Classroom attendance

Why do or don’t students attend classes? I’ve noticed in my years that some students are quick to dismiss lectures as boring. Occasionally this conclusion is used to mask laziness. I’ve also seen instructors fail to connect with their students, and simply read their lecture for the 5th year in a row.

This article from Inside Higher Education interviews several different instructors for a range of reactions and attitudes towards absenteeism in higher education classes.

    how bad are attendance records, really?
    are some lectures simply boring and not worth the time?
    how does changes in grading or pop quizzes change attendance? (the stick)
    what kinds of interactions or connections work? (the carrot)
    does it matter to the instructor?
    does attendance make a difference to student learning?
    if it does, do students know why?
    when does classroom size impact attendance?

The interest in this article lies in the range of opinions and reactions to these questions. Seems it’s about the students, and the instructors, and the learning, and the structure of universities as a whole.

What is not mentioned is different learning styles: if instructors are simply teaching their preferred way, or alternatively, creating multiple ways to approach the material, how does this impact learning?

I attended most of my first year classes, but I was part of a program where we were in small (15 students) tutorials for most of the week, and required to hand in work every couple of weeks. That and our instructors evident enthusiasm was a powerful incentive.


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