UCBerkeleyNews reports that sociology teacher Kristin Luker saw her class attendance drop so low that more than half of the 250 students enrolled were consistently absent. This sobering news prompted her to seek a reality check, and she found one on Technet, an online forum where Berkeley faculty can discuss issues surrounding teaching and learning. Her post sparked a wide-spread discussion among faculty, who shared their experiences with class attendance, but despite the postings, no one teacher could pinpoint a specific explanation for an increase in student absentee rates. The phenomenon and attendant discussion of chronic absenteeism is not limited to Berkeley. In July, the New York Times published an article that spotlighted a trend where some institutions have given professors the power to fail chronically absent students. In addition, the Office of Educational Development, which supports the teaching efforts of Berkeley faculty, sponsored a forum to examine the topic. One professor, Americ Azevedo, told the forum that he embraced technological innovation and posted lecture notes, weblogs, podcasts and other supplemental materials online, only to see his class attendance drop significantly. Another forum participant, Ani Adhikari, noted that if students can access the same materials online that they can in a lecture, students have no incentive to attend class…