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This content was published: February 17, 2016. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

No Show survey results

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In mid-Janury 2016, the Distance Learning Advisory Council (DLAC) sent out a survey to all instructors teaching at least one online class. Members of the DLAC had heard from several sources that there was confusion over the No Show policy. First, we’d like to highlight some of the results of the survey, then propose some statements that might help improve understanding of the No Show policy and how to implement it in your online class.

Survey results

The survey was sent to 406 active online faculty from Winter 2016. We received 186 responses, or a45% response rate. Based on the response rate, this is a topic that people had opinions about.

Question 1

Are you aware of and understand PCC’s No Show policy as defined in the Grading Guidelines?

Are you aware of and understand PCC’s No Show policy as defined in the Grading Guidelines?
Response Percent
Yes 95.7%
No 4.3%
Question 2

Did you know that NS is important to managing Financial Aid and preventing fraud?

No need for any chart or graph here. 98% responded yes.

Question 3

In a typical 10+ week class, do you submit NS marks to remove students from your roster?

pie chart of now show users.

70% of faculty indicated that they always submit No Shows, 25% said they sometimes submit No Shows, and 5% said they never submit No Shows.


The reason for those who selected “Sometimes” include

  • Sometimes all the students show up
  • Sometimes I forget
  • Sometimes I struggle with logging in vs. being active

For those who said they never do them, the indicated reasons included

  • We’re in a closed program
  • The students just re-enroll anyway
Question 4

How do you determine if a student has attended or not attended your online class?

How do you determine if a student has attended or not attended your online class?(choose all that apply)
Response Percent
A discussion post asking the students to introduce themselves 71%
If they have logged in to the class at all 51%
A quiz about the syllabus/calendar or other course materials 32%
An assignment related to the course curriculum 24%
A required email to instructor 17%
Other (please explain) 14%
I don’t (?!?) 1%
Sub-themes/Other responses:
  • I monitor/require activity in a 3rd party tool (e.g. MyLabs, WeBWorK)
  • I have mandatory meetings in online office hours
  • I check the classlist for login activity
  • I employee a mix of all of these
Question 5

How do you communicate with your students about what the participation requirements are related to the No Show process?

How do you communicate with students about participation requirements (choose all that apply)
Response Percent
Syllabus 67%
Email 65%
Course News 65%
Course Info Page (CIP) 34%
Calendar 37%
Other (see below) 18%
Other themes:
  • I don’t do any of these!
  • I call the student if they aren’t responsive
  • I send multiple emails in the PCC email
Question 6:

In a 10+ week class, what deadline do you give students to complete their participation requirement to prove attendance?

What deadline do you give students for participation? Friday

In a 10 week class, 34% of faculty responded that they give Friday as the deadline for participation, with Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday being other popular dates.

For instructors who selected other, several indicated that they were ignorant of any deadlines, and others indicated that they publish one (e.g. Wednesday) but don’t issue a No Show until later.

Question 7

In a 10+ week class, how much do you consider the following issues when submitting No Shows?

In a 10+ week class, how much do you consider the following issues when submitting No Shows?
Response Not at all Somewhat A lot
NS can affect course enrollment and course cancellation 69.5 22.5  8
NS may affect overall course success and completion rates 59.5 24.5 16
The student may not know course expectations by NS deadline 44.7 42.8 12.6
Too much work in the first week might scare off students 77 19.3 3.7
Getting dropped might affect student Financial Aid eligibility 48 32 20
Students can probably be re-enrolled if there is an error 13.6  42.6  43.8
Question 8 and 9

The following questions were about managing No Shows in short-term classes; classes that can last between 1 day and 8 weeks. There were fewer responses to these questions, but some very striking themes.

  • When possible, instructors do No Shows at the end of the first day of class
  • In some cases, issuing a No Show isn’t possible because the deadline is before the first day of class
  • In short-term classes, there isn’t enough time to get a sense if students are participating by the deadline
Question 10

Do you have any ideas about how to make the No Show more effective?

There were several consistent themes in the free responses to this question.

  • Make No Shows automated (if the student hasn’t logged in by the deadline)
  • Extend NS deadline to Monday of week 2
  • Notify students about NS requirement in email from DL dept. (we do)
  • Be more direct/strict with faculty
  • It’s working just fine!

Summary of Results

The results of the survey indicate a variety of practices around attendance policy, the No Show mark, and communication, which mirrors what we hear from instructors and students. Another theme we’ve heard from instructors is a desire to have clearer expectations from the institution on how to manage No Shows. In the What Works document that the DLAC authored last year, there are some tips in Section 5 (Course Monitoring) that may be useful. However, we wanted to expand on these with some proposed language for feedback.

Proposed guidance for instructors

  1. System access is not adequate, student must submit substantial course work during first week
  2. Instructor uses professional judgement to define substantial work. Examples can include a combination of
    1. Introductory post in discussion
    2. Module 1 and syllabus quizzes
    3. Email academic integrity notice
    4. Access to 3rd party tool
  3. Syllabus/Course intro and Course Details Page will clearly state course attendance requirements in order to avoid a NS that includes required activities and timelines
  4. If a student appears inactive, try to contact the student via
    1. PCC email
    2. Documented phone call
  5. If you are suspicious that a student might not be authentically engaged but are hesitant to issue a No Show, contact our Faculty Help Desk
  6. Use the Course News and PCC email if you have an earlier participation deadline (before Wednesday)

If you have any feedback on these items, or questions, please share in the comments.

Items to investigate

Based on the feedback, The Distance Ed. Department will also investigate the following options, which may have system or time-conflicts. Still, we’re going to get an accurate update.

  • Automating a No Show drop
  • Extending the No Show drop deadline to the second week
  • Adding a second/later deadline or if there is a way to administratively drop a non-participant

About Andy Freed

I'm the Director of Learning Technology & Innovation (LTI!), where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services teams. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several positions, from tech... more »

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x (Comment #20460) by Jennifer Ward 6 years ago (Comment #20460)

Thanks for sending out the results! It’s really interesting to see what other other instructors do in their classes. I’m clearly in the minority with a “be here on Monday or get dropped” policy, and that is interesting for me to know.

We should have more polls on other topics. :)

x (Comment #20461) by bryan 6 years ago (Comment #20461)

These results were nice to read. I now know how I stand in relation to other faculty.
Thank you, Andy!

x (Comment #20462) by Cindy Francois 6 years ago (Comment #20462)

Thank you for addressing this issue, as I’m sure many of us have some questions. I often wonder what to do with the students who may check in – or show up – during the first week of the term, but later on stop participating or coming to class. I like the idea of a second NS date at a later time.

x (Comment #20463) by Betty 6 years ago (Comment #20463)

The idea of changing the deadline to the first day of Week 2 would be helpful for online classes since it seems many students use the weekend to do their homework. I’ve had students complete the Academic Integrity requirement and the Introduction discussion, but then disappear. A later deadline to drop non-active students would also be appropriate.

x (Comment #20473) by Walter Carr 6 years ago (Comment #20473)

Thank you for sending the survey results. I would really like to see the NS deadline extended to Monday of Week 2. That would allow me to see if the student has completed their Assignment 1 and Discussion 1 posts.

x (Comment #20476) by Sylvia Gray 6 years ago (Comment #20476)

Excellent work and very interesting!
I actually don’t like to impose a deadline on Friday that first week because many of my students mainly do their coursework on the weekends – I know many of them work during the week. I like to honor that – sometimes that’s why they’re taking online courses.. I’d actually like the no-show deadline to be Sunday night – just a thought.

x (Comment #20477) by Tim Sether 6 years ago (Comment #20477)

I also like the 2nd No Show date, as I have two students this term, who “showed up” during week #1 but have gone dark since, I have sent out two CPN notices but not sure what else I can do — until the end of the term.
I appreciate you bringing this topic to light and sharing the results.
Business Instructor Accounting

x (Comment #20500) by Kristin Benson 6 years ago (Comment #20500)

This is great information! I’m excited to explore the “Items to investigate” with y’all.