Sunday, September 25, 2016

Resolving an Issue: Absenteeism

What tools and strategies could you include in an online course to prevent absenteeism from happening in the first place? 

1. check to see how often the student is signing into the class

2. build-in fair and flexible due dates

3. monitor his progress by designing major assignments in steps

4. have direct contact with the student at the start of the course

5. send email reminders

Determine how you would address the problem, should the situation arise in your class.

The best way to address the problem would be with direct contact. Try emailing the student first, but if there’s no response within a day or two, call home to try to talk with the student directly. If the student is under 18, talk to his parent(s); sometimes they don’t know that the student is absent, or they might be able to provide a legitimate reason why the student is absent. It’s good to have the parent as an ally too. Early intervention can help in that regard.


  1. These are all definitely important in the professional practice of monitoring student learning.

    More subtly, how are we able to create an online learning environment that helps students WANT to come to class to learn? That can also be part of your strategy to ensure student absenteeism is not a problem in your course.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking openly!

  2. Absolutely. We have to not only engage but empower students to learn. This can only happen if we build our courses to be as MEANINGFUL and INTERESTING to students as possible. The list above avoids course content altogether and assumes there is only one curriculum. Please avoid using canned curriculum and make online courses fascinating and relevant to the learner.