To Skip or Not to Skip (a College Class)?

Skipping college classes is par for the course when it comes to higher learning, especially if you think of the experience as a four-year continuum. Who among us has not decided -- for better or for worse -- to forgo a lecture for an afternoon of productive studying, unavoidable appointments, or even just simple decompressing.

Skip Class Calculator, launched in February, helps students decide by calculating the algorithm of responses to 10 questions.

To weigh the risks and benefits, students are asked questions, such as:

- What is the date of your next major quiz or exam?

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- Does this class have some sort of attendance policy?

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- How much of the exam material do you feel comes from lectures only?

I took a sample test and was given the following advice:

"Hmmm... looks like it's OK to skip - but I wouldn't say you are Ferris Bueller safe. If today was the day where your prof answers all of life's most important questions, would you be upset? By the way, you have already skipped 2% of this semester's classes. Your next test or quiz is 10 days away."
According to an article by eCampus News, the site has drawn a lot of attention from academic circles. Surprisingly, some teachers favor the site and even include it on their course home page.
“If a class is moderately difficult, it could make [a student] think long and hard about making it to class and paying more attention,” said [Michael Anderson, a lecturer in statistics courses at the University of Texas San Antonio,] one of many educators and students to post reviews on the Skip Class Facebook page. “It’s another way for them to go out and get independent advice. … We can tell them all day long to come to class, but students tend to trust that kind of objective source much more.”
As you might expect, other professors beg to differ.
"… Anybody earnestly using [the calculator] should not only skip, but should drop out of school altogether,” said [William] Briggs, an adjunct professor of statistical science at Cornell University.]
As more schools offer online classes -- as well as lecture material, resources, and exams for traditional classes -- even this site may soon be unnecessary.
Read more from the perspective of Jim Filbert, who launched the site.

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