The University of Melbourne has moved to allay privacy concerns amid revelations it is tracking students through their wi-fi usage.
The university said the practice, which looked at where people were moving around campus, helped institutions improve retention rates and the experience of students.
Privacy groups expressed concern about the practice, which is also in place at some institutions around the country.
The head of services at the University of Melbourne Paul Duldig said there was no way of identifying students.
“[We’re] simply looking at where the people’s phones are on campus and seeing whether they’re in particular rooms or walking across campus at particular times so we can plan better,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne.
A computer-science professor at Dartmouth College is building a smartphone application that can detect users’ levels of happiness, stress, and loneliness, he says, with the hope of helping students monitor their mental health.
The app, called StudentLife, draws on sensor data from smartphones to “infer human behaviors,” says the professor, Andrew Campbell. It was inspired partly by the mental-health struggles that Mr. Campbell’s brother experienced while in college. The professor also wants to test his hypothesis, based on classroom observations, that students’ fluctuating stress levels correspond to their behaviors.
StudentLife is the first study that uses passive and automatic sensing data from the phones of a class of 48 Dartmouth students over a 10 week term to assess their mental health (e.g., depression, loneliness, stress), academic performance (grades across all their classes, term GPA and cumulative GPA) and behavioral trends (e.g., how stress, sleep, visits to the gym, etc. change in response to college workload — i.e., assignments, midterms, finals — as the term progresses).
Discusses the uses of iBeacon technology in libraries.