Student Needs

  • A clear understanding of the rationale for mandating attendance or taking it into consideration when grading
  • Recognition that sometimes students have important medical appointments that are booked months in advance
  • Understanding that students might experience an unexpected and unavoidable flare-up of a health condition that can result in an absence
  • Acknowledgement that mandatory attendance encourages students to be physically present when they are unwell
  • Mindful consideration of any institutional policy statements on class attendance


  • When attendance is essential, provide flexibility by giving everyone an opportunity to miss at least one class without consequence.
  • Consider an option for students to makeup missed in-class opportunities (e.g. reflection paper).
  • Use class time to examine concepts in greater depth or set them in context, rather than presenting content that is only available through attendance.
  • Provide the opportunity to record, webcast, and/or access speaker’s notes.
  • Consider whether alternatives exist such as online tutorials or an online discussion forum.

More about the Mental Health by Design course.