As the academic year hits week three, people are starting to get a little tired of lecture already. Dr. James Frenton, a cultural anthropologist and professor here at UIUC is no different. One of the courses he is responsible for is ANTH 103: Anthropology in a Changing World. As of this week, Dr. Frenton will no longer be attending lecture.
“I mean, all the resources for the course are online,” explained Frenton. “The lecture notes are available on the website, quizzes are administered once a week from the course page; as long as I’m there for the exams, it should be fine right? These kids don’t need me to talk at them all day.”
ANTH 103 has no attendance policy, according to its syllabus, and a student (or professor) could still technically perform well in the class without attending lecture. However, some are less enthusiastic of this prospect, including LAS junior Thomas Garrety.
“It really is a shame that people think this type of behavior is acceptable,” Thomas told us. “Our parents and the state are paying for our education here! The least everyone can do is show up!”
Despite this, Dr. Frenton has no plans of returning to lecture for the remainder of the semester but explained that his email inbox is “always open to students with questions.”
“It’s not like students are ever coming up to me during or after lecture to ask questions” said Dr. Fenton. “If anything, they’re emailing me, and even then, it’s always some variation of ‘Will this be on the exam?’ or ‘Is there any opportunity for extra credit? I’m pretty much a test-giving machine.’”
How this new teaching style will impact grades has yet to be seen, but, amid the controversy, many students actually enjoy the change and respect their professor for challenging academic norms.
“I wasn’t really planning on going to lecture this semester anyway,” said DGS sophomore Kailee Miller. “So it’s cool to find a professor that feels the same way.”
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