GEORGE Harrison once said the Beatles saved the world from boredom. But the world has moved on and boredom among students is widespread across university campuses and cyberspace alike.
The challenge of apathy is reflected in high attrition rates and low levels of academic engagement.
Modern students with short attention spans are held to blame, and short online courses are seen as the latest way to accommodate their caprices.
Paradoxically, the rise in attention deficits coincides with an unprecedented expansion in postgraduate study and a lengthening of professional degrees.
The rise of student uninterest is matched by a rise of student perseverance. Why do many students lose interest so early, while others now stay in the sector so long?
To understand this dilemma we need to isolate the underlying causes and effects of disengagement.
The first obvious effect of boredom is that it leads to attrition.
In last year's Australasian Survey of the Student Experience, almost one-quarter of domestic students intending to withdraw listed boredom as their primary reason for doing so. More students wanted to leave because of uninterest than because of financial difficulties, health reasons or workload pressures. The last words of these students at university mirror the last words of Winston Churchill: "I'm bored with it all."