What does attendance look like in an online course?

May 13, 2021

Online learning has multiple advantages: flexibility, convenience, and the ability to study and work from almost any location. However, it is important to remember that regularly “attending” your online course is just as important as attending face-to-face or remote courses.

Online courses do not utilize standard attendance tools—such as roll call or sign-in sheets—so you might be wondering what good attendance looks like in the online classroom. In this case, attendance often equals participation. Your success as a student depends on your level of engagement and your ability to show up in ways defined by your instructor. What are specific ways you can practice quality attendance in your online course?

Three ways to get started

Log in to your course often.

You should log in to your course about 4–5 times per week. Many courses are designed to pace students through the course meaning you should expect weekly assignments and due dates in a well-designed online course. Even if there are no assignments or exams due that day, you should regularly check to stay informed about announcements and course changes. You should also take this opportunity to monitor your grades and ensure that you haven’t missed messages from your instructor that require a speedy reply.

Be strategic with your discussion board posts.

Quality attendance in an online course can also translate to the length and number of posts you make on a discussion board. In addition to creating your posts, you can participate as an active responder by exceeding the number of required replies. For example, if you are required to comment on three of your classmate’s posts, try offering a quality comment on five posts instead. By making an effort to engage multiple classmates, you are in essence attending your online course in a way that enhances the interaction between you and your peers.

Submit all assignments and quizzes on time.

It is vital to meet your assignment, quiz, and assessment due dates like a face-to-face course. When you fail to submit an assignment or quiz on time, you not only negatively impact your grade, but you demonstrate your inability to keep pace with the course. Late submissions can also reflect negatively on your motivation and organizational skills.

Remember that logging in to your online course just for the sake of logging in is not enough to count as actual attendance. Instead, you need to log in consistently, use discussion board posts wisely, respond to messages promptly, and submit your assignments on or before the due dates.

For more information

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