Mark Zuckerberg – Staff Writer
Traditionally, Dordt College has graded its students based on their effort and how well they do in their classes. Next academic year, President of Dordt College, Erik Hoekstra, would like to see that changed.
“I really think that we are starting to be seen as an ‘outdated’ college because of the way we grade our students,” said Hoekstra.
The plan is to start grading students based on their popularity on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If students have chosen to stay off of the social media wagon, they will be required to bake a chocolate or funfetti cake every semester, which will become the basis on which they receive their grades.
“We’re still getting the details worked out, but we’re really excited to see what this next academic year holds in store for us with the new system,” said Hoekstra.
The plan is to rate each student based on how frequently they post, how many “likes” or re-tweets they get on those posts and how many friends and followers they have, or, how good of a cake they can bake, should they choose to forgo social media. President Hoekstra believes this will better prepare students for the real-world that they will face once they leave Dordt.
“Today’s society is more concerned with who can achieve the best ‘selfie’ than with who got the best grades in their pre-med program,” said Hoekstra. “We’re just preparing them for what reality is going to be like once they leave Dordt. Plus, what employer isn’t going to love a good cake?”
“I think this is a great idea. President Hoekstra definitely has his priorities straight, in my opinion. Kids need to learn about what’s important, and these days, it’s social media,” said Mark Volkers, professor of digital media.
While there are some who support Hoekstra, there are others who are seeing major red flags.
“Students don’t come to an academic center for learning in order to be graded by popularity,” said Charles Veenstra, professor of communications. “They come to learn and to fill their minds with ideas they hadn’t had before!”
Veenstra is afraid his students will not be employable once people find out that they were graded based on their social media popularity.
“I think it’s awesome! I LOVE taking selfies, and I have so many friends on Facebook. Some of them I don’t even know! I just wish I was going to be around to take advantage of this grading system,” said Jillian Hooyer, a senior education major.
“I wasn’t that excited about staying for one more semester, but now I’m pumped. My GPA will go up, for sure,” said Jonathan Sanny, a senior psychology major with one semester left.
There are those who are concerned that this will spike the number of hours students spend on social media sites, and decrease the number of hours they spend on homework. The worry is that kids will become so obsessed with “likes” and re-tweets, they will not have time for real social settings anymore. Those in authority have been told about these concerns. Their response: “Time will tell.”