Degrees of Indifference
Students in the business faculty of one Australian university appear to be disengaging with their tertiary education. This disengagement presents in irregular or non- attendance at lectures and tutorials, disinterest in subject matter, failure to undertake any required reading to enable participation in class discussions, increasing demands for very specific instructions on when, what, where, why and how they are to do assignments and how marks will be allocated, increased demands for lecture material to be available through on-line teaching websites, and any contact with academic staff being at distance (email and telephone). This behaviour results in students becoming both more demanding and more dependent on academic staff. A number of factors appear to be contributing to this disengagement: credentialism in the labour market; fees for education; student employment; and changes in technology. All seem to intersect to create a situation where a degree becomes a means to an end rather than something valuable in and of itself.
Keywords: Disengagement, Credentialism, Technology
Dr Glenda Maconachie
Queensland University of Technology