Alumni-created app gains popularity in the classroom

Arkaive, an app that provides online attendance management tools created by alumni Jaewoo Kim and Yoomi Chin, is gaining popularity on campus. Since its official release this summer, it has been downloaded by over 3,800 users, including professors and students.

Kim and Chin met at USC 13 years ago during their undergraduate careers. They crossed paths again when Kim approached Chin about launching a geolocation-based attendance application for college classrooms.

Kim was pursuing a master in business administration in London when he came up with the idea for Arkaive. Surprised that professors were still taking roll using pen and paper, Kim wanted to create a more efficient method for recording attendance.

Chin, who is now the chief marketing officer and director of communications at Arkaive, said she was immediately interested in Kim’s idea and wanted to join the venture.

“As an education researcher, I really believe in the need for technological innovations in schools, especially when it involves empowerment through participatory education,” Chin said.

Arkaive is currently working on an education-philanthropy initiative called “#OneStreetOver,” which aims to improve opportunities for homeless children in local neighborhoods.

Chin explained that professors get to help pay for homeless children in the greater Los Angeles area based on the attendance in their classrooms.

“Once an instructor pays a monthly subscription fee for the Arkaive app, we look at the average class attendance rate for that professor,” Chin said. “For example, if a professor has an average attendance rate of 85 percent attendance for a given month … then donate 85 percent of our net revenue to help the education of homeless children in that community.”

At USC, several professors have already adopted Arkaive in their classrooms.

Price School of Public Policy adjunct professor Mark Ruff recently started using it in his graduate-level real estate development class and his undergraduate policy, planning and development class.

“Before [using Arkaive], I had been taking attendance the traditional way with a sign-up sheet and then transferring it later to my own spreadsheet,” he said. “I kept thinking there had to be a better way to do this.”

After receiving an email from Arkaive about an automated attendance application, Ruff decided to give the app a chance. He signed up right before the first day of class and informed all of his enrolled students that he would be using it.

According to Ruff, Arkaive has already improved efficiency in his classroom after only one week.

“I love it, my students love it, one of my undergrads even told me last week that she wished all her professors used it,” he said.

A junior majoring in international relations, Jasper Hsu, said that his experience with Arkaive has been a positive.

“I used Arkaive for my ECON 205 class last semester,” Jasper said. “Throughout the semester, the app compiled our attendance data and allowed us to see our overall attendance rate.”

Jasper noted Arkaive’s excusal request function, which allows students to notify professors if they are going to miss a class.

“We can simply send in a request for the date we’ll be absent, and the professor will be able to see it,” Jasper said. “This convenient function takes away the chaotic problem of having our excusal requests lost in large email systems.”

Chin said that some of the immediate goals for the company include motivating students to attend class more often, encouraging professors to create dialogue within the classroom and raising public awareness about homeless children and their need for higher education.

“Eventually, we want to create an online platform where students and instructors of higher education can archive and track their information and resources,” Chin said. “We also want to identify ourselves as a socially responsible company that gives back to the community.”