February 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.

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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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