Return to: Student Guidelines for the Classroom
Walden University recognizes that many students elect to pursue a distance learning degree for its temporal and geographic flexibility. Walden further recognizes that students are adult learners with varied personal and professional responsibilities, in addition to their obligations as students. Walden also holds that learning is a combination of individual study and engagement with other learners in a structured learning environment. Therefore, Walden expects that students meet their academic obligations with a high level of responsibility and timeliness.
Class Participation Requirement
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education guidance regarding class participation, Walden University requires that all students submit their required Week 1 assignments within each course(s) during the first 7 calendar days of the class. The first calendar day of class is the official start date of the course as posted on the myWalden academic page. If students are granted an assignment extension during Week 1 of the course, they need to log in and participate, by posting to the discussion board forums or submitting work (even partial) to an assignment submission link, in the classroom within the first 7 days. Please note that posting to the Class Café, Contact the Instructor, or Class Introduction is not considered participation in the course. If students do not demonstrate participation in the classroom by Day 7, they risk being withdrawn from the course/university.
Assignments submitted prior to the official start date will not count toward participation.
Financial Aid cannot be released without class participation as defined above.
Students who have already taken, and successfully completed, at least one or more class(es) with Walden will be dropped ONLY from any class(es) in which they are not participating if they do not complete their assignments by the end of the 7th day.
Students who are taking their first class with Walden, and do not complete their assignments by the end of the 7th day, will be administratively withdrawn from the university.
Note: Once students begin participating in class, they are considered active and are responsible for adhering to all university policies and for paying all applicable tuition and fees.
If students have any questions about their assignments, or they are unable to complete their assignments, they should contact their faculty member.
Ongoing Attendance and Engagement
Walden courses are not independent study courses. They involve a mixture of independent work outside the online course room and presence within the course room, with all work completed within schedules published in the course. Students are expected to engage in courses in an active and timely fashion. Logging into the online course does not alone demonstrate adequate engagement. Student engagement includes activities such as doing assigned readings, preparing and presenting quality assignments (which may include tests, quizzes, papers, and other assessments) and participating substantively in discussion. Time spent in reading, studying, and preparing written assignments is as important to learning as is participation in the discussion areas and submission of written assignments. However, student attendance can be documented only with presence in the online course.
Each student is expected to take full responsibility for his or her academic engagement and progress. A student who fails to demonstrate an adequate level of participation in his or her course(es) may receive lower grades, including an “Incomplete” or failing grade. Students who do not demonstrate an adequate level of participation in their courses as indicated by course requirements, fail to notify Walden that they are no longer attending, and/or fail to pass at least one course in a term may be administratively withdrawn from Walden. Further, lack of adequate participation and/or administrative withdrawal can lead to the requirement for the return of federal financial aid previously awarded to the student. If Walden is required to return federal student aid funds, the student will be required to pay for any outstanding balance created by the return of funds.
Student Engagement via Participation in Online Discussion
Walden courses are not independent study courses. Substantive student dialogue is an essential part of the learning process. Therefore, Walden courses require consistent, substantive, and timely participation in and contributions to online discussion as described and required in each course syllabus. Students are expected to post online as described in syllabi and discussion prompts. Although the pedagogy may vary from week to week within a course, depending upon the instructional objectives, and from course to course depending upon the educational outcomes to be achieved, the university in general suggests that students’ discussion is enhanced and learning strengthened when postings and discussion are substantive and distributed throughout the week, with 2–4 days of participation per week as a minimum.
Failure to post with the expected timeliness, quantity, quality, and frequency of postings as stated in the syllabus, discussion descriptions, and other course materials may result in grade reduction for the discussion. Students should read each syllabus and discussion prompt carefully, as posting requirements may vary across and within courses to meet learning goals.
Student Attendance for Undergraduate Programs
While students are expected to schedule their personal and/or professional obligations and their course registrations so as to maintain continuous, regular attendance and any absence from class will impede learning, Walden recognizes that circumstances may arise that cause students to be absent from active course participation.
An “absence” is defined as students not meeting their academic obligations. This includes not submitting assignments, on time, according to schedules published in the classroom (e.g., syllabi, schedule of assignments).
Students faced with life situations that impede regular course participation should contact their undergraduate academic advisor and instructor immediately so the student can be advised on how to proceed. Should a student’s life situation require repeated absences from the classroom or result in multiple missed or late assignments, a withdrawal from the course prior to the withdrawal deadline or leave of absence may be warranted. To learn more about requesting a leave of absence or withdrawal and its impact on academic progress and financial aid, please refer to the “Academic Progress” section within the Walden Student Handbook.
Emergency situations should be understood in the broadest sense and include not only natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes), but also any instance that causes a real and literal disruption in a student’s capacity to complete school work, including house fires, burglaries, domestic violence, medical emergencies, accidents, and any other occurrence that affects the student’s consistent and ongoing access to the technology required for course delivery.
A preplanned absence is one that students know about in advance, regardless of the reason. For a preplanned absence, students are to make arrangements with the instructor in advance of the absence and may be advised to work ahead and submit the assignment(s) earlier so as not to fall behind. If the instructor provides an alternative due date, the student is obligated to meet the deadline provided or the late policy will apply.
Student Attendance for Graduate Programs
Students are expected to schedule their personal and/or professional obligations and their course registrations so as to maintain continuous and complete attendance throughout courses. Any absence from class will impede learning. However, circumstances may arise that cause students to be absent from active course participation on either a preplanned or an emergency basis.
Active course participation is defined as fulfilling discussion requirements within the published timeline and submitting assignments within the published timeline. Absence is defined as not fulfilling discussion requirements within the published timeline and/or not submitting assignments within the published timeline.
Walden University is a private educational institution and, therefore, it is not required to adhere to federal holiday observance for either its students or employees. All students have the option of enrolling in programs based on the academic calendar and what suits their individual schedules. Further, students are permitted to request an extension to an assignment due date in their courses in the event of a personal time conflict (e.g., holidays, preplanned vacations, and/or unexpected emergencies).
Both preplanned and emergency absences are to be kept to a minimum and should not exceed, cumulatively, the level stated in the course syllabus.
A preplanned absence is one that students know about in advance, regardless of reason. For a preplanned absence, students are to make arrangements in advance of the absence with the instructor for submission of assignments and discussion participation, in accordance with specifications communicated in course syllabi.
An emergency absence is one that students do not know about in advance and often involves situations such as health issues, weather events, or technological difficulties. For emergency absences, students are to notify the instructor as soon as possible and make arrangements for submission of assignments and discussion participation in accordance with specifications communicated in course syllabi.
In the event that a student must submit documentation to support the reason for an absence, students should contact their academic advisors for instructions on where and how to submit documentation. Students should not submit medical documentation directly to the instructor.
Due to the nature of some discussions/assignments, instructors may or may not allow students to post and/or submit prior to or after the due date because of any absences.
Students should also refer to the section on Walden’s Grading Policy .