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Train the Trainer: "How and when to drop online students"

A colleague asks:

How would you drop an online student?   if my classes are online via Blackboard how do I know who will be "attending" and who will not? I have students wanting to add into my classes so I want to drop any "non-attending" students to make room for those on the waitlist.
- [Name on File]

Hello [Name on File],
You asked for advice and procedures regarding dropping online students
You would drop "online" students the same way you would drop any student (in "this" Department) and that is by emailing a formal request to the Department Office stating:
Dear Admin Support,
This is ___________, I teach _________, Section ___.
The following student(s) have given no indication of attending my course and no response after two attempts on my part to contact them via email over a period of 7 days and should therefore be dropped in order to make room for waitlisted students (which I will submit via an "Add Form").
Course Number, Title, and Section:
Student Name:
Student ID:
Thank you,
[Your name here.]

My advice:
If I were you I would should send your students a welcome email via [the university mail system] and ask them to all log in to the online Blackboard course shell by Monday at midnight and access the course syllabus. Set your tracking to "on." (Do a google search if you need to learn how to track who has accessed what.) If I were you I'd give a little quiz regarding the syllabus. The quiz would literally test the student on syllabus-related questions such as, What is the instructor's email address? What is the instructor's office hours? How many points are possible in this class?
-- Testing them on the syllabus will force them to actually READ it.
Tell them the quiz is due Monday evening (soft due date) but leave it available. Tuesday contact all of the ones who didn't turn in the quiz and threaten them (gently).  On Friday check again for any who STILL haven't turned in the "quiz" and remind those slackers.  If you haven't heard back from them by the following Monday (after reminding them on the previous Tuesday and Friday) -- go ahead and drop them.
-- Bill




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