Richard Morris, of the school of accounting at the University of NSW, which requires an entrance score in the top 5 per cent of students, says attendance has been a problem since the late 1990s.
“Sometimes in the lectures we’ve only got about one third of students enrolled attending,” he said. “It definitely is a problem. If you don’t turn up to class you’re missing out on the whole richness of the experience: you don’t think a whole lot, you don’t engage in debates with other students – or with your teachers.”
It is not all gloom , said Professor John Dearn, a Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Canberra, who said the internet was transforming the way students access and use information. “It is strange that despite all the evidence as to their ineffectiveness, traditional lectures seem to persist in our universities.”