Providing flexible, varied ways of accessing learning allows students, as adult learners, to determine their engagement. This is why the Assessment Policy states that marks will not be attributed to attendance.
Learning is about engagement and it is active. It means expending effort and sustaining that over time. That said, providing flexibility for all students to assist them to participate more fully in their learning is also vital to the delivery of a student-focussed approach. Such flexibility can also assist student retention and support students from across the ACU community, including those groups considered to be ‘at risk’.
At ACU we utilise the principles of Catholic Social Thought and see that ‘participation’ is key. However, being very clear about what participation means, including physical attendance, is one way in which we can provide the flexibility that supports our students’ development as adult learners. Thus, at ACU attendance requirements may only be required, where learning outcomes can only be achieved through physical attendance.
Designing units in ways that allow a degree of flexibility for students in relation to attendance can then assist all students, including those in ‘at risk’ groups, to participate in their learning and meet the learning outcomes. This in turn can assist ACU to retain students and support students to participate in the transformative process of higher education. Being clear about why there are physical attendance rules, and transparent in providing them to students, is one way in which we can support our students’ development as adult learners and a way of making impact through empathy.