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Documentation of Online Attendance

In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question.FSA Handbook 2013‐2014, Volume 5, 5‐60

In order to comply with this federal requirement, SHSU Online offers the following process for documenting attendance when students are enrolled in distance education courses:

Documenting that a student has logged into an online course is not sufficient to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. Students must have participated in an “academically related” activity, such as participating in an online discussion about academic matters or initiating contact with faculty to ask a question about the academic subject studies in the course by the published drop date.

If such absence is reported by the instructor, the Registrar’s Office will administratively drop or withdraw the student. As a result, a "W" will be recorded on the student’s official transcript and the course(s) will be subject to published refund policies.

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 engages, 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.

Participation in academic counseling and advising are no longer considered to be academic attendance or attendance at an academically related activity.