AC/C TECH understands the importance of maintaining attendance records, provisions for tardiness, early departures, make-up work, leave of absence, etc.; and therefore, our attendance policy is based on starting lessons within the 1st 15 days of course schedules, and maintaining an 80% attendance rate for course completions.
It’s important to realize that our academic failure rate has never exceeded 2%, but our non-compliant failure rate (which involves attendance) has extended to 34%. Both type failures are undesirable but the 34% is highly concerning and requires special attention. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to understand each component of this policy and evaluate the results daily.
As corrective actions, this policy includes the following components:
Clearly Define the Major Cause(s)
Students are assigned one course monthly until graduating from the program. No courses are assigned during the months of June, July, and August because administrators from the apartment industry prefer 100% participation towards restoring vacated apartment units during summer months. In contrast, if a student fails a course, he/she may retake the course during June, July, and August. This waiver allows everyone to remain on schedule towards pursuing subsequent courses and graduating together.
There are many reason students fail to complete their assignments, and the top 5 are listed below, in order of most frequent cause:
- Technicians Workload
Apartments, like any other physical structure, need constant maintenance. Aside from walls and flooring, apartments contain appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, swimming pools, recreational facilities, and other amenities. It is a scientific fact that anything mechanical/electrical will wear out and fail given enough time. Every apartment community needs qualified maintenance technicians and many with specialized technical skills. Compared to other skilled tradesmen, apartment technicians must know and do more: e.g.: HVAC, plumbing, electrical, interior/exterior building maintenance, grounds, appliance repair, mold remediation, and the like. As you can imagine, many apartment technicians become overwhelmed trying to keep-up with daily assignments, and as a result, sacrifice learning and training opportunities. They simply become procrastinators not giving themselves enough time to complete all lessons and fail the course. This is why our attendance policy is based on starting lessons within the 1st 15 days of course schedules and maintaining an 80% attendance rate for course completions.
- Working in a Decentralized Maintenance Operations
Many property management firms have a decentralized maintenance operation which requires maintenance personnel to be supervised by property managers. This management structure is great and highly recommended because property managers are experts in communication, organization, marketing, financial, customer service, landlord-tenant laws, rental violations, resolving resident complaints, etc. However, property managers normally lack a true understanding of maintenance, and the amount of time it takes maintenance workers to develop the education, competencies, and skills to master repairs in the trade. To help resolve this concern, AC/C TECH has created a special account for employers and sponsors to monitor their clients/employees progress anytime (24/7) and from any location. They may view daily progress reports, applications, enrollments, transcripts, credentials, resumes, references, job placements, and more. If necessary, we can write “Maintenance Tips for Managers” that cover planned maintenance, job task standards, advancements in technology, and more. Knowing that type of information will help property managers detect warning signs sooner, so they can encourage or demand procrastinators to start their lessons.
- A Lack of Planned Maintenance
Planned Maintenance (referred to as preventive maintenance) is routine work that needs to be done in order to preserve the life of equipment and/or property. A well-established planned maintenance program will allow you to control the workload, the budget, and personnel. Plus, it will help minimize emergency work that results in costly repairs and it will reduce workorders stemming from breakdown maintenance. Planned Maintenance should be given priority… the same as “Grounds, Scenery & Curb Appeal”. As example, many property management firms require technicians to police their grounds 2-hours daily. That means ¼ of their workday involves picking-up papers, cigarette butts, trash, cleaning building hallways, laundry rooms, swimming pool facilities, and other amenities daily. They also rake and pickup leaves during the fall and shovel snow off sidewalks during the winter. Simply stated, if the same amount of time, ¼ of their workday, was devoted towards planned maintenance of equipment and systems, there would be far less breakdown maintenance. As a result, technicians will have more time for restoring vacant apartment units to a “market ready” condition, and more time for training and learning.
- Advancements in Technology
Everyone knows that technology is evolving rapidly, especially in areas related to artificial intelligence, geotargeting, automation, and smartphones, but advancements related to building sciences require special attention from residential and apartment maintenance technicians. The purpose of building science is to optimize building performance. Maintenance workers must understand building science as it relates to:  a comprehensive weatherization program to reduce utility bills,  appliances, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing devices that have electronics to improve efficiency and energy conservation,  changes in regulatory codes to improve safety, and  special diagnostic and repair procedures to avoid losing equipment warranties. Repairs associated with these advancements often require special tools and test instruments that are expensive to obtain. As another factor, new equipment has substantially more parts than older equipment, and therefore, it takes more time to diagnose and make repairs. To help combat this concern, we recommend that all maintenance workers be given 1-hour per day to pursue training and learning. This would improve “Job Task Standards” and worker performance based on the amount of time and quality of work produced.
- Poor Learning Habits
Be aware that each course has 9 lessons and a final examination. Each lesson contains a lecture which can be replayed five times, a quiz that can be repeated twice to improve scores, reference videos that demonstrate diagnostic and repair procedures, and lab assignments that cover maintenance activities most technicians will experience on the job. In many cases, students play the lecture once, then attempt all three quizzes and fail. However, the system is designed for students to play a lecture, followed by doing a quiz, then repeating that process until satisfied with their score. To help keep students organized and on track, instructors conduct live web-meetings every Tuesday and Thursday. Participation in these meetings is the only task scheduled, and the meeting times and attendance requirements are based on the student’s convenience. In addition, the meetings are recorded which can be played anytime and by anyone who is interested. AC/C TECH purposely designed a curriculum that will make the student’s learning experience simple, meaningful, and convenient to achieve.
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Determine What Type Data Can Be Used to Monitor This Concern
Please realize that our attendance records are not traditional sign-in sheets. The LMS (Learning Management System) creates and maintains data indicating when courses were assigned and expired, the students last login, IP address, local time zone, credits, enrollment date, course status, course due date, course completion date, lesson identification, lesson date/time, content resource, lesson completion, progress measure, lesson success, score, lesson timestamp, lesson time, attempts, interaction, interaction description, interaction timestamp, interaction time, learner response, correct responses, result, objective, objective description, objective score, objective completion status, and objective success status. As indicated, we maintain far more useful data than sign-in sheets.
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Establish Ramifications for Violating the Policy
As noted previously, AC/C TECH’s attendance policy is based on starting lessons within the 1st 15 days of course schedules and maintaining an 80% attendance rate for course completions.
- Anyone who procrastinates more than 15 days, in starting lessons, will automatically be withdrawn from the course. In addition, he/she will be issued a written warning. A copy of that warning will be emailed to the student and a second copy will be deposited into their private account. That allows students to have access to all school records anytime of the day (24/7) and from any location.
- Students automatically withdrawn from courses are entitled to a 100% refund. This will minimize possible student complaints and maximize our Satisfactory Academic Progress results.
- If an attendance problem reoccurs during the next course, the student will be placed on Non-Compliant Probation. That notification will be emailed to the student and another copy deposited into their private account. Furthermore, the Director of Student Services will reach-out to that student for discussion of this policy and provide guidance towards compliance. Note: Both warning and probation notifications will automatically be expunged after the student maintains good attendance over the next 9 months. However, the probation can be reduced to 3 months if a plan is submitted towards correcting the deficiencies.
- Should another attendance problem reoccur during a third consecutive course, the student will be suspended from the program for a period of not less than one year. Moreover, after the suspension process, reinstatement is not automatic. The student must apply “in writing” and his/her documentation “shall” include a plan to correct all deficiencies.
Warnings, probations, and ultimate suspensions can be prevented by withdrawing from the course; but prior to executing that decision, AC/C TECH will inform the student how it may affect their financial assistance, if applicable.
Since our program is 100% online and students can attempt the lessons anytime of the day (24/7), concerns related to tardiness, early departures, make-up work, etc., is not applicable.
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Assign Administrative Control and Responsibility
AC/C TECH’s training platform is 100% web-based, and therefore, all attendance related data is automatically created and maintained inside the LMS, except when a copy is deposited into the student’s private account.
Authorization to access the data is limited to instructors and school administrators; instructors can view the data only, but administrators can view and edit the data.
The Director of Student Services is responsible for managing attendance related matters.
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Make This Policy an Independent Key Topic
This policy is now publicly available through our website, www.acctech.us. It’s posted inside the “About US” tab listed as Attendance Policy. Also, a copy is published inside our Program/Course Catalog… titled Attendance Policy. Lastly, it has been added to the Enrollment Agreement as a student acknowledgement.
When this policy is updated, both the website and catalog are updated in a timely manner to assure the new changes are readily accessible to everyone.
As monitoring and control, the Instructors and Director of Student Services are emailed progress reports daily. As another form of monitoring and control, AC/C TECH created a special account for employers and sponsors to view their clients/employees progress anytime (24/7) and from any location. They can view progress reports, applications, enrollments, transcripts, credentials, resumes, references, job placements, and more.
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Verify the Policy Aligns with Our Institutional Goals
This attendance policy directly aligns with many of our institutional goals, which includes:  Establishing a training platform that is 100% web-based, easy to understand, and easy to navigate;  Recruiting individuals seeking a lifelong career in residential and apartment maintenance technology;  Providing quality online training that will help students develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary for performing building maintenance and repairing equipment pursuant to regulatory codes;  Providing student services that will help learners achieve the educational objectives, earn credentials, get a fulltime job, and build a lifelong career as a maintenance technician;  Helping property management firms reduce maintenance expenditures by encouraging planned maintenance, developing diagnostic and repair procedures, establishing job task standards, restoring vacated apartment units in a timely manner, teaching uniform physical inspections; and  Promoting outcomes through the National Apartment Association, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), State and Local Housing Associations, and Property Management Firms… with the intent of increasing student enrollment.
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