Working With Underperforming Students

As online faculty members, you may occasionally encounter a student who truly "hopes" to be successful in an online class but cannot bring the time, effort, and/or skill to bear to translate that hope into acceptable academic performance. If a student fails your class, the student will need to re-enroll in the class at his/her own expense, and may need to take an additional class to insure that they maintain the academic GPA required for graduation. Academic probation may also occur.

As an instructor, you cannot remove a student from a class due to poor academic performance, and you should not ignore ongoing poor performance as this is not in the best interests of either the student or of the University. Here are some practical suggestions for dealing with student performance issues in your online class:

  • Call attention to poor academic performance as soon as you observe it.
  • Counsel the student regarding the impact of poor performance on specific assignments on his/her overall course grade.
  • Identify corrective actions which need to be taken to correct poor performance.
  • Identify any remedial or tutorial interventions that could improve performance if you determine that an academic deficit exists. Make active referrals to the appropriate Lawrence Tech academic services office, and document those referrals in writing.
  • Refer the student to his/her academic advisor for further counsel, and document your concerns in writing to both the student and the academic advisor.

As adult learners, the student may choose not to take advantage of the counsel and resources available, but you should continue to actively counsel the student during the semester to demonstrate your concern for his/her academic progress and to be certain that the consequences of poor academic performance are clearly outlined.