iBeacon feature assists HIP classes

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Cal State Fullerton has implemented a new technology called iBeacon in which students can track their attendance in class by shaking their phone.

iBeacon is a new device developed by Apple that provides more opportunities for location awareness within apps.

When students open the iFullerton app in their classroom, the device can detect their location through the phone’s movement using bluetooth technology.

“This new technology allows students to check in and record their High Impact Practice (HIP) experiences. All this information is presented to professors and advisors in a custom report on Titanium in real time. Utilizing these new tools will give professors a new level of interaction with their student,” according to CSUF’s latest annual IT report for 2015-2016.

As of 2016, every classroom on campus is equipped with iBeacon. This is the third semester of iBeacon’s use at CSUF. The device was first piloted in fall of 2015 in a small number of classrooms and then expanded the following spring.

The device is being used in HIP courses. HIPs give students hands-on experiences inside and outside the classroom. Different components such as attendance are tracked in HIPs to show faculty the involvement of each student.

Senior animation student Gabriela Madison uses iBeacon in her Intro to 3D design class with professor Bryan Cantley. The device was first introduced to her when an IT representative came to her class to explain the iFullerton app. She said it is a convenient way to take attendance.

The service provides an easier way for professors to take attendance.

“In some classes faculty were striking attendance using a paper list and now they don’t have to use that anymore,” said Berhanu Tadesse, associate vice president for Information Technology/Infrastructure Services.

By using the iBeacon technology in classrooms, faculty gain back the time that is lost when manually tracking attendance, Tadesse said.

The piloting of the iBeacon device was apart of IT’s second goal in its 2014-2018 strategic plan.

The technology is used in other industries as well. For example, Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. uses iBeacons to guide fans to concessions stands and restrooms through a mobile app.

Tadesse said he has heard of other universities using iBeacons in similar ways to provide dynamic navigation on campus but was unaware if they are using it for the same purpose as CSUF.

Currently, iBeacon is only being used to track high-impact practice but could expand to all courses in the future, Tadesse said.

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