Fifty colleges and universities in the U.K. will be piloting a new app intended to track students’ study habits and allow their instructors to intervene if students appear to be falling behind or struggling with material. The pilot starts in September.
The app—created by Jisc, an academic technology firm—automatically keeps tabs on each student’s interaction with their school’s digital systems.
“In the way a Fitbit device tracks personal training metrics, Jisc’s app will record students’ learning activity,” said a report in U.K.’s The Independent. “Each time a student logs onto their virtual learning environment to access course materials, clocks into the library, or submits a piece of work online, the app will create a ‘digital footprint’ of their performance.”
In particular, the app’s developer is hoping to stem the tide of university dropouts. The Independent noted a recent U.K. study found that 27% of first-year students either dropped out in their second term or planned to do so as soon as the term ended.
The app will also allow students to track their own progress through each course and determine whether they are meeting requirements. They can also opt to share certain information with classmates in order to benchmark their efforts.