#TechTipThursday: How Are You Taking Attendance: Roll Call Attendance Tool

So you’ve read our post, “Why Are You Taking Attendance?” and remain unconvinced that a non-policy of attendance is for you. Fine… That’s cool. No, really… Allow me to suggest an integrated third party tool that will allow you to satisfy your attendance urge and provide a suggestion on an alternative means for using it as a participation gauging tool.

Canvas’s allows faculty to leverage its built in Roll Call Attendance tool which following its first use creates a corresponding column in the Gradebook. The tool then allows one to take attendance in their class as a rolling percentage where students who attend a class session would earn 100% for the day while students who do not earn 0%.

Roll Call Attendance Tool interface.

Additionally, students who arrive to class late or leave early can be given a lower percentage (by default this is 80%- this value can be adjusted by the professor.) Legitimately excused absences can easily be exempted from the running total. Keep in mind that the running total is based only on the days attendance is taken.

Over the course of the semester the percentage accumulated is applied directly to the Canvas gradebook providing students insight as to how attendance (or lack thereof) may be effecting their grade. Configuring the Roll Call Attendance Tool is easily accomplished, however your Instructional Designers would be more than happy to help you.

If you are interested in a tool to track participation, beyond mere presence, the Roll Call Attendance Tool is just as easily adapted in use. Once you have clearly established your intention with students as to how participation will effect their grade and in what ways you will be rating it, this tool can simplify your application of the often precarious “participation” grade. In this case the tool works exactly as it might when taking attendance, however “Present” represents full participation marks for the day, “Absent” shows lack of potential participation, “Late” means partial participation, and “Excused” demonstrates a lack or possible participation.

At the end of the day the data you collect is only as good as the way in which you use it; Regardless of why you implement the Roll Call Attendance Tool you can easily run a report on your class to determine precisely who has attended/participated in how many classes. For those of you who prefer your data more visually compelling you can easily export the data into a (platform agnostic) Google Sheets and present the information as a handy pivot table.

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