Participation & Substantive Interaction

Grantham University is committed to ensuring students take personal responsibility for achieving the learning objectives outlined within each course. To assist students in meeting that goal, the University requires students to participate by regularly logging into their course(s), substantively interacting with fellow students and instructors through group discussions, and submitting all coursework in a timely fashion.

Late Submissions

The learning management system (LMS) used by Grantham University is based on Central Standard Time (CST). All submitted assignments are time-stamped by the LMS. Assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. CST on the due date. Anything submitted after this is considered “late.” Students should carefully review each course syllabus for the instructor’s late policy.

Establishing First-Week Minimum Participation and Substantive Interaction

During Week 1, students are required to establish participation* by logging into each course within seven days of the term start date and either submitting a Week 1 assignment or posting an initial** post (substantively interacting) in the Week 1 Discussion Forum.

Students who have logged into the course(s) within the first seven days of the term start date but failed to either submit a Week 1 assignment or posting (substantively interacting) within the Week 1 Discussion Forum will be processed as an administrative cancel from the course(s).

Extenuating circumstances that prevent the student from establishing participation and have been communicated to the instructor during Week 1 may be considered by an instructor as reason to retain the student in the course(s), if requested by the student to the instructor during Week 1. However, after Day 7 of Week 1, these student requests will not be considered and the student will be administratively cancelled. Students must provide proof of the extenuating circumstances and an explanation of how the student should be able to overcome the extenuating circumstances in order to participate and substantively interact in the course(s) for the remainder of the term. Examples of extenuating circumstances include catastrophic natural or manmade disasters, death in the immediate family, medical emergencies and military deployment. In the case of administrative drop, tuition will be refunded per the Institutional Refund Policy published in Section 1.11 of the Catalog.

*Minimum requirements to stay enrolled. The Week 1 course requirements may include more assignments than listed here for full award of weekly points. Please see course syllabus for all assignments and due dates.

**The initial post is typically not the only required post of the week for full credit. However, the initial post or submission of a Week 1 assignment will prevent an administrative drop at the conclusion of Week 1. Please see course syllabus for all assignments.

Participation and Substantive Interaction Requirements throughout the Remainder of the Term

Beginning in Week 2 and throughout the remainder of the course, participation and substantive interaction will be tracked using the tools within the learning management system. Throughout the term, students must participate in such a way as to ensure successful completion of the course by the end of the term (i.e., regularly submit assignments and continue to substantively interact with other students and the course instructor).

Bulk assignment submissions after long periods of inactivity are ill-advised, because an administrative withdrawal may be initiated for lack of interaction in the course. Students are expected to abide by the participation and substantive interaction requirements according to the criteria outlined in each course syllabus. If the student does not turn in an assignment and/or substantively interact for a consecutive two-week period of time, the student will be administratively withdrawn for lack of participation/substantive interaction, resulting in a grade of W recorded on the student’s academic transcript.

Extenuating circumstances that prevent the student from establishing participation and have been communicated to the instructor during the inactive weeks may be considered by an instructor as reason to retain the student in the course(s), if requested by the student to the instructor during that time. Examples of extenuating circumstances include catastrophic natural or manmade disasters, death in the immediate family, medical emergencies and military deployment. Tuition will be refunded per the Institutional Refund Policy published in Section 1.11 of the Catalog.

Guidelines for Substantive Interaction

Substantive interaction involves a sustained, interactive communication usually of three or more posts to the course Discussion Forum, consisting of one initial post to a question(s) in the course content and two posts to fellow students and/or the course instructor. It is a written answer to a discussion question/response that contains a central idea, independent response or personal opinion that is presented or communicated in a meaningful way. The purpose of substantive interaction on the Discussion Forum is to promote understanding of a topic and its relevant themes to all participants. The posts are, therefore, a collective conversation of linked words, phrases and ideas.

A post may include an opinion that applies ideas relevant to the course content. It may compare and contrast the posts of others. Experience of facts and distinctions may vary based on the perceptions of each student. In some cases, the pros and cons of a decision may be explored. At other times, the conversations may be directed back to an earlier post. The usual length of a post is 75 to 150 words but may go longer, depending on the topic or assignment instructions. Only if a passage is quoted within the student’s own written response will APA be required.

Students are encouraged to begin substantively interacting with classmates and/or the instructor using the Discussion Forum as soon as possible during each week of the term. Substantive interaction promotes a deeper understanding of the topics and themes discussed in courses, which will enrich the educational experience. In addition, it opens up the lines of communication with fellow classmates and instructors.