Why One University Made Fitbits Mandatory for Students

At 10,000 steps required a day, this student body will be a fit body

Starting this year, incoming students at Oral Roberts University are required to wear Fitbits and track at least 10,000 steps a day. At first thought the move is questionable, but further examination of the school’s strategy and the market signal a larger trend of emerging tech-integrated college experiences.

For students at Oral Roberts, the idea of logging activity data for course credit isn’t new. Since its founding in 1965, the university has maintained a fitness component as part of its “Whole Person Education,” and students have had to manually enter aerobics points in journals for course credit.

Now, info on number of steps taken and heart rate will be automatically transferred from students’ band to a learning management system calledBrightspace, where points will be added to the grade book. Students who don’t show physical progress will have to continue with physical education courses.

For many, the college experience is more than a time for intellectual exploration. It’s a time for personal growth and development, both physically and emotionally. Oral Roberts has striven to enrich the mind, body, and spirt, and fitness tracking is a logical extension of this mission.

While the university’s Fitbit policy may be the first of its kind, other experiments and programs have implemented wearables across other campuses. At the University of Missouri, for example, students with Fitbits can redeem prizes once they reach 1 million steps tracked. Staff and faculty can even get rebates on their Fitbits purchased on campus bookstores. At Harvard, professors have eventracked their steps to see if increased movement correlates with greater classroom discussion and output. 

read the full article at psfk.com