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Mandatory attendance

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 05:25PM

Category: Miscellaneous

Written by Sarah | With 1 comment

Strathclyde have adopted an attendance register for every class and students may get penalised for not attending enough classes. My fellow classmates tell me this also happened in their undergrad universities. Is this normal? Is Edinburgh University weird to allow students completely free choice whether they attend lectures?

I can see that for a hands-on course like forensics, the lab sessions are vital to attend, but this morning's lecture I could have easily just read the notes online. I don't like being forced to go - even though I attended every single lecture of my entire undergrad degree (apart from when I was ill, totally forgot or over slept). People decide to go to university by choice and often pay vast amounts of money for it. I think they should choose what lectures they go to! However I do think students who don't attend anything should be questioned as to why they are there in the first place. But I really do think no one should be forced to sit through an excruciatingly awful lecture week after week and get penalised for it.

A lot of my courses last year had appalling attendance. From a class of about 100 students, we ended up with 5 people in the final lecture. Woeful attendance means something has gone wrong. Students don't want to be there - it's either far too hard, way too easy or more commonly, taught awfully. Lack of attendance is a sure sign that the course needs to change, and if everyone is forced to attend, then the department solely relies on students telling them the course is bad. This doesn't happen! From my experience as class rep, year rep and school rep - students don't bother complaining. And if they do, they certainly don't tell anyone who could do something about it! Last year I sent out mass emails to 4th year students asking for comments, suggestions and complaints about any of their courses and I got 7 replies out of roughly 100 (and most of those were from my friends). You need other, easily monitored, ways of reviewing courses and attendance is one of them. I can see why universities want mandatory attendance but I don't think it's a good idea. I'd love to hear people's views on this :)

Tagged with: masters, Strathclyde


I'm one of those 95% who rarely or never attended lectures, at least for the last two years of Uni. Main reason was that I just didn't learn very well from them. Partly due to the teaching (which generally wasn't bad, but at the same time wasn't exactly captivating) and partly due to my learning style -- I'm someone who learns best by doing rather than by listening or reading. Hence I found it more productive to spend the time doing practical work than attending lectures; I'd often skip lectures to work on assignments.

Anyway, goes without saying that people should be given the choice of whether to attend: I'm very much a believer in people taking responsibility for their own education by this stage of their lives. I didn't realise mandatory attendance was common, it just doesn't make sense!

Unfortunately I'm also one of the 95% of people who didn't fill in the feedback forms. Always intended to but never got round to it, so I've got no excuses.
Thu, 01 Oct 2009 10:08AM

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