By SALVADOR GUTIERREZ, Ranger Reporter:
A new ID scanning attendance system is raising concerns at Amarillo College. This semester, the system has been implemented in classrooms on the Washington Street Campus.
The new system consists of a small black box set in the entrance of each classroom. Students have to scan their student ID to be counted present in class.
“When students don’t scan after two consecutive misses, an automatic text message goes to the student and says, ‘You missed class,’” Ernesto Olmos, associate director of advising, said.
Instructors and advisers receive an email right after a text message is sent to the student. The email works as an alert that a student has missed class and prompts faculty to follow up on the absence and help the student get back on track.
Many students have questions and complaints about the new system. “I received two texts at 7 a.m. I think it may be bugged because I didn’t miss any class at all this year,” said Steven Osburn, a general studies major. “I would have it notify you the day of. I was notified on a Friday morning and I was utterly confused.”
Other students said the notifications are unnecessary. “As a student, I’m aware if I missed class, so I don’t think I need a reminder,” Tatyana Alexander, a theatre major, said.
Some worry that this system will make it easy just to show up in class, scan the ID and leave, but still be counted as present.
Olmos, however, said the new system is designed to help students succeed.
“The retention alert is just a notification system to inform students, advisors and faculty that the students are not attending and that there might be something that we need to do to help them and get them back into the classroom,” said Olmos.
The retention alert system will be implemented at AC’s other campuses next year.