This University Is Making its Students Wear Fitbits

February 4, 2016, 5:41 PM UTC
Wearable Technology And The Latest Gadgets On Display At The IFA International Consumer Electronics Show
An employee wears a Fitbit Inc. Surge smartwatch during the IFA International Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. IFA is Europe's largest consumer electronics show and runs Sept. 4-9. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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This story has been corrected. See below.

Oral Roberts University has made it mandatory for all incoming students to wear Fitbits.

The college has a fitness requirement as part of what it calls a “Whole Person Education.” Wearable technology is an update to its previous tracking method of recording activity in a fitness journal, according a press release by the school, and allows for precise logging so that students can be graded more accurately. ORU’s academic policies state that students who don’t make “satisfactory progress in physical fitness” will have to continue enrolling in physical education courses until they do.

This new program is mandatory for all incoming freshmen, and allows older students to opt in. The only complaint that the college has received has been about Fitbit’s (FIT) $150 price tag, according to the Washington Post.

“ORU offers one of the most unique educational approaches in the world by focusing in the Whole Person,” ORU’s president William M. Wilson stated in the press release. “Mind, body, and spirit.” He says it’s the first college to implement this technological approach to fitness, which “sets ORU apart.” Though simply having a fitness requirement already sets the college apart to some degree. As of 2010, only 39% of colleges mandate physical education, down from 97% in the 1920s.

Motherboard notes that the device offers a sexual activity fitness category. As a Christian college ORU prohibits premarital sex, raising questions about its motivation behind the new program. However, those suspicions can be put to rest as an ORU representative told the site that the school is unable to see itemized activities.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Fitbit used to offer a sexual activity tracking feature.

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