Focus Break

Digital copies of lectures aren’t going to enhance students’ involvement in and understanding of their classes. For that, we simply have to show up to class regularly.

Go to class. It’s easy for students to lose focus after Thanksgiving break.

Lecture classes, Blackboard and online assignments make it easy for students to miss class. Instructors who don’t take attendance provide even more of an incentive for students to blow off class.

TUcapture, which is steadily growing in use, allows students to watch, pause, rewind and fast forward their lectures online. This technology is useful for review and can enhance the learning experience, but it is also another instrument that will help lazy students stay unmotivated.

Skipping class will only hurt students in the long run. Students who frequently skip classes or assignments typically receive lower grades than those who attend class regularly.

Missing the occasional class for a legitimate reason like an illness, appointment or emergency is acceptable, but skipping class too often can have consequences. Professors often give quizzes and extra credit assignments without notice, sometimes as a reward for students who attend class regularly. Even the professors who post lecture notes and assignments on Blackboard can make announcements in class. Blackboard and TUcapture should be used as supplements — not substitutes — for classroom attendance.

Just showing up isn’t enough. The effort needs to start before class. Students need to do the readings and the homework and prepare themselves beforehand. Even in the biggest of lectures, instructors recognize the names and faces of the students who show up most often. Those who have high attendance rates and hand in their work on time will fare the best.

When classes start again in January, students will make promises to themselves to go to their classes, do their assignments and participate in the lectures. For the first couple weeks of the semester, Main Campus will be packed with students rushing to class to fulfill their vows. But shortly thereafter, students will lose their steam and attendance will dwindle.

Keep your focus. Go to class.

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