Qwickly attendance is the latest technological miracle that IE University has tried to implement. It is a tool whereby students sign into class via a QR code, making attendance faster and easier- in perfect harmony with the slogan “driving innovation.” The issue, however, is that it does not work. More often than not, the app crashes, will not let you sign in or simply shows error messages over and over. This has happened to all of us, in almost every subject. In fact, sharing our common loathing for Qwickly has become an integral part of the IE University student experience.
A few weeks ago, one of my professors asked why we do not complain about Qwickly. Another two asked if theirs was the only class in which the app did not work, feeling guilty. This issue has been a headache for both students and faculty ever since the app was first implemented. Yet the university administration has not given any indication of wanting to change it or even knowing of the issue.
This means that they either do not know of the struggle or do not think that it is worth solving. The issue has an easily implementable solution, which is simply to remove Qwickly and take attendance manually, like anywhere else. While this may be more time-consuming in theory, the problems that Qwickly creates and emails that have to be written are likely more extensive in the long run. The problem that it has created is much bigger than the problem it intended to solve. Since the solution is so simple, and the issue has persisted for so long, I have assumed that the administration does not know just how terrible the app is.
Still, this Qwickly issue by itself is a small thing. I would be lying if I said that it has caused any real deterioration in my quality of life, and I do not ever want to sound ungrateful for the opportunities that this campus has given me. I am more than thankful that my university is willing to embrace change and improve our learning through technology whenever possible (although they have yet to learn that not all change is good change). The real problem, however, is that Qwickly is a symptom of a much greater issue; there is clearly a disconnect between the school administration and the students.
We have complained about this app for over a year. The lack of a solution in such a huge time frame indicates that the student body cannot communicate efficiently with the university administration. We do not have a channel through which we can voice our concerns unless they are explicitly asked for. This, in turn, means that the university’s administration will never know of the student body’s everyday problems. It is vital for the staff to understand what students go through and face on a daily basis, as well as give feedback about the organization.
As was to be expected, this issue is starting to affect larger areas. IE recently increased our expected attendance from 70% to 80%, meaning that we can miss three classes in a 15-session course and six classes in a 30-session one. I assume IE’s intention with this change was to improve our education, yet it has had quite the opposite effect. Students have a harder time seeing their families, which is vital for our mental health and thus for our learning. Even more importantly, however, students can no longer undertake the educational experiences they used to. Now, they may have to choose between a trip to a climate forum in Saudi Arabia and MUN, or a conference in Paris and a sibling’s graduation.
Having to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a possible future career opportunity does not, in fact, improve our learning. Instead, this attendance policy will likely force us to miss out on incredible opportunities; the same ones that IE boasts so proudly to incoming students. We have complained about the repercussions of this change constantly, yet we have gotten no indication of them listening. Even the student government, which is supposed to bridge the gap between the groups, is not heard as much as they should be.
While I would not expect the administration to change every small issue that is ever brought up, the problems with Qwickly have persisted for far too long. As students, we have no way of knowing that the next issue we face will be addressed or even noticed by our university. Even our professors seem to agree with us, yet every day we open the same app and try to scan the same QR code. Is this the best communication that we can have? One where a widely unanimous opinion on an issue is ignored for over a year? If this is not solved, it is going to start seeping into much more dramatic problems.
The slogan “driving innovation” cannot only apply to technology. It does not apply if we slap the newest app into our curriculums, do not check if it works, and do not follow up on whether it continues to. Innovation has to be holistic, and it has to prioritize the well-being of those who are most affected by it. It is time that we innovate in improving cross-organizational communication at our university. If the university truly believes in their slogan, it is time to act on it.
Featured image: Financial Times