriousness, I don't know how I can keep hearing about the wonderful efficiency of Japanese schools when this is a clear indicator that their teachers can't even tell them apart. If that's the case generally it goes a long way towards explaining their suicide rate.

I'm not being racist here. Any country can have a poor education system. I wouldn't want to send my school to a U.S. school with metal detectors either!

Here in Aus, we're multicultural but still manage to be quite screwed up. Our gun crime isn't so bad but our suicide rates are up there (or were last time I looked) and we do have racist incidents. At the moment the bashing of Indian exchange students is in our papers and the Indian government and consulate have been involved. We also have the whole "every child must pass primary school" mentality going through our system, which sets children up for massive shock when they hit high school and realise that the wrong answer actually gets marked wrong.

Aren't schools suppose to be a safe nuturing place??

Re:Nice Going, Japan! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164833)

You don't understand university class sizes in Japan. Those 100+ classes taught by TAs that often become jokes in the US are the norm.

Re:Nice Going, Japan! (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164875)

If "Having other students answer roll call for them" is an indetectible method of circumventing the rollcall procedures, then Japanese professors are just playing into the West's "All Asians Look Exactly Alike" stereotype. Way to go, Nihon.

Um, they sort of do. Japan is really homogenous, much more so than almost anywhere in the US or EU, if you have 150+ students to grade, can you tell them apart by voice?

I think this problem was solved years ago... (2, Insightful)

Terranex (1500465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164317)

... When people started taking exams. If someone can pass an exam coupled with any assignments they would have been given as part of a module, then I would deem them qualified. Attendance is no measure of academic ability.

Re:I think this problem was solved years ago... (2, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164459)

Attendance is no measure of academic ability.

No. However not every student can realistically gauge the complexity of the course, especially when he does not attend. Then some weeks later he comes (or reads a book) and can't understand the material. Recovery could be painful, or even impossible if the student discovers the problem a week before the exam. If the university is treating students as children it's probably because, on average, they are.

Re:I think this problem was solved years ago... (1)

Terranex (1500465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164523)

The point I was trying to make is that the onus to succeed should be on the student rather than the institution. If the student fails then it is his/her own doing.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164377)

Seriously, what?! I don't have an iPhone but are you telling me you can't password protect your private data? Ridiculous.. At high school level I could see the need, but at a university where the students are paying to be there?

Re:WTF? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164423)

Not only can you password-protect it, but you can set it to erase itself after 10 incorrect password entries. I recently got an iPhone and was very happy to see that. Needless to say, I activated that on day one.

Why am I seeing an ad for scientology ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164397)

Dear slashdot, why am I seeing an advertisement for scientology on the slashdot front page ?

Yes, I could become a subscriber.
Yes, I could use ABP

Why scientology ?

Re:Why am I seeing an ad for scientology ? (4, Funny)

Qubit (100461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164495)

Dear slashdot, why am I seeing an advertisement for scientology on the slashdot front page ?

Because they can't advertise on Wikipedia anymore?

(Mostly) Americans misunderstanding Japanese. (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164491)

Note: I'm an American. But it appears as if we're misunderstanding Japanese culture. This is after all, the same culture that has "monsters" come house to house in some villages, to scare children who have been lax at their school work, share a drink with the parents, and then move on. Here in America (and many western cultures), attendance in university classes is not deemed necessary; if you're smart enough to pass exams and assignments on your own, you're qualified. In the east, the attitude towards attendance appears to be different. Maybe that's why so many (higher tier) jobs are leaving America.

Re:(Mostly) Americans misunderstanding Japanese. (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164727)

In talking with my professors in various universities I came to the understanding that the students who had the highest grades were the ones with the best attendance records (not that they kept track, but you could generally tell who was and wasn't in class - since most classes were small).

Re:(Mostly) Americans misunderstanding Japanese. (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164741)

I had some cunt professors that required attendance. One even told the class that they had all been marked absent for the first 2 months because we sat one seat to the right of her damned seating chart.

Felt like elementary school, not higher education.

There's an app for that (4, Funny)

gollito (980620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164517)

Need to have your phone send faulty GPS coordinates so people monitoring your location think you are in class? There's an app for that.

You expect students to be organized? (3, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164531)

And what if students forget their iPhone at home?

- RG>

How exactly are they supposed to check attendance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164563)

Prof: Dude, you weren't at my class!
Student: Yes I was.
Prof: No, your iPhone wasn't registered here!
Student: Oh yea .. I left it hat home
(or: Oh yea .. the battery died)
(or: Oh yea .. my mom needed a phone so I gave her mine)
(or: Oh yea .. my girlfriend wanted to take a look at it)
Prof: Uhm ... ok.
Student: gg no re

The only way this could achieve anything is if they made iPhones mandatory in class. Which would be insane.

this makes it harder....how? (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164663)

So now the students get a free method to skip class even easier. Anyone that plans on skipping can just give it to a friend that plans on attending. As far as I know, cell phones are so ubiquitous in Japan that all students will already have a cell phone and thus not care about someone else having their iPhone for a few hours. More so, if students leave their phones in a common place, and they think someone is going to miss a class, they just grab their phone for them and fake their attendance like normal. This entire plan seems silly. Why not go for biometrics if you want to keep kids in the class? It's not as trivial (but still possible) to fake a finger print or decent facial recognition. Or you could drop the requirement for attendance and let the students face he consequences of missing a lesson or the benefits of more time spent on work outside of the class.

why not felica? (1)

Koutarou (38114) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164705)

The iphone's GPS is pretty inaccurate in my experience. If they wanted to keep it keitai-based they could just have felica readers at the doors and swipe them as you go in, since other than the iphone its basically been impossible to get a phone without felica for a few years now.

Truancy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164715)

Wait, this is university and not preschool we are talking about?

Do they hand out stars for being the teacher's pet in Japanese universities?

If you don't go to class (presumably) as an adult in a university, it's your own damned business. And if you fail your exams, it's nobody's fault but your own. However I never expected that class attendance would be such an important factor so as to justify a heavy investment in labor and capital - do they not have better ways of screening who deserves to graduate and who doesn't in Japan?

But how? (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164779)

How do they do it? As far as I know, not even the iPhone will tell just anyone where it is.

Custom firmware with GPS reporting? A custom app for signing in to a lecture?

Maybe they have an agreement with the telco for CellID information for all those phones, so they can track them to within a square kilometer at least.

Here's an idea (2, Insightful)

WeirdingWay (1555849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164793)

Don't have classes with 100+ students so the professor actually recognizes your face and you can't get away with someone else doing it for you. Huge lecture halls make for a horrible learning experience anyway.

Personal info such as location (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164827)

...due to the personal information, such as email

...due to the personal information, such as location

(fixed that...)

Truancy is bullshit (1)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28164857)

I know this article is talking about Japan. I don't know there, but in the USA, public school is voluntary. No one is required to attend public school. Our Constitution wouldn't allow that. So how can they 'enforce' truancy laws/regulations/whatever? It is the parents choice.

"The iPhone will be used to relay course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28164917)

.... materials, lectures, videos and tests. " (FTA)

Seems to me like there's no reason to show up at all.

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