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Online Attendance and Participation

Expectations of Students

Students enrolled in distance education courses at Sam Houston State University are expected to maintain ongoing course engagement in order to uphold positive academic standing with the University. In an online environment, "attendance" is more than just logging into a course, or the Learning Management System (LMS). Online attendance is measured by your academic engagement with the course content, course tools, course instructor, and with other students in the course. The following is strongly recommended:

First Week of Class

All SHSU online courses open on the first day of the term. In some instances, certain instructors may open a course earlier. All SHSU online students are expected to login to the LMS (Blackboard) and access online courses during the first week of class.

Throughout the Term

As the term progresses, all SHSU students are expected to maintain an ongoing online presence in their online courses by participating in course related activities. This may include, but is not limited to reading announcements, taking exams online, participating in group work, posting to discussion forums, submitting assignments and carrying out the requirements set forth by the instructor.

It is a good practice to login to online courses several times a week to stay informed of news, announcements, grades, assignments, and other important course information.

Federal Student Aid and Online Attendance

Federal regulations require that online students establish attendance/participation in coursework each term to be eligible for federal financial aid. Sam Houston State University verifies student attendance in accordance with this regulation.

In a distance education context, logging into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate attendance by the student. Students must establish a record of participation in academically related activities in order to comply with this requirement.

Academically related activities include, but are not limited to:

  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-­assisted instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matters or
  • initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

Academically related activities do NOT include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as:

  • living in institutional housing;
  • participating in the school’s meal plan;
  • logging into an online class without active participation or
  • participating in academic counseling or advisement.

Students who have not established attendance/participation in online courses may have their federal financial aid eligibility adjusted.