The issue of whether attendance at lectures should be compulsory cannot be an either/or argument (“Should student attendance in classes be compulsory?”, News, 20 October). Some professional bodies require attendance. Some students recognise that they might learn something if they attend. Some learn because they read or engage with virtual learning environment material.
I think mandatory attendance sends a message to students that the university is responsible, rather than the student. We need to educate students about the ways they might learn, and their metacognitive abilities need to be developed along with their cognitive ones.
Without some kind of teaching and learning, students don’t “just grow up”. In the article, university students are likened to gym members; if we extend the gym metaphor, the gym has to be suitable. Of course, the parallel is flawed as students are currently “paying” a deferred membership fee. Much more discussion and conversation about learning is needed between teachers and students.