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Appsent

October 25, 2017
- Yash Bharani, Jeyashree Venkatesan, Aditya Rathi

The Students’ Affairs Council, after its latest meeting, announced that it shall be taking up the proposal for a new app, which shall be developed with the help of the Mobile Development Group of IIT Roorkee. Dubbed as ‘Appsent’, the app shall help repay the students a congruent amount of their tuition fees if they do not attend a certain lecture, tutorial, or practical of their curriculum. The app shares its premise with the recently launched ‘Appetizer’, which, upon being notified of your disinterest in enjoying (or subjecting yourself to) the facilities of the mess for a certain meal, helps you get a refund worth the amount you are entitled to.

The app was conceptualised after two students from the third year took up a project to explain why an app like ‘Appsent’ makes sense, under the guidance Prof. Ahluwalia of the Dept. of Mathematics. Whilst trying to convince us how they took this project up for a legitimate reason and not just to add points to their résumé, the students shared the summary of their paper, which read: “With the recent hike in the tuition fees for the incoming students, every new admit now pays Rs. 1,00,000 every semester for his/her academics. Considering that there are approximately 5 contact-hours a day; for the 80 odd working days in a semester, a student engages in 400 contact-hours every semester. Dividing the fees by that number, we realised how every student is paying a whopping Rs. 250 for an hour of lecture, practical or tutorial he/she attends. To put it in another way, for every hour of lecture, practical or tutorial a student misses, he/she effectively loses Rs. 250!”

The app shall come with real-time notifications of the upcoming lectures, display of your weekly schedule and a flagship feature which lets you skip any hour of your time-table you are not excited about. The amount you are entitled to for every week shall be cumulatively deposited directly into your bank account every Friday night. For this very purpose, students shall now have to link their Institute ID Card to their bank account. Every student can, nonetheless, avail rebates only for 25% of the total classes for every course, which, some believe, might encourage the students to attend the 75% of the classes they have to pay for no matter what.

Appsent

Despite this minor snag, the students were understandably overjoyed at the announcement. A resident of Jawahar Bhawan was quoted saying, “We really like sandwiches. However, our pocket money has never been enough to get us through the month. We have either been sleeping hungry, or filling up on the substandard sandwiches from the sandwich-guy across the bridge in Roorkee. Now, we simply miss a couple of lectures and get enough money to buy a couple of really good sandwiches to unwind after a long day.”

Not everyone, however, was happy after hearing about the introduction of the app. Faculty across the college believe that this adds to their concern of scarce attendance in their classes. A representative of the Main Building, who we caught up with after the Senate Meeting in which the app was finalised, said that the administration was planning on rewarding the teachers who drew in a high percentage of students, thereby incentivizing a large turnout to classes. This might also give an additional impetus to the teachers to conduct frequent quizzes in an effort to bring in more students to their classes. Some of the teachers also believe that there is a positive side to the whole charade for them too. “I have a feeling that I wouldn’t have to worry about proxy attendances anymore,” said a professor of the Chemical Department. “Students are not going to ask their friends to answer to the roll call on their behalf anymore and risk losing the money they would have been granted, had they not been marked ‘present’ in a class they didn’t attend.”

Prof. Ahluwalia, who faced severe backlash from the professors for encouraging such a project, defended himself by saying, “We were hoping that the students realise how frivolously they are wasting their money just by not showing up to the lectures and availing the services the institute offers and their parents paid for. However, instead of coming to the classes after some retrospection, the students have simply demanded their money back, claiming that they rightfully deserve it.” The administration, which was wary of triggering yet another peaceful protest in front of the Main Building, had no option but to cede to the request of the students and ask the SAC collaborate with the MDG to develop the app.

‘Appsent’ shall soon be available on the Play Store and the App Store, possibly before the start of the next semester.