Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ah, one of my pet hates to beat on!

Pet hate number 127: taking attendance at university.  Are you fraking kidding me.

Would students benefit from a bit more encouragement to get up in the morning for lectures? Academics in the US are debating a decision by Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to introduce a monitoring system to check when students attend, or miss, class. Sensors will detect students' identification cards when they enter the lecture theatres. If they don't turn up often enough, they could find it reflected in their grades.

"People are saying we are using surveillance or Orwellian [tactics] and, boy, I'm like 'wow', I didn't know taking attendance qualified as surveillance," NAU's spokesman, Tom Bauer, told the Badger Herald website.

This is where you really get to see the deep down belief structure of the modern day American Ivory Tower in action.  MAKE the students do whatever you think they are supposed to do, and bring any force to bear on them that you have available.  Marks, money, shame, physical force, its all fair game in the American academic mind.  Reward they aren't into so much, I notice.

What's the basis of the Phantom's hate?  Lemme lay it on ya.

In a grade school or high school, the school is legally and morally responsible for the student's physical safety AND their behavior during school hours.  Therefore taking attendance is the proper thing to do.
In university, the students are legally adults.  They are responsible for themselves.    Furthermore, students are paying customers, not the subjects of some government mandated regulation.

Therefore taking attendance is a form of control, which is an imposition on a supposedly sovereign individual able to make their own decisions in life.  Such things are an affront to free men and should be resisted vigorously.

Personally, whenever a sign-in sheet came around during my professional education I signed as Adolph Hitler.  Or sometimes Joseph Stalin, just to slip the knife in a little deeper.  When called up on the carpet, I was told that attendance was mandatory for PT students because of government regulations.  I repeated my paying customer argument above, pointed out my grades were among the best in the class, and told them they could pretty much shove their attendance requirement where the sun never shines.

I got my degree.  And my license.

Fight the power.

The Phantom,

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