Waking up in the morning to see you’ve missed your first class is not a good feeling for college students. Not only was a whole class-worth of information missed, but your grade likely dropped because of the absence. Attendance is crucial to education, but college is the time for students to take responsibility for their actions, and showing up for their education should be a part of that.
It makes sense that attendance is required during primary school. A child is not going to class on their own accord; they need the push and guidance of an adult so they stay in school; however, a college student should not have the same problem. Students at UO should be aware of how much money they’re spending and how much each class costs. If you are expected to live on your own and feed yourself, you should also be expected to be informed about your own education.
In some cases it is clear that attendance is required. If a class has 10 or fewer students in it, not showing up will impact the other nine. These types of classes may require full participation, but a majority of large lecture-style classes do not.
Getting punished for missing one class does more than just incentivize students to attend — it angers them as well. People are rarely happy to see that their class has required attendance, and sometimes requiring attendance is a good way to make sure people in class do not pay attention.
I have seen many students with more than one iClicker, in an attempt to bypass the required attendance rule. Instead of focusing on class material, the only thing students are focusing on is their attendance grade. People often leave once they have proven they were there in the first place.
It is good to keep students engaged and interacting with the material, but doing so requires an involved and enthusiastic professor. Attendance is often regarded as an easy way to force class engagement.
College is a time when students are supposed to learn about being responsible with their time, money, resources and emotions. Part of being responsible with time is time management, a skill that is degraded by mandatory attendance. Students should be able to decide how to best use their time, even if it means not attending a class. Without the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, time management in the real world will be a difficult skill to learn.