Student Participation Policy for Online Courses

Statement of Policy

Participation in course activities is essential to student success at Excelsior College. Excelsior College is not required to take attendance as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. However, a student is expected to be in contact with the instructor at the beginning of the course and to remain an active participant in the course until its completion. Participation in courses will be monitored on a weekly basis.

The minimum expectation of a student is to demonstrate some academic related activity in his or her course at least once a week. Academic related activity is defined as posting on a discussion board (this includes replying on a discussion board, creating a journal entry, and generating a blog post), taking an assessment, and/or submission of an assignment. This requirement is shared with faculty and students and is included in both the Faculty Handbook and Student Policy Handbook. Additional course requirements (often more stringent) are outlined in course syllabi, and students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these requirements.

A student who fails to participate in a course for three consecutive weeks at any point in a term will be administratively withdrawn. The earliest a student can be administratively withdrawn is the twentieth calendar day of the term. Students will not be administratively withdrawn after week six of an 8-week course or after week thirteen of a 15-week course. The student will be assigned the grade they have earned.

The student will not be eligible for a refund of the course tuition and will owe any balance due for the course. The student will be assigned a grade of AW (administratively withdrawn). A grade of AW does not calculate into the Excelsior College or Overall GPA, however, it will be factored into credits attempted/credits earned ratio for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and the Academic Probation policies. See the policies Satisfactory Academic Progress and Academic Probation for Undergraduate Students and Certificates.

A student who cannot participate in a course for a week or longer must contact the instructor to be excused. This request must be made in advance on a week-by-week basis and is at the discretion of the instructor.

A student receiving financial aid is subject to Return to Title IV regulations. Note: if a student receives AWs in all the Excelsior College courses he/she is taking during the period of enrollment, the return to Title IV calculations will be completed on that student. In addition, if a student is registered for INL 102 and receives AWs in all the other Excelsior College courses he/she is taking during the period of enrollment, the return to Title IV calculations will be completed on that student regardless if they complete INL 102 or not. A student's last date of non-participation will be the same as the course administrative withdrawal date.

Procedure

The College will take the following steps to monitor course participation and to retain students enrolled in its courses:

The student and instructor will have access to the participation record within the course. The student will be marked by the learning management system (LMS) as participating, not participating or exception each week. Instructors will have the ability to override the minimum participation requirement by entering an exception in the course LMS when the student has contacted the instructor and the instructor has excused them. These arrangements will be made and noted on a week-by-week basis in the LMS.

Any student not actively participating for one week will be sent an email/message to the student's SIS email address and message center in MyExcelsior notifying the student of his or her nonparticipation and encouraging the student to contact the instructor and/or begin participating in the course immediately. The instructor, faculty program director, and other designated staff will be sent a report via email notifying them of the student's nonparticipation. The student's record will be documented in the SIS.

Any student not actively participating for two consecutive weeks of the term will be sent an email/message to the student's SIS email address and message center in MyExcelsior notifying them a second time. The student will again be encouraged to contact their instructor and/ or begin participating. The student will be warned that he or she will be administratively withdrawn after three consecutive weeks of nonparticipation. The earliest a student can be administratively withdrawn is the twentieth calendar day of the term if his or her lack of participation continues. Students will not be administratively withdrawn after week six of an eight week course or after week thirteen of a fifteen week course. If the student does not complete the course he/she will be assigned the earned grade.

Any student not participating by the end of the third consecutive week will be assigned an AW grade for the course on Monday after 12:01 am ET by the Office of Registration and Records and the student's access to the course will be terminated. Instructors, faculty program directors and other designated staff are sent a report listing students who have been awarded AW grades. When the AW grade is assigned, the Office of Registration and Records will send an email/message to the student's SIS email address and message center in MyExcelsior. The grade is posted to SIS and students can see their grade by logging into MyExcelsior.

When a student is administratively withdrawn, the student will not be eligible for refund of course tuition. (See Withdrawal from a Course policy.)

The Return to Title IV Funds policy will only apply if the student receives an AW on all the Excelsior College courses he/she is taking during that period of enrollment. The only exception to this policy will be if a student's only remaining course is the one-credit Information Literacy (INL 102) course. If a student is registered for INL 102 and has AW's in all other Excelsior College courses in a period of enrollment, the return to Title IV calculation will be completed on that student regardless if the student completes INL 102 or not. If a student is not administratively withdrawn two weeks prior to the course end date and does not complete the course, she or he will be assigned the earned grade.

AW Appeal Process

If the student wants to appeal the AW grade he/she has until Tuesday at 11:59 pm ET. The appeal should be sent to AWappeal@excelsior.edu in the Office of Registration and Records. The appeals are forwarded to the appropriate School from which the student is taking the course. The School will investigate, make a decision and send the decision to AWappeal@excelsior.edu no later than noon the following Friday.

  • If the decision is in the student's favor, the Office of Registration and Records will notify the student and will remove the AW grade. The student's access to the course will be restored and the instructor will be notified by the school. 
  • In the event that the student's appeal is denied, the school will notify the student of this decision.