Students do study harder if professors hold them accountable. That's one reason why MOOCs have such low completion rates, and why non-credit classes that are not pre-requisites to for-credit classes have high drop out rates. But the accountability tool can range from constant hand-holding and feedback loops all the way out to one final exam after a semester of 80-minute lectures with assigned readings and a long term paper. The trick is to match the most efficient delivery of instruction with the motivation level of the students. IMO, college students who need a lot of scaffolding and being put on the spot have some maturing to do.
The academic content and delivery methods that are understood and appreciated by cognitively able, well-prepared and motivated students (at any educational level) are likely to be very different from those which are understood and appreciated by students cognitively incapable, poorly-prepared and/or unmotivated. Colleges have far too many of the latter and are constantly seeking ways to "engage" them and create the fiction that they are doing college-level work. The reality is that they are taking on huge debt while doing little to nothing to enable them to repay. The "college premium" doesn't apply to "college-grad" baristas, retail clerks and bartenders.
The k-12 system does this also, under the pretense that all kids are capable of, and interested in, learning the same things, in the same classroom, in the same amount of time. In HS, most kids are now pushed into a (pretend) "college prep" program, under the delusion that college is the only viable path to personal worth and financial success.