A Student Idea calling for the end to the recently-implemented iExeter Digital Check-in system passed with 89.6% of the 487 voters selecting a ‘yes’ option. This idea, ‘Stop iExeter Digital Checkin’, was ratified on Tuesday 30 October by Democracy and Governance Council and has been passed up to the Guild executive for action.
The Student Idea description listed several grievances people had with the system including tier 4 visa-holding students having their residency status at risk, and the concerns over some students not having the required smartphones for the app.
“I have better things to do and to worry about than losing my visa, because this app doesn’t work properly.”
“As a Tier4 visa student, not attending lectures can lead to losing a visa”, one student commented. “I attend all my lectures, but the online check-in has not worked no matter what (I tried fixing it in all possible ways). I am tired of having to go to the closest information point, which is not in the same building where all my lectures are run to check-in manually, I have better things to do and to worry about than losing my visa, because this app doesn’t work properly.”
Some students expressed their dislike for the system based on the required technology: “I don’t have a cell phone and would also defo be down for not living in an episode of ‘Black Mirror’.”
Another comment simply asked, “Ever read 1984?”
Other students, however, disagreed. “It should be kept”, said another student. They continued:
“If you actually ask a tutor, or academic who’s put it into place, it’s to do with mental well being of students. This is not in place to make ‘black marks’ against students. If you miss lectures, but catch up on ELE, the system tells them that you have logged in and what you’ve looked at. It’s also in place to prevent students “going off the map”, for lack of a better phrase.”
“If you actually ask a tutor, or academic who’s put it into place, it’s to do with mental well being of students.”
In response to the vote results, Vice-President Education Warren Bingham-Roberts announced that he is planning a ‘public forum’ for Exeter Students’ Guild’s stance on the iExeter Digital Check-in system. Bingham-Roberts suggested that the forum, which is in its very early planning stage, is to allow discussion and debate about the issues students have with the system which was introduced at the start of this academic year.
Shadow Council, the chief scrutiny board for sabbatical officers, was informed of the plan for the event by the VP on Wednesday 31 October. Councillors raised concerns over the proposal, asking the VP why he wanted to hold a “debate” considering students had already voted against the check-in system. “It’s the single most voted-for idea on the system”* , said one councillor in response to Bingham-Roberts’ statement that ‘only around 500 students voted’ for the idea.
With regard to his future plans, Bingham-Roberts told Exeposé:
“I am currently considering how best to take the Student Idea forward in a constructive way that addresses students’ concerns about the digital check-in system. I want to ensure that students have the opportunity to feed into this process, and so I’m looking at how best to achieve this, with an open forum type event being one of the options considered to allow for direct student input. Improving the ease by which students engage with University processes digitally is one my manifesto priorities for this year, and therefore the experience of students with the system will be at the forefront of our approach.”
*For clarification, “Stop iExeter Digital CheckIn” was the most voted-on student idea of this academic year so far. However historical ideas have had more votes.