Student Views of Attendance at Japanese Universities in the Era of COVID-19: A Preliminary Look

Abstract

As with a great many other educational and pedagogical issues, there is little consensus regarding the taking of student attendance at the university level. While many institutions and individual instructors, particularly those in the West, refrain from implementing attendance requirements on various grounds (e.g., attendance is the responsibility of students, tracking student attendance distracts instructors from their lecturing duties), others, such as those in Japan, tend to impose strict attendance policies, many of which get inexorably tied to students’ grades and, ultimately, to their eligibility to receive course credit. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Japanese universities moved their courses online to begin the slightly belated 2020-2021 academic school year. While this move supported social distancing measures, it nevertheless brought new difficulties and concerns (both pedagogical and technological) that consequently caused both instructors and students alike to question the necessity and feasibility of taking attendance remotely. Instructors’ opinions on the matter ran the gamut, with their hastily rewritten syllabi reflecting their chosen approaches to the issue. However, as attendance policies needed to be decided well in advance of student registration and the commencement of classes, students’ views on the matter were never considered. The proposed presentation presents early-stage research results from a study involving students at three Japanese universities. Questionnaires investigating students’ opinions about university attendance both before and during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic were administered in September 2020. Data collection and analyses are currently ongoing, but results are expected to better illuminate attendance-taking considerations and best practices.



Author Information
Brian Rubrecht, Meiji University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: OCE2020
Stream: Teaching Experiences

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