About the Attendance Activity
This activity is designed for instructors to take attendance during class or discussion sections. It is also meant for students to be able to view their attendance records. The attendance activity can be graded and used in the gradebook.
Creating the Attendance Activity
With editing turned on, the Attendance activity is available in the Add an activity or resource menu on your course page. It appears in both the recommended and "All" tabs.
Give the Attendance activity a name. You will likely want its name to reflect if the activity will be the only Attendance activity for the course (with multiple session within it) or if there will be multiple activities the name should delineate each attendance activity from each other (i.e. one per week).
The next setting is "Grade". You can specify the point value for the activity. It is important to note that regardless of the number of sessions created the point value will remain the same for the activity.
The next setting is "Common module settings". If you are teaching a large course with sections or groups that will have different attendances times/session you will want to mark "Separate groups" for "Group mode".
Once the initial settings for the activity have been set, click "Save and display". This will allow you to continue to configure the Attendance activity.
Adjusting Attendance Activity Settings
The Attendance activity allows for preferences and settings to be established that will cover all of the sessions within the activity. When entering the Attendance activity, there are a series of tabs which control different aspects of the activity. The Sessions, Add session and Report tabs are the most useful for the module.
When the "Sessions" tab is selected, you will be able to see all scheduled sessions. You will navigate to this tab when you want to access individual sessions to record attendance. The "Add session" tab will allow you to create sessions for the module. The "Report" tab will display data for students and the sessions they are responsible for. The "Export" tab allows for specifying the information on groups, students and session data to export. The "Status set" tab allows you to customize various options for attendance such as Present, Late, Excused, and Absent (these are the default options). You can also specify the point value for each status. In the "Available for students" column, you can specify how long after a particular session starts you wish to allow students to record a particular status. This is particularly the case when you allow students to record attendance themselves. For example, if you specify 15 in the column for Present status, students will only be able to record themselves as "present" for the first 15 minutes that the session starts, after that this status will no longer be available. If you leave it empty, that status will be available for the entire duration of the session. If you set this column to 0, the status will not be available at all.
In the Status Set tab there is also the option to drop the lowest number of sessions for the activity. Click on the down menu to select how many sessions you would like to drop. Keep in mind that students will not receive a percentage grade for attendance until after the number of dropped session has been passed. (i.e. if the activity is set to drop the lowest three sessions, students will see 0% until the fourth session which will then calculate their grade based on the four sessions taken and dropping three).
Creating and Editing Sessions
Individual class meetings are referred to as sessions within the Attendance activity, and the activity can handle multiple sessions. So, it is not necessary to create multiple Attendance activities for each class meeting. Once you have created the Attendance activity, open it and then click on the Add session tab.
You will then have options to set up reoccurring sessions. If you have groups or sections in your course you will want to have turned on "Separate groups" in the "Common module settings for the initial setting of the attendance activity, you will then have the option to apply the sessions to specific groups within your course (1 in the screenshot below). The date can be set for when the session should begin (2). The time for when the session takes place can be set (3).
Note that if you set the sessions to allow for students to mark their own attendance they will only be able to mark their attendance during this period
To repeat the sessions (4) check the box to repeat the sessions as follows box in the "Multiple sessions" section and check the boxes for which days of the week to repeat the sessions. (5) Set a date for the session to repeat until under the Repeat until setting.
If attendance for different parts of a class needs to be tracked separately, it may be useful to create one Attendance activity for each broad category. For example, an instructor might create one Attendance activity called "Lecture Attendance" and then a second Attendance activity called "Section Attendance" in order to track these two class components separately. Because each Attendance activity does handle multiple sessions, instructors will want to name the activity with a more generic name, like "Lecture Attendance" and not a name that is date-specific, since students will use the same activity for multiple dates.
Allowing students to record attendance
You can allow students to record their own attendance, you can also require that students input a password in order to record their attendance (this password must be either shown over Zoom or otherwise communicated to students, they will not see it in the attendance activity).
To enable students to mark their attendance begin by creating a session or multiple sessions under the "Add Session" tab.
Under the "Student Recording" tab, check the "Allow students to record own attendance" box.
Once you check it, the rest of the tab pops up.
Check the boxes with "Random Password" and "include QR code" to set up password protection for recording student attendance. You can also specify your own password if you wish but we would recommend simply going with a random password as there may be multiple sessions and it is advisable not to recycle the same password for each session. Please note that you may only provide a password and not a QR code, but if you plan on providing the QR code, a password must always be set.
While you are in class, once you navigate to the Attendance tool, you will find a "key" symbol next to the active session (see picture below). Once you click it, it will show you the password and the QR code on the page. Please display this page to your students to allow them to record their attendance.
If you would like students who do not mark their attendance to receive an automatic marking after the session you can enable "Automatic marking" from the drop-down setting.
You will need to designate what status to give students when they are not marked within the Status Set tab under the setting for "Automatically set when not marked". Commonly this is set to the Absent status so that if students do not mark themselves they are automatically marked as absent.
Taking Attendance Manually
If your students are not recording attendance by themselves, you must take attendance manually. To take attendance for a session open the Attendance activity, you will see a full list of sessions for the activity with the sessions tab selected. Click on the green dot next to the session you would like to take attendance for.
Attendance can then be recorded for each student by selecting the corresponding option next to their entry.
Once attendance has been recorded, click on Save attendance at the bottom of the page.