The Smart Attendance System at YU was trialed during the spring semester last year in 10 classrooms. It was then rolled out in all classrooms last summer session. The Electronic Attendance System, which had been used previously, required students put their ID card in a machine near the classroom door or on the desks. However, with the introduction of the Smart Attendance System, the machines and functions of the previous Electronic Attendance System have completely disappeared.
The Smart Attendance System has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it is possible to check attendance through an individual’s cell phone. It can also prevent other students from checking the attendance for their friends, which was the biggest problem with the previous system. However, the disadvantage of the Smart Attendance System is that it is impossible for a student to check his/her attendance if their phone is turned off or isn’t working for some reason. Some YU professors agree with the advantages of checking attendance via cell phones, as it can save time and is an appropriate system in the Ubiquitous era. They also, however, discussed the disadvantages that the opportunity to memorize studentsʼ names has been reduced with both electronic systems, and that leaving after checking attendance can also happen.
On 4 April 2019, The Observer met Kang Chul-koo, associate Vice-President of the Academic Affairs at YU and talked about the Smart Attendance System.
What was the motive to introduction the Smart Attendance System?
From the time the previous system was adopted, there was a plan for the introduction of the Smart Attendance System, but at that time, due to the less widespread use of smart phones, the Electronic Attendance System via student ID cards was introduced. Over time, however, the equipment that recognizes student ID cards was getting older and the maintenance cost had increased up to 80 million won. So we decided to change the system to the Smart Attendance System to save maintenance expenses and also to pursue more convenient option because almost every student has a smart phone these days.
What is the difference between the Smart Attendance System and the Electronic Attendance System?
First of all, the Smart Attendance System is very convenient compared with the Electronic Attendance System because it is difficult for freshmen to have a student ID card issued to them immediately, and sometimes when they lose their student ID card, it is difficult to take attendance. By introducing the smart attendance management tool, students are less concerned about losing their ID cards and can easily check their attendance without having to be wait for their ID card to be issued. The additional function of the smart attendance management tool is that it can provide greater accessibility than before. In the special lectures that are offered in the bigger halls, you can also easily check the attendance with the Smart Attendance System.
Previously we had the alternate number system when students didnʼt bring their student ID cards. But now the alternate number system is completely gone. Were there any reasons YU got rid of the system?
We removed all the machines that could input alternative numbers. Also, the reason we introduced the replacement number system was for freshmen who couldn’t get their student ID cards at the beginning of a semester though it was also available to enrolled students. So if your cell phone is turned off or you don’t carry it, I think thereʼs only one way to talk to your professor after or before lecture.
Itʼs been about a year since we introduced the Smart Attendance System. As it is still in an adjustment period, there can be a number of inconveniences and errors. Is the administration actively reviewing suggestions or complaints about the Smart Attendance System?
There have been a number of complaints within the last semester, and weʼve already settled those errors. For example, we have added a function to set alarms which enabled a reminder to check the attendance. Additionally, since it was self-developed by the YU Institute of Information & Computing Systems, it provides quick feedback on the problem. However, the problem with different cell phone types is a mechanical problem so the administration can’t rectify those issues.