18 Mandatory Attendance at First Class In Online Courses

As stated in the Mandatory Attendance at First Class policy (#3 in the FAQ), it is not sufficient for the student to have simply logged in to the course website in order to be counted as in attendance for the first class. Rather, they must complete an academic-related activity within the first week in order to be allowed to remain enrolled in the course.

For online courses, acceptable indication of attendance means that the course should require (and, by extension, the student must complete), one or more of the following within the first week of class:

  • Student submission of an academic assignment
  • Student submission of an exam
  • Documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction
  • A posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is assigned by the institution
  • A posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student’s participation in an online discussion about academic matters
  • An email from the student or other documentation showing that the student-initiated  contact with a faculty member to ask a question about an academic subject studied in the course.

If the student does not complete at least one Week-1 activity by midnight on Sunday night following the first week of the course and does not communicate their intent to do so, then the instructor may give that seat to another student.

[This language borrows heavily from The Ohio State University Office of Distance Education and eLearning Resource Center article on attendance in online classes.]

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Guidelines for Online Teaching and Design by TeachingSupport@UMN.edu and Faculty Development for Online Teaching task group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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