Tag Archives: attendance

Should I stay or should I go….

It would appear that the remote teaching during covid is continuing to have an impact on attendance at in-person teaching. Alongside the cost of living crisis, rising costs, the need to work, and interestingly a perception by students that attendance at in-person sessions was unlikely to benefit their learning and their grades.

Scores of current UK students shared with the Guardian how they feel about attending university lectures and tutorials.

‘I see little point’: UK university students on why attendance has plummeted

About half of the students who got in touch said they were regularly skipping classes, with many saying they were hardly attending at all. A lot of students pointed to financial difficulties forcing them to prioritise paid work over studying, a lack of enthusiasm for the format of lectures, low motivation to get up and go in, and the perception that attending classes was unlikely to improve their grades.

We have to remember that many of these students would not have been at university during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. They would have been at school or college. Going forward there will be a continuing stream of new students who experienced remote teaching at school who will be attending university.

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian questioned in an opinion piece on university finances,

…why sixth-formers get so much more teaching time than university students at far lower cost.

The amount of in-person contact time that students have, is so much less than they experienced at college and school, that you have to ask, with less hours to attend than their previous educational experiences, they might value it more. It would appear that they value it less.

The financial imperative for work by students was also illustrated at the Wonkhe event, The Secret Life of Students.

The latest and most powerful insights on the student condition from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s Belong student survey platform and from across the HE sector.

I did a sketch note on that session.

There was a lot of things in there, about sleep, travel time, working, and time travelling to work.

A student also presented at that event and talked about how the need for work, would often trump attendance at lectures and classes. The student also questioned the value of attendance of in-person sessions which could be accessed through recordings later, or what needed to be learnt was learnt more effectively through resources and books.

Also see the original article that inspired the Guardian survey: Lectures in question as paid work pushes attendance even lower

Lecture attendance is now so low that some academics have started to openly question the future of the teaching method.

So what should universities do in light of this insight? What is the future of university teaching and how does it need to change? Also how does the university manage student expectations so that they stop seeing in-person teaching as a choice, and isn’t the optional extra of a university education.

Finally, and something I have been reflecting on this, what is the role of digital and technology in all this?