What is GCC's Distance Education Attendance & Participation Policy?

GCC Attendance and Drop Policy

What is GCCs DE Attendance & Participation Policy?

All distance education courses currently follow the GCC Attendance and Drop Policy

GCCs Policy Guidelines

  • Students are expected to attend all class meetings. There are no authorized absences from class and irregular attendance may result in exclusion from classes.
  •  It is the students responsibility to register properly for classes. A student who fails to enroll officially in a class will not be given credit for that class.
  • Students also  have  the  responsibility of officially withdrawing from college or dropping from class when they stop attending, and of observing established deadlines. Otherwise, F’’ grades may be assigned.
  •  It is the responsibility of each student to know the attendance and absence policy of each class in which he or she is enrolled. It is the responsibility of each instructor to inform his or her class of the attendance and absence policies at the beginning of each semester.
  •  Students shall be dropped from class for failure to attend the first class meeting during the first week of instruction if they have not made prior arrangements with the instructor.
  • Students also may be dropped for continuous or cumulative absences for the number of hours a sixteen-week class is scheduled to meet in a two-week period.


What this means for distance education


Students in distance education courses are required to attend class and participate just as if they were in a face-to-face course. This means that instructors set up guidelines for how much each lecture, reading assignment, discussion or project qualifies as a meeting during the course of a week/learning unit/course module.



Students who do not participate in class, that is, who consistently do not complete assignments, quizzes, respond to forums or turn in other work, should be notified that they may be dropped from the class for non-participation.



It is important that online and hybrid instructors should be very clear in their syllabus about what constitutes participation and late work.


What is GCCs DE Drop Policy?

Federal Policy Guidelines

The Federal government has not issued formal guidelines regarding what constitutes the Last Day of Attendance in the online classroom. However, because of the potential for financial aid fraud in online programs, the US Department of Education has recently determined that there should be regular and substantive interaction between students and faculty in online courses (Salomon and Murray).



What this means for distance education

It is not enough to evaluate a students attendance based solely on the number and frequency of logins or through course statistics on the LMS. Instructors may drop students based on their lack of participation in class. Attendance (through logins) is not the same as participation. Participation means actively completing course activities in the LMS such as assignments, assessments, posting on discussion forums, etc.  Participation policies must be clarified in the online syllabus.

GCCs Drop Policy


Policy Guidelines


Once enrolled in courses, students are not considered dropped or withdrawn unless:

  • They have dropped the course Online via MyGCC or
  • They have dropped the course with an Add/Drop form in person at the Admissions & Records office.


A grade of W will not be made on the permanent academic record of a student who drops or is dropped from the course or from college:

During the first two weeks of a semester-length course;

During the first week of a course which is at least five weeks in length and less than a semester in length; or

During the first 20% of a course which is less than five weeks in length



What this means for distance education

The face-to-face policy of attending the first class, particularly for students who are new to distance education may present a problem. There are often students who, either because they are unaware of the policies or overwhelmed by the technology, may login to the course but might not complete any of the assignments by the orientation meeting + 2 days.



It is therefore important for online and hybrid instructors to provide a coherent and well-defined course drop policy and to articulate this in the initial email and Welcome Letter  (see above) sent to the students 2 working days prior to the course orientation date as well as in the online course syllabus.