The lecture theater is full. It always is. I make my rare apparition once more. I don’t really understand why. When I tell my classmates I almost never go to lectures they are shocked.
But why are they? At least in the domain I study, lectures are for all accounts useless. (just to be clear: i have two types of classes, lectures and seminars. At lectures everyone on that course comes and we are given a lecture. Seminars are in smaller groups and more discourse oriented)
Bare with me before you disagree: look around the room. People are either sleeping (yes, sleeping) or chatting to others. Some are on facebook, other trolling the internet. Certainly, there are the few that take notes. But to what end?
Because I study quite a theoretical subject (law), lectures are there to tell us what the law is. So what lectures do at best is that they give you the same information as books. Yet they are too short time-wise to actually give us a full account of the law. You have to read the books anyway. If you really want good grades, you will have to read the full cases as well. If you just want decent grades, getting those little booklets is a more efficient way.
So if grades are your endgame, how much will a course that takes place at earliest 3 month before your exam actually augment your knowledge? I remember my courses in High School as well, such as biology or history. There is no actual need to stay in class for them. You can learn everything from the book.
Some people say “well in lectures they sometimes give you info that isn’t in the book”. Two points here; first, it’s law. If it’s important, it will be in the book. Or it will be in articles or such. Second, many people such as myself do not take notes (granted, that might be our fault). Some of the lectures are in fact so boring I can barely end up not falling asleep and as such I generally take my laptop with me and end up working on something rather than paying attention.
As I have also studied other subjects such as Mathematics and Physics, I can tell the major difference in the two (maths v what I call more theoretical studies). Having Math classes makes the teacher much more important as you must solve problems. Yet even there if you are way above the class level, classes tend to rather get in your way than help.
So that is the problem: theoretical classes are useless for the ones that actually do study. Maybe in other subject you would need to be told what certain things you don’t understand are. And lectures are not there to explain things a certain individual doesn’t know.