Student Attendance

Socrates: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”

A number of higher education institutions impose compulsory lecture attendance. To enforce this regulation students are required to put their signature on an attendance sheet during the lecture. Students are not allowed to take the final exam, are instructed to take a repeat exam, or receive a lower grade when attendance is below a certain limit. To circumvent this regulation students sign the attendance sheet after the lecture or ask a colleague to sign. It is better to use the attendance roll for evaluating the quality of the lecturer rather than for assessing or punishing the students. If a lecture is worth attending student will enthusiastically attend it.

To become a faculty member does not mean that the person must lecture. A faculty member can plan and prepare a variety of teaching-learning experiences (TLEs) that are suitable to the minimum competencies students must master and maximum competencies students can possibly attain. A lecture is only one type of TLE, and it should be used to motivate students to think (= to attain the maximum competencies). Only faculty members who have become “specialists” in a certain field can inspire students. They have done a lot of thinking on the matter themselves through research and writing. Faculty members who have just been recruited usually start as “generalists”. They can function as instructors of lab exercises, facilitators of problem-based discussion groups, partners of self-directed learning (elective TLE), and resource persons of basic learning materials.

In addition to student attendance there are other student behaviors that can be used for assessing the quality of a TLE unit (module, packet). For example, searching for further information, developing a personal filing system, conducting an individual project, submitting writings to media/periodicals, collaborating with other students. These “moving towards to/away from” behaviors are valid measures of TLE quality only if students trust that they are not used for measuring student performance.

1 Comment

One thought on “Student Attendance

  1. As a student, I can’t help but agree with you.
    Personally, I only attend courses that attract me – because of the material and/or the teacher.
    “Veritas” is the first word that came into my mind when reading your writings.
    I think TLEs are supposed to be planned and prepared not only to motivate students to think but also to teach honesty. “White-collar crime” committed by students is no secret anymore.
    How could we build a good TLE without honesty as a foundation?
    Without it will we produce more “The Emperor’s New Clothes” actors?

    Fatia N Masriati
    MD/MHM Final Year Student
    Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta
    INDONESIA
    fay.fatia@gmail.com

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