This Quinnipiac University student has a point. It makes no sense for professors to have strict attendance policies in classes where attendance is pointless.

But of course precisely classes in which attendance is useless tend to be those with the strictest attendance policies. After all, the entire class – not just this student – can reason their way to non-attendance of a class in which attendance is pointless. And they do; they do.

Which leaves the professor in an embarrassing position. She comes to class to turn out the lights, put her head down, and read aloud her prepared PowerPoint script. She seems to think that’s what Quinnipiac is paying her for: She is to appear twice a week, set up a PowerPoint, and read the slides out loud.

But if there are no students in the room, she not only enters, twice a week, a theater of the absurd; she also worries that word will get around that although her enrollments look fine, the reality is that no one attends any of her classes.

No one is going to be more frantic about mandatory attendance than this woman; it’s the only way she can maintain the fiction that she’s a professor and not a robotic data dumper. Of course she’ll encourage her students to use their laptops during class (she’s way tech-friendly; it’s so cutting-edge… So much better than turning on the lights and looking at people and talking to them … ), which will soften the blow for them… Give them something to do while she’s reciting the alphabet.

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2 Responses to ““The worst is when the class consists of the professor lecturing students from a PowerPoint, word for word, that they are going to post on BlackBoard. Then they allow students to take the test on blackboard as well. What is the point of the class? I might as well be taking it online. There is no point for me to go to that class, yet the professor insists on sending around the attendance sheet, every single time.””

  1. david foster Says:

    There is a whole plague of individuals who are in jobs that are substantially *about* speaking to groups of people…but are just terrible at performing this task. One would think that basic self-respect, if nothing else, would encourage them to upgrade their skills in this area, but evidently not.

    I think there is much to be said for re-establishing Rhetoric..including both the ability to speak and the ability to a core element of a university education.

  2. Van L. Hayhow Says:

    Well, I am on record as saying that the person who invented PowerPoint (used incorrectly, as it usually is) should rot in hell for all eternity. I do teach one course where the developer of the course provided PowerPoint slides that actually work, but that is, unfortunately, unusual. I am also taking a master’s program on a CE basis at Harvard. The first 6 courses I took were on campus, but, for various reasons, the last 3 were online. In these 3 cases, the lectures were recorded before a “live” audience of Harvard students. These lectures have left me with a question. Do full-time Harvard students ask questions?

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