Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the why-not-just-use-the-cctvs-already-in-place dept.

Education 196

Presto Vivace writes that the UK's Newcastle University is instituting a finger-print based attendance system. From the linked article: "University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. ... Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would 'turn universities into border checkpoints' and 'reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone.'" The system is supposed to bring the university "in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants."

cancel ×

196 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Smart but not too smart (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303117)

Gotta have people coming over to do the jobs you don't want to at wages you won't work for. But we can't have them getting an education.

Re:Smart but not too smart (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303335)

I think the idea is to have them do the menial jobs. If they get an education they'll take the good jobs.

Re:Smart but not too smart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303851)

I think the idea is to have them do the menial jobs. If they get an education they'll take the good jobs.

Too right clean the crappers out sweep the roads ect ect ect they can think themselfs it is just fingerprints that are being checked , They would all be drugs tested 8 times a day if i had my way one positive test away you go and dont bother trying to regain access to either the Country or further education .
Time to get tough and screw the wet pink frilly knicker brigade the EU can go fek itself sideways for all im care .

Re:Smart but not too smart (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42304245)

/me blows a cloud of pot smoke in your direction.

go fuck yourself

Re:Smart but not too smart (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303619)

Gotta have people coming over to do the jobs you don't want to at wages you won't work for. But we can't have them getting an education.

This isn't to keep people out of education, it's to ensure those that signed on for a course as I requirement of getting a visa do turn up.

Student visas are currently the easiest type of visa's to get for the UK. Once students (over)stay for 5 years they can apply for a permanent visa and in many cases claim benefits.

Re:Smart but not too smart (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303813)

The UK is a big exporter of education, and has some of the best universities in the world (unlike most of Europe). This isn't the same group as economic migrants or asylum seekers, and most will have no desire to stay. (Not counting, of course, sham colleges....which the University of Newcastle certainly isn't). Unfortunately, immigration paranoia is putting people off. It's always the best qualified and people you most want who get put off most easily, not the desperate with few options. The whole thing risks doing great harm to the UK education industry.

Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (4, Interesting)

Puls4r (724907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303127)

I spent my first two years of calculus lectures sleeping in. I scored near perfect in both classes. WHY do people have to be at lectures they don't need, again? It's the university's stupid rules that don't allow me to just test out of the classes: they've got to have their money. But why would they want me sitting in a lecture distracting other people while I surf youtube?

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (5, Informative)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303145)

If you're at the university on a visa, there's an expectation you're attending the university. Don't laugh, it happens.

If the UKBA feels the university isn't doing enough, this happens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19425718 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (4, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303663)

If you're at the university on a visa, there's an expectation you're attending the university. Don't laugh, it happens.

If the UKBA feels the university isn't doing enough, this happens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19425718 [bbc.co.uk]

And there are countless other colleges running fake courses or dumbass courses just to get people student visas. Or at least there were, the government is trying real hard to clean it up.

There used to be posters all over London advertisting that if you enroll in some basic class at some Indian run dodgy college you get the right to stay in the country. It was all one big visa scam.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303823)

The UKBA have clamped down *hard* on the above-chip-shop colleges. They're all basically gone now.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303939)

Thanks - TFS made no kind of sense at all without your explanation. Now I have some clue what's going on here.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303943)

If you're at the university on a visa, there's an expectation you're attending the university.

You can easily prove that by passing exams (or by failing to pass them in any other way than being absent). Anyway, it is ridiculous to make double standards for students. Stuff like this makes my backwater home country look extraordinarily enlightened. UK looks more and more like a police state in comparison.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303147)

Cant you jsut sit there without having to watch TV? Some asshole in the front of my last IT class would watch fucking live basketball until i told him to knock it off.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303271)

And if I told you knock off posting stupid comments would you? Feel self righteous much?

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303595)

Posting this as AC is like an army of kettles calling the pot black........

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303311)

I know, right? The live sports playing on the laptop screen in front of you must have distracted the hell out of you while you were posting to Slashdot during the lecture.

Don't fucking pretend you weren't.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303681)

I know, right? The live sports playing on the laptop screen in front of you must have distracted the hell out of you while you were posting to Slashdot during the lecture.

Don't fucking pretend you weren't.

Am I the last one left that actually tries to pay attention to things?

Sometimes I sit in meetings and half the people who turn up are on a phone or typing on a laptop. Only a few bright and/or stubborn people are mentally in the room.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303779)

What is wrong with taking notes on the meeting? It is kind of useful to have things written down so I do not risk forgetting something I will need.

And yes, you can take notes in electronic form.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303337)

Why don't you mind your own business? Unless the guy was part of your group and lagging behind in his share of the work, what he does during class is none of your fucking business, you little brown-nosed snitch.

It's bad enough that we're forced to waste our time sitting around listening to soporific braying of the lecturer and idiots asking questions they should already know the answers to. Doubly so if we have to work or raise kids while going to school. If I had an A-grade-level understanding of the material and was watching Football with my earbuds in, and some snot-nosed punk told me to turn it off, I'd do nothing...then kick his ass the second he stepped foot off the school grounds.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303383)

Why don't you mind your own business? Unless the guy was part of your group and lagging behind in his share of the work, what he does during class is none of your fucking business, you little brown-nosed snitch.

The least anyone who wants to watch TV on their laptop can do is sit in the back of the class. Motion is distracting. If it wasn't you'd have been hit by a bus already.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303421)

The problem was not that he was watching TV, but rather watch such a high motion source that it was impossible to not be distracted by it. I told him and he complied, end of story. If you wanted to escalate it to physical violence i would have had you arrested by campus security. I have every right to speak to another human being about his behavior, you have no right to assault another human.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303705)

If I had an A-grade-level understanding of the material and was watching Football with my earbuds in, and some snot-nosed punk told me to turn it off, I'd do nothing...then kick his ass the second he stepped foot off the school grounds.

-- Ethanol-fueled

The guy doing the asking isn't doing so to prevent your supposed sporting enjoyment, but because your screen is distracting him from the lecture. If you are not mentally there you should not be physically there.

And you have an anger issue, either that you you are having a really bad day.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303759)

Internet tough guy, eh?

Are you the real ethanol fueled though? Or a troll?

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303955)

Dude, make a new account. We need more posters unafraid of diverging from the groupthink around here!

why have a college GED as well or at least spilt o (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303153)

why have a college GED as well or at least split off the gen edu stuff.

And they you have also have REAL tech / trades schools with none of the gen edus in them.

Re:why have a college GED as well or at least spil (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303845)

Newcastle University almost certainly DOESN'T have them. It's not typical in the UK.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303629)

I spent my first two years of calculus lectures sleeping in. I scored near perfect in both classes. WHY do people have to be at lectures they don't need, again?

And how do you prove you don't need the lectures? Sit an exam every week on what's been taught so far? For every one who's lucky enough to get away with it, how many more are wasting taxpayer time and money?

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (4, Insightful)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303873)

You prove it by passing the exams at the end of your course. If you fail because you didn't go to the lectures you should have gone to....well, hard luck, and get saving for your next attempt. It's a university, not a school, and you shouldn't expect to get nannied like a child.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303975)

, how many more are wasting taxpayer time and money?

This is the quiet path from socialism to fascism. No one would say a think like this if students paid their own way, but since the government's paying, well then, it's just good common sense to take some of your rights away. Every endeavor that the government takes over funding of leads to the same place, it seems: since the government is paying, you now need to follow a new set of rules to make sure you don't waste the People's money.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42304155)

Idiot. Tuition fees in the UK have gone UP recently. Until about a few decades ago university education was almost wholly government funded, but tuition fees payable by the student have been steadily increasing. Newcastle University probably charges £9000 a year these days.

Maybe if you'd gone to university you'd learn how to check basic facts before proposing a hypothesis.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303643)

I spent my first two years of calculus lectures sleeping in. I scored near perfect in both classes.

WHY do people have to be at lectures they don't need, again?

It's the university's stupid rules that don't allow me to just test out of the classes: they've got to have their money.

But why would they want me sitting in a lecture distracting other people while I surf youtube?

The university's are in a special position where they can able to apply for student visa's for their students. A condition of that is that they must check the people they are applying for visas for are indeed genuine students. Many students turn up on student visa's, never go to class, and apply for permanent residency after 5 years. They have no intention of studying and in some cases don't know enough English to even begain to understand the subjects they are enrolled for.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

mhotchin (791085) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303699)

Isn't the fix for this then that the Border Agency gets *those* stdents transcripts at the end of each term, and if they are failing out, the BA deports them?

Who cares if you are in a classroom? I can fail just as easily by sleeping in class as by sleeping in. Deport the students that don't have an adequate transcript, done.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303841)

They have to find those students first, before they can deport them.

This country, unlike (say) Australia, doesn't have an efficient border protection force, and doesn't have mandatory detention. There is neither the political will, nor the resources to go after every chancer trying to scam the visa system.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303713)

Shouldn't these "not-a-student" students be getting tossed out of school after a few semesters (it's two, where I attend) with a 0 GPA?
Or are they hopping universities? How would they even get accepted five times?

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303893)

I think the reputed problem is that there are private colleges of various kinds (usually not proper universities) who offer courses whose main appeal is the visa. Colleges like that aren't going to throw out failing students. And the solution is to look very carefully in to those colleges, not to make life difficult for students shopping the world market for accredited degree courses.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303915)

"The university's are in a special position where they can able to apply for student visa's for their students."

That's all great (if we ignore mis-spellings) but the fact is that fingerprint scanning is a terrible way to enforce anything. They don't work worth a damn. They are easy to spoof. If you haven't read the reports, the watch the MythBusters segment [youtube.com] that was dedicated to this. The technology has not advanced significantly since then.

Re:Why do I have to BE at a lecture? (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303833)

It does seem quite bizarre, not to mention patronizing. IIRC, at my university we were entitled to attend any lectures we saw fit, whether designed for our course or not. The only time anyone might feel that they really had to turn up for lectures was for smaller lectures where their tutor happened to be the lecturer.....

Border checkpoints (2)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303129)

> claiming the scanners would 'turn universities into border checkpoints'

Bit late for that.

Seriously though; universities have to prove overseas students are actually attending the university. How would other suggest we do this?

Re:Border checkpoints (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303179)

WHY do universities have to prove that overseas students are actually attending the university? Why is this so critical?

Sure, I understand that you don't want the students getting jobs illegally. But what does that have to do with the university? Employers need to make sure that their workers have proper immigration status. It shouldn't be the university's responsibility. And beyond that, who cares?

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303269)

You would have to take that up with the government, it's their requirement: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19425718 [bbc.co.uk]

I'd have to check the specifics of what the requirements are (they're actually not terribly harsh, just more admin work we didn't need), but they are something that are imposed on universities.

Re:Border checkpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303287)

It does not have anything to do with the university. The students pay the same fees to the university whether lectures are attended or not. The government is merely outsourcing, or is that insourcing, people monitoring.

Re:Border checkpoints (4, Informative)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303721)

WHY do universities have to prove that overseas students are actually attending the university? Why is this so critical?

Anyone signed onto a course gets a student visa. After staying for 5 years they can apply for permanent residency. Because of this there are plenty of people with a very basic, or no, education who sign up to courses they never attend as a way to get permanent residency in the UK and the benefits that go with it.

Now if someone genuinely spends 5 years in education they are an asset to the country and should be allowed to stay. If they know nothing and just want free stuff from the state that's not OK.

Re:Border checkpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303805)

So we're forcing everyone to do this because of a few people who abuse the system? It's not the university's fucking problem.

Re:Border checkpoints (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303927)

"So we're forcing everyone to do this because of a few people who abuse the system?"

Sadly, its not a "few" - its an organised traffic in illegal immigrants.

Another way to remove the need for such draconian control systems would be to corral all would be overseas students in a reception centre and make them take entry exams at the appropriate level, in their own pedagogical language (ie the language used for teaching in their homeland), and a test in basic english. Fail either, and back they go at their own expense. I'd actually rate understanding English higher, after all the courses will be taught in English...

Re:Border checkpoints (2)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303197)

Seriously though; universities have to prove overseas students are actually attending the university. How would other suggest we do this?

I'd suggest GPS anklets for all overseas students. If that doesn't work, shock collars. Seriously, do you think a mandate justifies any means necessary to fulfill it?

Re:Border checkpoints (3, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303299)

That's fair, but I did want people to think about this.

My suggestion was that we do wifi-pinging from student mobiles to cover most cases (as in you download an app and it checks you're in-range of our wifi), and use attendance at tutorials and 2-3 annual full checks (as in turn up with your passport so we can double check everything) to cover the requirement for more in-depth checks. Having tried ID card based lecture attendance, we've found mostly it's a huge pain; even when it works correctly it creates long queues at the start of lectures, and it's more hardware we have to manage. I don't imagine Newcastle will be doing fingerprint checks for long, personally...

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303673)

My suggestion was that we do wifi-pinging from student mobiles to cover most cases (as in you download an app and it checks you're in-range of our wifi), and use attendance at tutorials and 2-3 annual full checks (as in turn up with your passport so we can double check everything) to cover the requirement for more in-depth checks.

What makes this simpler, cheaper, or more reliable then the fingerprint ID check at the entrance to the lecture hall?

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304055)

We have wifi infrastructure in place anyway, and many of the students have mobile devices. It's therefore not a lot of developer work to have our university mobile app be able to say "Yeah, I'm on the right network" on a daily basis, or on request when students are meant to be in lecture, or something. In comparison to fingerprint checks we don't have to equip every lecture theatre with fingerprint scanners (probably two, so we have a backup in case of problems) and computers (again, two) and then maintain that extra infrastructure.

The in depth checks are a right pain, but we legally have to do them, so nothing's going to change there either way.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303793)

My suggestion was that we do wifi-pinging from student mobiles to cover most cases (as in you download an app and it checks you're in-range of our wifi)...

Then just one student needs to carry the phones of his friends, and the system is circumvented.

I don't imagine Newcastle will be doing fingerprint checks for long, personally...

I agree. With the students and even the staff strongly against it, those scanners will get vandalized within the first 24 hours. Whoever came up with this idea is a real idiot.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303731)

Seriously though; universities have to prove overseas students are actually attending the university. How would other suggest we do this?

I'd suggest GPS anklets for all overseas students. If that doesn't work, shock collars. Seriously, do you think a mandate justifies any means necessary to fulfill it?

How about having a register and a prof who actually knows who the students are? Or at the least checks the same student doesn't claim to be more than one person.

The really sad thing is that everything other than the fingerprint readers can be gamed in some way.

Re:Border checkpoints (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303359)

Seriously though; universities have to prove overseas students are actually attending the university. How would other suggest we do this?

By requiring that the student present a transcript each year at visa-renewal time in order showing that he or she has taken exams and gained a certain amount of credits toward a degree. This is how it is done in Finland, at least. This has the advantage of not hassling students who feel that their time is better spent in the library instead of at lectures.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303379)

> This has the advantage of not hassling students who feel that their time is better spent in the library instead of at lecture.

Which makes me think, why aren't we using book lending as an activity...

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

mhotchin (791085) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303709)

I got a double major in CS and Pure Math, *never* borrowed a book from the Library.

Library activity is one of those easy-to-measure-but-meaningless numbers.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303983)

Sorry, realised this is obvious to me, but requires explanation.

There are fixed things we absolutely have to check, such as checking visa & passport at the start of the academic year (might be each semester, not sure off hand), but there's a more flexible set of requirements in checking the student is generally attending the university.

What that means is we can tell students they need to be attending tutorials regularly and/or taking out books regularly or can be expected to be called in for an ID check if we haven't got any other proof they're actually attending the university. We don't want to spend time pulling students halfway across town so we can glance at their passport and tick a checkbox any more than they want to have to do so, so anything we can do to minimise the number we do that for is a good thing.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304075)

Library activity is one of those easy-to-measure-but-meaningless numbers.

To be fair, so is lecture attendance.

The quality of lecturers when I was at university ranged from almost unmissable to almost unthinkable. IMHO, spending half your working day in one of the most absurdly learning-hostile environments yet developed by humanity is rarely worth it for anyone not towards the "almost unmissable" end of the spectrum.

Re:Border checkpoints (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303413)

Could at least exempt all students who don't need a visa. That would cut down on harassment. Other than that, I'd agree... just require actual results at the end of the year, and perhaps at the ends of semesters or whatever they're called. If you score 40% or less for more than one thing, or don't bother showing up at all, you get kicked out.

Who cares if I attend lectures? (2)

Snotnose (212196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303131)

This always bothered me. Tell me what the homework is and when the tests are. Let me decide if your lectures are worth attending.

When I was a student I noticed the only professors who cared about attendance were the ones who couldn't teach worth a damn.

the old college system needs change going on line (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303167)

the old college system needs change going on line for lectures classes is a good start and can work to cut costs and let people take there time in more the core classes.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303237)

I was at university in the UK relatively recently (graduated in 2008). It was made clear when I started that the only compulsory attendance part of my course were the weekly tutorials (small groups of 3-4 students and a professor). Lectures and virtually all lab practicals were optional (there were probably half a dozen that counted towards the course mark, and thus they were compulsory as they were technically exams).
Of course, it was made clear that realistically, you should be attending all of them, but they weren't *compulsory*. No attendance was taken at any point.

Newcastle University is just one university in the UK; there are some who do things just fine in what I would consider perfectly sensible.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

vmlemon (1203598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303291)

Now, universities will request that students sign a register for every session - unless the lecturer has explicitly said that a session is optional. (I'm a 2nd year, undergraduate CS student at the University of Bradford).

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303387)

I had one biology professor who had all the test questions from his lecture. Why I bought the fucking expensive ass book I don't know but there was not one question out of the expensive fucker, everything was from the lectures. People who attended the lectures actually sold cassette tapes of it to people who didn't want to show up. (cassette was the thing back then) He never once checked attendance.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303331)

I think the only classes I ever had that had required attendance was higher 300+ classes when you had team projects.

When I went to my state Uni, if a class was not full, you could sit in on lectures, just don't be asking questions, consume resources like hand-outs, or otherwise disrupt the class.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (5, Interesting)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303365)

From my point of view (as a non-academic who works on improving university administration), it matters for a few key reasons:

1. Students who don't turn up to lectures are more likely to drop out of university. This particularly goes for students whose attendance was good and tails off, so we want to spot them early on and ask if they need any help (academic or personal).

2. If a student turns up mid-way through semester with problems, we're inclined to be a lot more sympathetic (and devote more staff time to helping) if you've attended class. If you didn't attend class and then don't know the material, it could be argued that's rather your own fault.

Remember: the students are the EMPLOYERS (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303679)

The students pay the fees that keep the staff in jobs. It seems bizarre that they should be the ones who should be tracked.

If anything, the lecturers and academics should be the ones who have to sign in and prove they are doing the work the students are paying them for.

Re:Remember: the students are the EMPLOYERS (1)

Xugumad (39311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303949)

Customers, technically, but anyway...

We do not have a general policy of failing students for not attending most lectures. There are exceptions; if you're doing Chemistry and completely fail to attend a safety briefing (I believe they're all either routinely repeated or can be repeated if there's a good reason why a student was absent), for example, that can basically be degree ending right there (you cannot be allowed into the lab, so cannot do coursework). There are similar examples in most sciences and Medicine.

What we're talking about is fulfilling a legal requirement in one case, and helping us manage resources in another (by providing additional assistance to students most likely to benefit from it).

Re:Remember: the students are the EMPLOYERS (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304051)

That's a very US point of view (and I admire it), but in many places college is "free" (paid for by taxpayers or bad loans), which puts the students in a less nice place.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303827)

Students who don't turn up to lectures are more likely to drop out of university. This particularly goes for students whose attendance was good and tails off, so we want to spot them early on and ask if they need any help (academic or personal).

No, we don't. University students are adults, and it's not our responsibility to hold their hands. If they need help, they need to seek that help. If conversely they're partying too much and not managing their time correctly, and as a result fail classes and/or drop out, hey, it's their money and they can spend it however they want. What they get out of the university is up to them.

2. If a student turns up mid-way through semester with problems, we're inclined to be a lot more sympathetic (and devote more staff time to helping) if you've attended class. If you didn't attend class and then don't know the material, it could be argued that's rather your own fault.

We've got class time and office hours. During those times, it's our job to provide help, regardless of whether they've been to class or not. Outside of those hours, it's at our discretion, but I'm personally not biased against people based on whether they show up to class or not, and I'll be glad to help anyone who cares enough to try to understand it on their own and then show up with questions. Yes, if they haven't shown up to class, you can argue it's their fault, but this isn't about placing "fault", it's about helping them learn. In fact, it can be argued that not showing up to class until you need help with the material is just good time management.

When I was an undergraduate, I remember that I attended my DSP class six times. Twice the first week, three exams, and one final. I had a certain aptitude for that material, and I was able to follow the book myself fairly easily. I placed my homework on the desk before the professor got there whenever it was due. It would have been a waste of time to actually attend the lecture. With many other courses, I followed that process until getting to a point where things were not immediately obvious, and then I'd attend class to see what was going on, until I was caught up.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303895)

University is a first step to independence for a lot of people. Not everyone gets that right first time. Students are absolutely paying for their education but they're also paying for someone to give a damn enough to make sure they get the most out of it.

Do you honestly think things are better when people are left entirely to fend for themselves? Shame you're parents didn't kick you out into the woods the day you were born. You would probably have made more of yourself.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304023)

University is a first step to independence for a lot of people. Not everyone gets that right first time.

Right. People need to learn about the consequences of fucking up so they can get it right the next time.

Students are absolutely paying for their education but they're also paying for someone to give a damn enough to make sure they get the most out of it.

Yes, they are. But they're not paying for babysitters. This is what I mean by my willingness to help out if they put in the effort, whether they've been showing to class or not.

Do you honestly think things are better when people are left entirely to fend for themselves? Shame you're parents didn't kick you out into the woods the day you were born. You would probably have made more of yourself.

I think there's a pretty big difference between people who are not capable of taking care of themselves and people who choose to do things that I may perceive as unwise. When you become an adult you get the freedom to start making those decisions for yourself. The university, your employer, or whoever else has no right to try to run your life and make those decisions in your stead.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304163)

Students who don't turn up to lectures are more likely to drop out of university.

Perhaps, but correlation does not imply causation.

I appreciate the desire to help and the concern over someone who attended well at first but not later, but it's not worth much unless someone in authority will act on honest responses like "Sure, because the lecturer was awful and I wasn't learning anything useful there".

If you didn't attend class and then don't know the material, it could be argued that's rather your own fault.

It could be, but only if you take it as an axiom that the lectures would have taught that material effectively. That's a huge and IME entirely absurd assumption.

Re:Who cares if I attend lectures? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303371)

All students must give a blood and fingerprint sample while attending Gattaca. We can't have undesirables with their tainted, "natural" genes populating our higher halls of learning.
 
Please re-read your brochure for further details of our purity guarantee.
 
With love from big brother.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303133)

Will they also be given some Colgate 5000 ppm fluoride toothpaste?

Summary, summarized (3, Informative)

feedayeen (1322473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303141)

The UK is concerned that some of their international students are illegally working. Their reasoning is that school and work are mutually exclusive so if you are in school you are not working and vise versa. This is flawed reasoning.

Re:Summary, summarized, analyzed (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303229)

The UK is concerned that some of their international students are illegally working.

If international student visa abuse is the problem . . . then why are they proposing to monitor the attendance of ALL students . . . ? Methinks they are planning to use this for something else in the future . . .

Re:Summary, summarized, analyzed (1)

Roderic9 (2454194) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303307)

If international student visa abuse is the problem . . . then why are they proposing to monitor the attendance of ALL students . . . ? Methinks they are planning to use this for something else in the future . . .

Quite correct. They are following the same logic as has been used in the past to justify the introduction of identity cards. If they get away with this one, we'll see ID cards return to the agenda.

Re:Summary, summarized, analyzed (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303763)

If international student visa abuse is the problem . . . then why are they proposing to monitor the attendance of ALL students . . . ?

Because anything else could be seen as racist.

Re:Summary, summarized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303553)

Not that flawed. I've known quite a few students on student visas, especially in some of the technology courses, who had gotten superb state funded educations and worked during time they should have been attending class or studying in the US. I even knew some who built computers in the US and were paid under the table, fairly competent, too: it was how the company was keeping desktop computers priced so low.

Coming soon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303155)

A new unofficial Student service to sell you latex gloves with 'someone else's' fingerpints embedded in the fingers.
Available in any of the Pubs that sell Newcastle Brown around the University.

being serious for a moment,
If it is the UKBA demanding this then I guess that if you are a British citizen you can stick two finger(prints) up at them. IMHO, demanding this sort of thing from UK Citizens is the sort of thing that would get them sued pretty quickly. There is no legal requirement to have any form of ID in the UK.

Re:Coming soon (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304065)

I keep mis-reading this agency as the UKGB - or maybe that's not a mistake.

makes sense (1)

tobiah (308208) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303239)

can't expect them all to know how to sign their names.

DISNEY WORLD (3, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303267)

Disney World has been quietly requiring fingerprint scans for certain parts of the park: [orlandosentinel.com] http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_columnist_mikethomas/2007/05/finger_scanners.html [orlandosentinel.com]

While it seems new for school attendance, non-financial biometric scans are not new...

Universal Studios (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303559)

Certain lockers at Universal Studios Hollywood use fingerprinting for locking and unlocking lockers.

Re:DISNEY WORLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303581)

Disney's system is actually bone density, not fingerprint.... they do it because the tickets are non-transferable. You can choose to show your ID instead if you like.

[citation needed] (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303665)

Says who? You?

Re:DISNEY WORLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303723)

http://allears.net/pl/fingerscan.htm
These people seem pretty knowledgeable about it... looks like it is a dumbed down version of fingerprints.

Why do they need finger print scanning? (1)

qzzpjs (1224510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303325)

They should just use RFID based card keys like everyone else does in the business world. It's a lot faster to tap a card against a reader at a door than to stand there an scan your print which might take 10 seconds or more. It's probably a lot cheaper to implement too. Granted, someone could get a friend to log them in for attendance, but is that really a problem? As long as the student has paid for their classes, why should the university care what the kid does. If they want to skip classes and fail, that's the student's problem.

Re:Why do they need finger print scanning? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303435)

Because in the UK, a lot of the bill isn't funded by the student, it's funded by the taxpayers.

Re:Why do they need finger print scanning? (1)

qzzpjs (1224510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303569)

Okay, that makes some sense. I'm thinking though that maybe they can provide an alternate incentive for attendance if the government is paying a portion of the tuition. Perhaps a required grade point average or score that the student must achieve. If the student doesn't achieve it, they should be forced to repay the taxpayers in part or full. I know that I would have studied harder...

Either way, I think they should avoid biometrics for identification. I know the current systems don't really store your actual fingerprint in the database so it's not a security or privacy issue, but it still seems they could make it simpler by using cards. We have fingerprint scanners at my office for the server rooms and it takes a good 10 seconds use the thing. If you have hundreds of students trying to get into a room, half will always be late because of the lineup.

Re:Why do they need finger print scanning? (2)

realxmp (518717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303867)

Because in the UK, a lot of the bill isn't funded by the student, it's funded by the taxpayers.

Not for overseas students they pay the whole whack.

'fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303431)

This post brought co4y a 17 Meg 7ile have their moments

Who is paying whom? (4, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303463)

Although I abhor the practice of compulsory biometric tracking, in the case of employees I can at least see some small justification for it, because employees receive paycheques in exchange for adhering to their employers' rules.

But when an institution to which I am paying money for a service wants my fingerprints so they can track me, they can just fuck right off. And the government too, for that matter. Brits ought to be calling loudly for the heads of the decision makers on this one.

Although I believe it often goes too far, I'll admit the need for some kind of immigration monitoring and enforcement. But when that monitoring turns ordinary innocent citizens into the subjects of invasive surveillance, it's time to draw the line. This is 'death by a thousand cuts' stuff, and what's being cut and killed is our very freedom. This shit has to stop.

Re:Who is paying whom? (-1, Troll)

sabri (584428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303529)

Mod parent up.

I have been saying this in earlier news about the UK's police state as well: avoid the damn country like the plague. They have more CCTV camera's than population and if it were up to the Brits, every citizen or tourist would be forced to give up their DNA at birth or when entering the country, after which they would be eligible to receive their GPS tracking collar.

While I like many of my British friends a lot, the country as a whole is a despicable state.

Re:Who is paying whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42304041)

The truth can not be modded down, you proud down-modding Brits.

Re:Who is paying whom? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42304099)

But when an institution to which I am paying money for a service wants my fingerprints so they can track me, they can just fuck right off. And the government too, for that matter.

This assumes you are paying all costs up-front with no loans, grants, or subsides of any kind to you or to your school. It is far more likely, I suspect, that a great many people have very good reasons for holding your feet to the fire.

People who will want to know if you they have invested in you wisely.

That your grades are living up to expectations. That you are making reasonable progress towards a degree.

The campus is not your private playground.

You do not have unlimited --- unconditional --- access to the grounds, facilities or services.

You can be required to show ID.

I can't think of a single public or private employer whose physical facilities are on the same scale as a college or university campus that doesn't play by the same rules.

Lost priorities (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303513)

What the hell is wrong with a university when it is so rudderless that it feels that one ounce of effort should be directed toward immigration control? If illegal immigration is causing some sort of problem for the university that is interfering with their core mandate of teaching students then yes get all over that. But if this is a paper pusher problem where some people are signing up for a third rate university to get a visa and then booking it then who cares. The university could just provide transcripts to the border people for their foreign students and let the government deal with it.

But even for their domestic students who gives a crap if a student attends a lecture; this is the 21st century and any modern educational institution should be providing a video or audio lecture for students anyway. I recently was watching a Stanford lecture series on iTunes where the classroom had around 20 regular attendees with well over 200 students signed up. The professor made frequent references to those students in their bunny slippers. So if a university is taking the opposite approach than Stanford University they would need pretty extraordinary evidence to prove to me that they are heading in the correct direction and not in the exact wrong direction.

If, as a parent, this joke of an institution were on my children's list of candidate universities I would explain to my kids that this was a really bad sign and that they should not consider the place. Luckily for my kids we live far away and have far better choices.

Re:Lost priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303603)

No university exists in a vacuum. When they accept federal money for housing costs, medical care for the students, building costs, and to ease tuition costs, they're a paying customer of the university and have the ability to make binding costs to ensure that the money is used as expected. Since the government issues the student visas and work visas, student visas are often longer than work visas, and student visas obtain national medical coverage and family assistance for student spouses and children, it can be a considerable investment. If that student is then working, instead, they're also working illegally and often being paid in ways difficult to monitor and trace, and they also tend to ignore the annual taxes and leave with the money.

I actually knew several Polish students in London who did *precisely* this. One of the bastards still ows me 200 pounds of poker money. (Music student, not a math major.....)

Re:Lost priorities (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303795)

Universities in the UK have been told by the UK Border Agency, that it's their legal responsibility to ensure that they and their students are complying with the law. Failure to do so, means that they lose their license to bring in highly-profitable foreign students.

London Metropolitan University had very poor controls, and some foreign students were scamming the system, and the UKBA busted them. They got to be the example -- and now they have the dubious distinction of being viciously kneecapped financially by the government as a consequence. They're now busy fighting for their financial lives in the High Court.

(I know people intimately familiar with the situation.)

They're about 15 years behind the times (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42303765)

I worked once, as a checkout chump in Australia's biggest supermarket chain.

They were having a hell of a time with people bunking off work and having their mates sign them in. So they implemented a biometric signin system, where you signed on and off by typing in your number and scanning your fingerprint.

Problem solved. I think our union went apeshit for a while, until they realized that it cut both ways -- that rock solid evidence of hours worked meant managers couldn't unfairly dock peoples' pay, and then it was a non-issue.

Given the advantages I've seen of biometric systems to prevent dishonesty, and the limited scope for abuse (my fingerprint hashes are currently useless to a crook wanting to make easy money), I need to be convinced that this is somehow a problem privacy-wise.

Damn those immigrants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42303847)

Coming here! Stealing our facts!

A pass is all that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42304073)

Who cares if students attend lectures or not? All that should matter is whether they pass or not. I missed many of my university lectures yet passed with a first class honors degree.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>