Ends rather than means

August 5, 2010

I find Adrian Quinn's opinion piece extraordinary ("Paying for a course doesn't mean students can buy a degree", 29 July). By stating that attendance at lectures should be compulsory, he seems to suggest that what students should be learning at university is the value of presentism.

Surely, what the university offers is teaching in a subject, but in the end it does not matter how students learn, so long as they can demonstrate their learning.

What is worse, we have known for years that lectures are one of the least efficient forms of learning - so why make them compulsory? If students thought that Quinn's lectures were useful, presumably they would attend. So for whose benefit is the compulsion: Quinn's or the students'?

From the author's own example, it is not attendance at driving lessons that driving examiners look at. It does not matter how drivers have learned to drive, only whether they are safe on the road.

Tom Franklin, Tom Franklin Consulting Ltd York.

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