Check-In? I’m out. The new ‘Check-In’ service installed by the university starting at the beginning of the 2018/19 academic service is ultimately, a waste of everyone’s time and phone battery. Not only is it a waste of time, but it opens up a conversation about mental health, our technology-obsessed generation, and even classism.

Let’s take it one step at a time. The reason that it is a waste of time is that it doesn’t add anything new to the registration process, as all seminars I’ve been to this term has also had paper registers, aka the old system that we’ve always had and had always worked. Not only that, but it is also faulty. I’ve heard from a number of students that their check-in system on their iExeter app doesn’t even work, meaning they are expected to go to their department faculty every single time they attend their contact hours to say ‘Yes, I was actually there but your app doesn’t work.’ So, bearing in mind students who study sciences that can have 20 contact hours a week, surely it is completely unreasonable to make them do this every time? Surely a paper register would save the student time, the tutor time, and the poor people at the faculty reception?

when the looming notification arrives of ‘remember to check in’, and I can’t for whatever reason, it’s more like a notification of failure

Furthermore, this expectation to attend every single one of your hours without fail can be detrimental to your mental health. Of course, that should be expected most of the time, but we are all human and things happen. Sometimes you do just need that extra sleep or time to catch up on other things. In the first year, before this system, I was under the understanding that lectures could be watched at home or in the library at another time if necessary, hence them being online at our disposal. So when the looming notification arrives of ‘remember to check in’, and I can’t for whatever reason, it’s more like a notification of failure. My attendance at a lecture does not affect anyone but myself, so why must I register my attendance?

Another important fallback of this new system is the tools needed to use the system. It requires students to be in possession of a smartphone, or a laptop with Bluetooth. It amazes me that, a university already under scrutiny and stereotype of mainly having middle-class students would fail to see the clearly classist mentality of the check-in system. It essentially says, if you are not privileged enough to have a smartphone or laptop, you must go to the walk of shame to your faculty, queue up for how long every single day and explain that you do not have this luxury item. ‘You are making everyone’s day more difficult because you cannot afford an iPhone. Thanks a lot poorer student.’, screams the system.

In addition, is it such a crime if I don’t feel like bringing my phone to university with me one day? Our generation is so obsessed with technology as it is, and it is dangerous and unproductive of the university to push us to constantly have our phones as an extension of our hands just to save our tutors five minutes typing up a register. This culture of needing our phones to survive every second of the day is unnatural and 100% can affect our mental health, which is fragile enough as students with all the pressure we can face.

Overall, this system is pointless but not only is it silly, and lazy, it is exclusionary and encourages a classist, student-turned-robot mentality, and literally helps no one.

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