Class is not simply a matter of turning up and everyone reading the relevant chapter in the textbook. Each lecture offers various ways for people to learn, whatever your learning style.
Your professor may use any one, or all, of the following:
- Multimedia class presentations (Powerpoint)
- Class discussions
- Graphs, charts or pictures
- Updated statistics or articles
- Short videos
- Question-and-answer sessions
- Essay guidelines
- Test preparation
Each of these will help you to learn in a different way.
For example, class discussion will help enhance your thinking and debate skills, while clarifying any points that may have been confusing to others. Your input could help another student understand a difficult section, or maybe another student will ask something which also helps you.
Graphs and charts will teach you how to analyze data and pictures, and create a more correct interpretation.
Question-and-answer sessions mean you can immediately ask about something which you don't understand.
Your notes will help you remember what was discussed, points that were made, any criticisms or proponents of each argument, and make sure you fully understand the topic.
Remember that *anything* covered in class might be on the final exam, and being physically present will let you pick up on the cues (e.g. pointing, writing something on the board, or verbally emphasizing a point) which tell you something is important. Be sure to highlight these in your notes.
I'll just download the notes/lecture from WebCT
It's not the same as attending. Even if you combined a recording of the lecture with a good set of notes from someone else, you will have to work twice as hard to understand the material because it's not being explained to you.
If you have ever had a professor who puts up notes before a class, you will realize that the apparently incidental explanations as you go through the notes are the very things which solidify random facts into a comprehensive explanation.
Even if all the notes are available in Powerpoint form, they will not include diagrams drawn on the board, questions from the class, or spontaneous explanations.