High Absenteeism at LTH Lectures

High Absenteeism at LTH Lectures

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Foto: Claudio Gandra.

High absenteeism seems to be a problem across different parts of LTH. At one course, about 85-90 percent of the students were not attending. The reason for this is however unknown and LTH lack general statistics of the problem.

By Filippa Werner Sellbjer   Translated by Viktor Jönsson

A survey shows that the attendance is in decline at several places at LTH. Digital aids, low grants and below average teachers are given as possible reasons. LTH has however not made a review of the situation as a whole, or the possible reasons for it.

Daniel Rittsten, who is studying Environmental Engineering at LTH, attends some of the seminars. It is mainly the mathematic ones he avoids attending.

“There are substitutes to learn from, like YouTube-lectures and discussion-forums that work just as well”, says Daniel Rittsten.

Anton is on term four at engineering and estimates that he goes to half of the seminars. For his part the deciding factor is the lecture’s method of teaching. He thinks that several students feel that they might as well study at home.

“There are unfortunately not a lot that I feel are worth going to”, says Anton.

A seven percent drop
Even in the students’ own course evaluation at LTH are signs that the attendance has decreased. In the evaluation the students estimate how much they participate in form of percent.

At the mathematic courses the attendance has decreased by seven percent over five years. When it comes to LTH as a whole the number is two percent.

But general statistics over actual attendance at LTH does not exist. At the larger mathematic courses attendance is only taken, for example, when it comes to group exercises.

Attendance dropped by 90 percent
Anders Holst, director of studies at Mathematics at LTH, motivates that it is easy to adjust the number of groups at the exercises based on demand.

The management and the lecturers have according to Holst an informal agreement to rapport if an unexpected number of students are attending.

“In a very late stage last autumn I was notified, via student councils, that attendance on one course had dropped by 10-15 percent. This would definitely have been better if I knew this earlier”, says Anders Holst.

Even at the exercises provided by LTH in other ways there is a decrease in attendance.

“People not going to the exercises is classic”, says Martin Magnusson, Associate Professor at Engineering Physics.

He has however not noticed any changes over the past few years, something he thinks is because they have not looked that the issue systematically.

“Says something about the lecturer”
Michael Grimsberg, programme director at Chemical Engineering, has over the past three years noticed a distinct drop in attending students when it comes to the exercises.

“I would guess that in some cases only a third of the students show up”, says Michael Grimsberg.

He thinks that the groups are too big at the exercises, and that students do not feel that there is enough time to receive help. He points out that the size of the groups depends on the grant given to the undergraduate studies.

“The grants have been cut in half the last ten years. The only way to be more efficient is to make the groups bigger, something that leads to impersonal contact between student and teacher”, says Michael Grimsberg.

Anton on the other hand sees the shifting attendance as signs of the lack of quality in some of the lecturers.

“It says something about the lecturer if maybe he or she doesn’t live up to every student’s expectation. I had reasonably high expectations on the teaching and thought that everybody would keep a high standard. But that is unfortunately not the case”, says Anton.

Anton is called something else.

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