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A face in a sea of faces: exploring university students’ reasons for non-attendance to teaching sessions

Oldfield, J and Rodwell, J and Curry, L and Marks, G (2017) A face in a sea of faces: exploring university students’ reasons for non-attendance to teaching sessions. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43 (4). pp. 443-452. ISSN 0309-877X

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Abstract

In the past twenty years, the landscape of Higher Education in the United Kingdom has changed considerably. With the prospect of tuition fees spiralling above £9,000 per year, per student, it is important to explore the impact this has upon the student experience. In spite of the vast financial investment current students make toward their education, student attendance and engagement remains low. The present study therefore adopted a qualitative approach using focus groups to explore reasons for non-attendance at university teaching sessions. Four key themes emerged; these surrounded issues about a sense of belonging to university, views of the teaching (material taught and the personality and method of the tutor), perceptions of being a consumer; and external pressures. This research suggests that universities should pay particular attention to the reasons why students do not attend and possibly change practice, providing more support where appropriate.

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