Bowling Green grad develops Skip Class Calculator
Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 19:10
The Friday morning debate whether to attend class with an array of wristbands (or an X-covered face) has become slightly more technical with the introduction of the Skip Class Calculator.
Created by Bowling Green State University alumnus Jim Filbert, the calculator asks students questions about their classes, calculates points based on their responses and provides the student with a score that determines the eligibility to skip class and enjoy that extra hour of sleep.
"The calculation itself is all a part of a lengthy algorithm," Filbert said. "Basically, every answer you make is assigned a point value."
He said values are put through an equation that produces a number from 1 to 100, assessing whether or not a student should attend class on a given day.
Filbert said the concept came to him while debating whether to attend a class of his own. "I decided to look around on the Internet for something like this, but found nothing, so I decided it was up to me to create something like it," Filbert said.
To ensure the questions presented to students were able to adequately calculate whether skipping would be acceptable, Filbert sought beta testers, which test products before they are released. One tester was Miami senior Becky Jenkins.
According to Jenkins, she discovered the Skip Class Calculator while browsing through the popular site StumbleUpon.com a year and a half ago. She decided to follow the progress of the calculator's site through Facebook, where she was eventually chosen as a tester for the website.
"We gave our opinions on the designs and questions," Jenkins said. "The site tells you all over that it is your decision whether to go to class or not. The questions are valid and they really make you think about the decision."
Additionally, Filbert said there are more than 44,000 calculations made based on 10 questions that inquire about previous classes skipped, current grades and dates of major exams.
While students praise the website for its innovation, some professors are not as enthusiastic about the calculator.
Botany Assistant Professor Richard Moore said the calculator's predictions may not be as precise as student's hope.
"As a professor, I would strongly encourage my students to attend all classes," Moore said. "I do not understand how anything like that could be accurate."
Moore, who currently teaches a large lecture course, acknowledged students are prone to absences, but he said students only hurt themselves by skipping class.
"Ultimately students will decide (to skip class) on their own, not based on an online survey," Moore said. "You only get from class what you put in."
According to Filbert, the online calculator doesn't encourage students to skip class, but to assess the risk of an absence.
Students can test the Skip Class Calculator for themselves by visiting www.skipclasscalculator.com.