Youhere Case Study: Teaching college

One of our clients was kind enough to allow us to interview them (over Zoom), to ask how Youhere was working for them. They teach Astronomy to a class of 120 students at a two-year community college. Here's what they said.

I wanted to take attendance for my astronomy class of over 100 people. A paper sign-in sheet or calling names one-by-one were not options. So, I decided to give Youhere a try. There are few other services, but Youhere seemed to be the simplest. I emailed my students a few days before class started and told them to download and install the check-in app. I also didn't start formally using it until a few days into my term (to allow students to install it, etc.), and to explain that we will be taking daily attendance in this class.

In my class, I usually start out by writing the topic-schedule for the hour on the board. Now, at the very top, I also write "Check-in please" as you can see here. This is a day I was talking about the Moon:

A chalk board with a class schedule written on it.

Turning around, I see my students filing into their seats. The class noise level is fairly high (faces blurred for privacy) as their are over 100 students in this class all moving about. This does seem like a perfect time to have them do "pre-class" task, like checking-in.

Students sitting in their seats in a classroom.

Our classes all start at 10 min. after the hour. This is a 2:10-3pm class. I dropped a Youhere check-in pin on a map right over my building. It's a two-storey building, and I'm on the ground floor. I set a check-in window from 2:00-2:15pm.

I call class to order, typically starting with a "hello," then I read off the topics for the day from the list on the board (see picture above).

I usually orally ask them to "check-in please," and kind of emphasize this as a request from me. I wait a few seconds for this, panning my head left and right across the sea of faces. Many have already tapped in, but a few will get out their phones and check-in.

I know many have already checked-in (or tapped-in) because the app tells each how far they are from official pin-point on the map, and they often joke about this, as in "ooo...I was only 2.4 meters away!" I slowly begin my class and all seems well with the checking in each day.

How long it take to take attendance? I really don't know, because when I'm ready to start class at 2:10 or so, attendance is done. I think allowing everyone to check themselves in is what makes "how long it takes" hard to assess. Everyone kind of does it at once! It probably takes a few seconds for everyone to check-in.

I always bring a sign-in sheet too, as some will have forgotten their phones or have dead batteries. I tell them not to worry, but to just come up as they leave class to jot their name down. (Note: This sign-in sheet was made for illustration here with fake student names. -- Editors)

An attendance sign-in sheet with names on it.

No big deal. When I get back to my office, I manually check-in the few on the list, then draw a line through their name so I know I checked them in. (This takes a minute or two.) Students also always have access to their records and can see for themselves how many check-ins they have.

Attendance is one of those boring teacher-tasks, but Youhere handles it just fine for me! I usually make attendance worth 10% of their class grade. Definitely glad to be using it. All told, I am taking attendance for a large group, and it really hasn't increased my work-load at all.