A while ago, I heard about a website called Class 120. The service is designed to allow parents, coaches, and the like to see when college students are going to class. It uses the student’s smartphone location and class schedule to determine if the student attended the class or not. When I first heard of this, I rolled my eyes. I suspect many others have a similar reaction.
But the more I think about it, the less objectionable it seems. Going off to college is often the first time a teenager has real independence. It’s unreasonable to expect them all to do well with no experience. A little bit of passive supervision might be just what it takes to turn a $20,000 waste of a year into something more immediately useful. Sure, it could be a crutch, but sometimes crutches are necessary.
Speaking for myself, something like this might have been really useful in 2001. My first year as an undergraduate was pretty lousy academically, in part because I missed a lot of class. I learned my lesson eventually, but at the cost of effectively a wasted year. People have various ways to motivate themselves, some intrinsic, some extrinsic. Who am I to judge?