For most English literature academics, delivering lectures to a less-than-full auditorium may well be considered an occupational hazard. The Telegraph reports.
But for one Russell Group lecturer, having no students whatsoever turn up for her address was a step too far. The Birmingham University academic took a photograph of the empty lecture theatre and emailed it to all English undergraduate students along with a furious message the following day.
“I was frankly shocked at this total lack of interest, from roughly 400 students in second year, in a lecture explaining marking criteria and our marking processes. I can only assume that these are not areas of concern after all”.
The lecture on “Demystifying Marking Criteria and Assessment” had been scheduled to take place during reading week, when many students choose to go home.
Following the incident, the English department will now be “using registers in all classes” and two or more absences will lead to a meeting with the welfare team.
Speaking to The Birmingham Tab, one English student said they “genuinely had no clue” about Tuesday’s lecture, and “neither did anyone else”.
Another said: “I think it’s unrealistic to expect students to show up to a lecture in reading week when many students go home and it means coming back for one lecture.”
Researchers have previously called for 9am lectures to be scrapped, following research that suggests early mornings interfere with young adults’ body clocks.
A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham said: “This session was in addition to the standard timetable and was an optional session held during reading week, therefore students were not obligated to attend.”
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