How to handle no-shows in online classes

The SRJC Policy Manual mandates specific attendance requirements for students.

As of February, 2014, Section 8.1.5P includes the following policies:

A.  Attendance

  1. Students are expected to attend, and in the case of online classes, participate in, all sessions of the course in which they are enrolled.
  2. A student may be dropped from any class when that student's absences exceed ten percent (10%) of the total hours of class time.
  3. With advance notice and appropriate documentation, members of the U.S. Military Armed Services and Reservists shall have their absences accommodated due to service obligations provided that satisfactory academic progress is being made prior to suspending their studies. For the purpose of this policy, a student is making satisfactory academic progress so long as, at the start of the absence, the student has the potential to pass the class after completing the remaining assignments.
  4. Specific courses may have stricter requirements based on professional certification mandates or curricular situations in which absences will severely compromise the learning for other students (such as team or performance ensemble courses). These stricter requirements shall be stated in the course syllabus.

B.  Non-attendance

  1. Students who fail to attend the first class meeting may be dropped by the instructor. For classes that meet online, students who fail to log on and initiate participation by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time of the first day of the class may be dropped by the instructor. The start date for full semester online classes is the official first day of the semester; for short-term classes, the first day will be specified in the schedule of classes.
  2. Instructors are required to drop all No-Show students immediately following the second class meeting. A No-Show is an enrolled student who has not attended any class meeting of the course. For classes that meet online, a No-Show is an enrolled student who has not logged on and initiated active participation by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time of the second day of the class.

C. Excessive absence defined

  1. Instructors shall state in each course syllabus what constitutes excessive absence for that course.
  2. Any student with excessive absences may be dropped from the class.

Further clarification

The phrase "log on and initiate active participation" has been clarified as follows:

  • In an online class, students must log into the course management system (Canvas) and complete at least one online activity.
  • For a student who adds the class on the first day of classes:
    • Item B.1. (optional drop of No Show at the end of first day) still applies.
    • Item B.2. (mandatory drop of No Show at end of second day) still applies. "The instructor is required to drop the student; however, if the instructor knows that the student is having difficulty, the instructor can accommodate the student by not dropping until the first census."
  • For a student who adds the class on the second day of classes:
    • Item B.1. (optional drop of No Show at the end of first day) no longer applies.
    • Item B.2. (mandatory drop of No Show at end of second day) still applies. "The instructor is required to drop the student; however, if the instructor knows that the student is having difficulty, the instructor can accommodate the student by not dropping until the first census."
  • For a student who adds the class after the second day of classes:
    • Item B.1. (optional drop of No Show at the end of first day) and item B.2. (mandatory drop of No Show at end of second day) no longer apply. "But if the student is still a No-Show by the first census, then the instructor must drop that student."
  • Instructors are required to report their No-Shows to A&R via the Faculty Portal immediately following the second class meeting or by First Census at the very latest.

These SRJC policies mean instructors and students are under some time pressure.

  • Instructors must ensure their online classes are ready on time, correctly configured, and opened for student access as soon as the semester begins. Students must take steps to begin active participation without delay in order to avoid being dropped from the class as a No-Show.
  • However, students who add the class after the second day of classes are exempt from these policies.
  • All students (no matter when they added the class) who remain No-Shows on the first census date (and have not already been dropped) must be reported to A&R via the Faculty Portal on that date.
  • Instructions are strongly encouraged NOT to delete dropped students from their rosters, because doing so can permanently destroy all records of student participation in the class (or lack thereof), which might be needed in case of questions/challenges at a later date.