On-Line Class and Participation: Expectations
Modules on the Certificate Program include live video classes and other participation-focussed elements, which are a critical resource in bridging the distance of Distance Learning and drawing student cohorts into interaction with each other and their instructors. This document outlines the expectations of student participation in such classes and activities, and the way such materials are assessed and graded.
Important note: This document describes the formal expectations and assessment criteria for on-line classes and participation grades; if you are looking for practical / technical guidance on how to participate in our on-line video classes via Google Hangouts, please see our extensive instructions at this link.
On-line classes draw students into live interaction, not only with their instructors, but with the whole group of fellow students on their cohort, allowing common discussion, group learning, and an extraordinarily classroom-like environment that brings Distance Learning-based study out of the seclusion of older correspondence-based models. For this reason, the Institute lays a significant expectation of participation in these resources upon active students (with the particular weighting of class participation described in each module’s ‘How this module is graded’ document in its VLE Resource Suite).
Formal expectations and assessment criteria:
- Participation in on-line classes is assessed as a single On-Line Class / Participation mark assigned at the end of a module, based on attendance at the prescribed classes as well as the degree of participation in each.
- Students are expected to attend a majority (ideally, all) of the scheduled on-line classes in a given module, as formally announced in the structure of the VLE syllabus and published in the Pacing Guidance for the module (extra or specially-scheduled additional classes will not count as requirements). In particular, the following participation expectations apply:
- In a module where two (2) classes are scheduled, students who attend only one class will receive an overall On-Line Class / Participation mark of no higher than 75%. If zero classes are attended, the mark will be 0%.
- In a module where three (3) classes are scheduled, students who attend only two classes will receive an overall On-Line Class / Participation mark of no higher than 80%; if only one class is attended, the mark will be no higher than 60%; if zero classes are attended, the mark will be 0%.
- In a module where four (4) classes are scheduled, students who attended only three classes will receive an overall On-Line Class / Participation mark of no higher than 85%; if only two classes are attended, the mark will be no higher than 60%; if only one class is attended, the mark will be no higher than 40%; if zero classes are attended, the mark will be 0%.
- In addition to attendance, the factors that determine the grade received for On-Line Class / Participation marks include attentive participation, interaction, preparation, and the effort evidenced in striving to understand and appropriate the Orthodox Christian teachings of the subjects being addressed.
- If other materials (beyond on-line video classes) are to be included in the On-Line Class / Participation grade for a module, these will be described in detail (incluyding weighting) in the ‘How this module is graded’ document within the given VLE Resource Suite.
- In rare cases where extraordinary circumstances (see below) prevent a student from attending a scheduled on-line class, the request may be made to the module instructor for an alternative assignment to be assessed as a replacement grade for the missed class (e.g. an assigned reading with written summary, etc.). In no cases will such an option be offered as a replacement for more than one (1) class in a given module, and it will never be offered as a complete substitute for class participation overall (for example, if a module includes two scheduled classes, it is possible to request a replacement assignment for one missed class so long as the other class is attended). Requesting such a dispensation is not a guarantee that it will be offered; the offering of this option is at the discretion of the module instructor, based on the legitimacy of the reason for the missed class as well as an assessment of the student’s degree of active participation in the module overall, and decisions reached in such cases are final.
- For the purposes of such dispensations, ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that might validly support a request for a replacement assignment include (but are not necessarily limited to): death in the family; hospitalization of the student; family or work emergencies; clerical call-outs (e.g. to a bedside, hospital); and the like. Dispensation will not normally be granted for personal holidays or travels. (We remind our students, also, that our classes can be attended from anywhere, not just home, so long as you have a stable internet connection and a computer with video and audio capabilities.)
- We provide extensive guidance on installing, setting up and using the Google Hangouts software employed for our on-line live classes; however, it is the student’s responsibility to install and learn to operate this software to a degree that enables successful participation in our on-line classes. Failure to attend an on-line class due to technical difficulties will only be considered as a circumstance worthy of a replacement assignment if (a) it is a result of a problem with the Institute’s provision [e.g. we send you a link and it doesn’t work]; or (b) it is the result of an extraordinary failure of service [e.g. a storm cuts your power or internet]; but not simply on grounds of an unfamiliarity with the software, not having the right equipment, etc. If you have any questions about how to use the Google Hangouts interface that are not covered in our guidance document, you are welcomed to contact the Institute to arrange some one-on-one instruction outside the timeof scheduled classes.