Oklahoma private university makes Fitbits mandatory

by: John DyeFebruary 3, 2016
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A Christian university in Tulsa, Oklahoma has made wearing Fitbits required of all students at all hours. They’re calling this part of their “whole person education” approach, and students’ fitness statistics will even be collected across holidays like spring break.

Oral Roberts University has been pushing better fitness for its students for a long time. Previously, students had to manually log workout routines as a part of a mandatory health regimen. This battle against the “Freshman Fifteen” has just gotten a little bit simpler (if more expensive) thanks to wearable technology. All 900 incoming students must now purchase and wear Fitbits that will relay data to a “central learning management system.”

Perhaps controversially, students’ fitness information will be made available to professors, who are encouraged to lower a student’s grade if they fail to meet their fitness goals. Some may argue (reasonably) that grades are typically regarded as a figure that represents a student’s comprehension of a particular topic, and that it would be nonsensical to say that, although Kyle understands 98% of vectors calculus, he’s only going to be slipping by with a B- because he didn’t go jogging as often as he should have. But hey, at least there will be some new style options coming up.

Fitbit Alta 2See also: The Fitbit Alta is a new fashion-forward fitness tracker with interchangeable bands2

Although students will not be tracked via GPS (a feature offered by Fitbit Surge), they will still be monitored at all times. Meaning if you’re logging footsteps while you should be sitting in Biology 101, your hooky-playing may be noticed. Rest assured that in some dorm on campus, some engineering student is putting together a Fitbit-gaming device – possibly involving a metronome or drill – to ensure that he or she can meet the requisite fitness goals without falling behind on League of Legends.

Oral Roberts University was founded by a televangelist who was one of the main players in what came to be known as the “prosperity gospel,” a sect of theology that considers prosperity to be a hallmark of God’s favor. Roberts once told his television audience that if he failed to raise $8 million, God would call him home. When the fundraising was over, Roberts had netted $9.1 million.

What are your thoughts regarding required fitness tracking at a private university? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Arman

    Sounds crazy but its actually not that bad..

  • Eyro

    As a Christian, I feel like this is just weird. Not gonna bash or hate or argue.

    This is just plain weird.

  • J B Bell

    Maybe leave the universal surveillance up to the guy who is already all-seeing and all-benevolent. Because I don’t trust this university to be either.

  • TiSu

    To clarify, all incoming freshman are required to take the health and physical education course. The fitbit is a new requirement for that class, like a calculator in calculus. The fitbit allows the professors to record the data instead of having to read student fitness journals. ORU is an Evangelical school where students are expected to attend chapel,

  • Abhijeet

    The wordplay of the university aside, I’m quite ok with the idea. If up to me, i would make this mandatory for all police personnel here in India.

  • MaLik Hadi

    i think it a good idea…but i would love to wear a samsung gear or moto 360 in my university rather than a color full band….

    • rav

      I think it’s about the price. Fitbit is much cheaper

  • Richard Molby

    I have just a few words for what this university is doing – THE MARK OF THE BEAST!
    The all-knowing eye of big brother (the university management) wants to know everything!
    This is WRONG! There is nothing Christian about this… only GOD should KNOW EVERYTHING.
    This university is a CULT gathering place.
    This is why I don’t go to church. I don’t need to go to any facility – to BELIEVE!
    True spiritual faith is all in your heart and mind. No physical facilities required.
    I’m done discussing this.

    • Allan Tan

      Agree.

    • HJ

      The only difference between this and Jim Jones is they haven’t served the cool-aid yet.