Federal guidelines for online or hybrid forms of education require schools to demonstrate academic attendance by the student (see Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 5). In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online course is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance.
1. Evidence of Academic Attendance. Academic attendance is documented when a student participates in class or is otherwise engaged in an academically related activity. Examples of acceptable evidence of academic attendance in a distance education program include:
- Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question;
- Viewing and/or completing a tutorial;
- Contributing to an online discussion or text chat session;
- Working through exercises;
- Submitting an assignment or working draft; and
- Taking a quiz or exam.
2. Tardiness. Effective class discussion during the online portion of a course depends on timely submission of assignments. Failure to post weekly assignments by the deadline specified by the instructor is regarded as tardiness, as long as the assignment is posted within 24 hours of the deadline. In the case of unexcused tardiness, assignments submitted after the due date will be penalized by a mandatory grade reduction. Note: Students are not penalized for delays in contributing to peer-review discussions due to another student's late posting of the primary assignment.
3. Absence. Failure to post a weekly assignment within the 24-hour window established by the instructor or failure to post the assignment at all is regarded as absence. Missing more than 25% of online class sessions, i.e., two sessions, normally requires mandatory withdrawal from the course. Course instructors decide how students are to make up any work missed because of absence.
Onsite Intensive Sessions
1. Requirement to Attend All Onsite Intensive Sessions. All seminary degree programs are accredited as residential programs. Therefore, the majority of contact hours for each hybrid course—at least 51%—must be completed onsite in a face-to-face context. Students may not petition to miss onsite intensives, or portions thereof.
2. Absence. Failure to attend all sessions of the onsite intensive for any reason may result in mandatory withdrawal from the course.