Instructors will be required to record attendance and submit reports for the entire length of the term beginning in the upcoming summer session, according to an administrative regulation by the Los Angeles Community College District.
The policy was proposed in March and has its roots in financial aid fraud, wherein students could enroll in classes and be present until the census date, as that is when the majority of instructors stop taking attendance. Once the federally-loaned funds are received, the student can stop attending class, leaving the college liable for reimbursement.
“We have a serious problem with having to return federal loans…the college was socked with over $100,000 because students reneged on their loans and because of this, the college is responsible for returning the money,” said Lyn Clark, vice president of the Academic Senate.
The regulation was enacted to protect the college from any liability. However, this will affect instructors, as they will have to monitor the hours students attend class and submit those numbers at the end of the semester along with final grades.
Having the responsibility of taking roll every class meeting will change the current classroom dynamic, according to psychology and statistics professor Angela Belden.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge that our students are adults, that they have other activities that they’re doing. They have a life outside of school and sometimes that life gets in the way,” Belden said. “Now we’re going to have to take attendance every single day…and it’s a burden on class time. It’s a burden on the students, and it’s really not sharing the load.”
Earlier in the meeting, Pamela Brown, an instructor of political science, announced the Online Education Initiative (OEI) has plans to create a statewide interactive exchange of online courses.
“If a course at Pierce is full, you can go online and take that course at any college in the state. So the good news is they get the classes they need if classes are full,” Brown said.
The OEI course exchange is said to have a relationship with Canvas, a Moodle-like service, according to a handout Brown presented to the Academic Senate.
Additionally, the commencement speaker for the 2015 spring graduation was announced to be Rick Najera, author of the award-winning book “Almost White.” Najera is also an accomplished TV writer and a California native.
The next Academic Senate meeting will take place on June 1 at 2:45 p.m. in the Great Hall.