To skip or not to skip? New web site helps students decide

“I expect that students enrolling in my courses do so because they wish to gain knowledge, not mere information,” he wrote. “They are there to learn, not memorize. They show up because they want to understand, not because they need to fulfill a requirement or need a grade. … Thus, the best time to skip my class is never.”

Briggs said he hoped the web site wouldn’t catch on—although, in an eMail message to eCampus News, he said he expects the service would resonate with students.

“I hope it fails, and, while doing so, that it causes you to lose money,” he wrote, directing his blog post to Filbert. “It would be a good lesson for you. If you choose to attend to it.”

Filbert said he follows his detractors closely on Twitter and Facebook, and he doesn’t take the personal jabs from higher education personally.

“The negative stuff, I love it,” he said with a laugh. “What people don’t realize is that people who see those comments, they’re more likely to go to that link.”

In creating the checklist of questions from Skip Class, Filbert said he was careful not to include factors such as, “Are you hung over?” or “What’s the weather like today?”—both of which have been suggested by hundreds of students.

“It doesn’t matter what the weather is,” he said. “If you skip class, it’s the same amount of risk. It’s not about your wants for skipping class.”

Skip Class Calculator’s Facebook page is sprinkled with negative reviews among mostly positive remarks from people—some students and faculty members among them—who stumbled across the online calculator.

“Can you do one of these for faculty, too?” David Ritterskamp, a math professor at the University of Southern Indiana, asked on the Facebook page.

A Colorado State University student described Skip Class as a “funny tool” and wrote on the Facebook page: “Sure makes you feel proud of yourself when you go to a class.”

The Facebook page includes warnings from Facebook users, including one from Lucie Johnson, an instructional technology consultant at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn.

Skip Class “will give you a mistaken sense of security… Watch out!” Johnson wrote.

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