Is this going towards a future where students do not need to be physical present on the campus?
Actually, the TEAL approach that replaced the large freshman physics lectures at MIT places a heavier emphasis on attendance. In a traditional lecture the professor doesn't know most of the students, and doesn't really care if 50% of them stop showing up after the first week. With TEAL there are interactive portions of the class (such as answering multiple choice questions with a personal remote) which are tracked and factored into the student's grade. In other words, if you don't show up, you can't get an A (no matter how well you have mastered the material).
Personally I don't think this is the best approach, but it certainly isn't forgiving of a student's absence from class.
As a side note, when I was a freshman, many of my classmates did not find the TEAL lectures to be terribly effective in teaching the material. Frequently they would go back into the video archive after class and watch recordings of the "traditional" lectures from years past to actually learn what was being taught. They just went to the TEAL lectures because they didn't want to loose their participation credit.
All great ideas are controversial, or have been at one time.