How Putting The Timeclock In Your Students’ Pockets Increases Accountability

In the last 40 years alone, the number of jobs requiring some level of postsecondary education jumped from 28 percent to 59 percent. This follows a trend that is expected to reach 65 percent by 2020 (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2013). While schools are teaching students the job specific skills required to effectively enter the workforce, that is only half the battle. Schools are placing a larger emphasis on the soft skills their graduates possess, including communication, how to dress appropriately, how to be responsible with confidential records, and more. These are integral qualities of truly job-ready professionals. One of the most critical soft skills students must learn is the ability to show up on time. Imagine going in for medical care without any nurses present because the hospital holds lax attendance policies. Punctuality, however, isn’t being stressed enough in many schools because often times classes don’t even start on time.

Painting the Picture

Imagine: it’s 7:55 am. A student has just parked their car and is walking to their class that starts at 8am. They know they’ll probably be a few minutes late and will make it to the classroom around 8:02. But that’s okay, because it’s the instructor’s first class of the day too, and they aren’t always on time in the morning. And even if they are, the sign-in sheet is still out for a few minutes after class has started, anyway.  As long as the student gets there on time to sign the sheet before the instructor collects it, they will get credit for being in class that day. Since the student is aware of this reality, they aren’t in a rush to get to class at 8am sharp. They know the instructor will still be getting settled and class might start a few minutes later than it should. But the student doesn’t mind, as long as they receive credit for being present for the entirety of class.

student checking his watch, showing acountability

In order to get students ready for the workforce, schools must teach their students how to behave responsibly, professionally, and according to policy. As long as the instructors aren’t holding the student’s accountable for being in class the second it starts, many students won’t make an effort to be punctual. But if the students had a timeclock in their pocket and it was their responsibility to check in and out of class, they will be much more likely to hold themselves accountable for attendance. That’s where CourseKey comes into play.

Students Seize Responsibility

CourseKey gives schools a way to impress upon students the importance of being present when expected to be. Through CourseKey’s mobile software, students are able to hold themselves accountable for being on time to class. All the instructor has to do is schedule an automated attendance window before the first day of class, and their job is done. Whether the student gets credit for each session or not is up to them and if they decide to be punctual for the start of class. The fact that students can access their gradebook, which includes assessment grades and attendance records, on their phone, makes it much easier for them to monitor their own progression. Because students are aware that attendance is a huge part of their advancement through their programs and because they know it’s tracked down to the second, students are making an effort to get to class on time. 

In fact, at Unitek College, an institution using CourseKey to track attendance, students’ effort is very apparent: “Our students are running to class now. They know they’re being docked, so it is a mad rush right before the classes. You know when a class is getting ready to start because these students are running. And they actually like the accountability, believe it or not.”

In the past, students did not have access to their attendance records on their phone, leaving them to guess what their record might be. Students using CourseKey to check in and out of class have a tangible attendance record in their pocket that they can point to when applying for jobs as proof of their ability to be responsible and punctual. This is a critical quality that hiring managers want to know students possess before extending them an offer.

A Shift In Mindset

Giving students the ability to hold themselves accountable for their attendance helps implement a change in mind-set when students arrive for class or for work. Once a student gets there and check-in to the session, they’re ready to focus on the task at hand. They aren’t waiting for the instructor to get things set up, or for someone to hand them the sign-in sheet. They have flipped the proverbial switch in their mind, and are checked-in and ready to go. Noone else is going to prompt them to be mentally present, or guide them through the process of getting credit for being there. Students using CourseKey learn to follow policy, holding themselves accountable to be present when expected to by an instructor or manager.

Interested in discovering how else CourseKey can benefit your institution and your students? Check out or schedule a demo with a CourseKey team member by clicking the button below.

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