Sunday, July 30, 2023

Study Says Optional Class Attendance is the New Normal

Matthew Cooper
Cooper, and Cardenas-Vasquez (2023) suggest COVID-129 has accelerated optional classroom attendance to be the "new normal" for university students. This was a small study of capstone students from one US university, but useful for the clarity of the way the researchers explained their conclusions, and jot just because they cited a paper I help write (Cochrane, et al. 2020). ;-)

"This study has shown that students have become comfortable engaging with these online materials, and that access to these materials has impacted their decisions to attend class due to tangible benefits such as time savings and convenience. It would appear that these expectations and factors are unlikely to change – indeed, this is likely the new normal." (Cooper, & Cardenas-Vasquez, p. 9, 2023)

However, I don't agree with the researcher's suggestion that an attendance policy be used. The problem is that the paper details why students don't attend, but then  frames non-attendance as if it was a problem to be solved, rather than a good thing for students. I suggest online learning as the new normal, except where there is a need to attend in person to meet learning objectives. Most studnts will be graduating into a blended workplace, so it makes sense to teach them in one. Failing students who can't attend class must only be done where there is a very good reason.


Cochrane, T., Birt, J., Cowie, N., Deneen, C., Goldacre, P., Narayan, V., ... & Worthington, T. (2020). A collaborative design model to support hybrid learning environments during COVID-19. ASCILITE Publications, 84-89.

Cooper, M., & Cardenas-Vasquez, E. D. (2023, June). Is Poor Classroom Attendance a Virtual-Learning Hangover or the New Normal? A Qualitative Study. In 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

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