#TechTipThursday: Interpreting attendance data in Canvas

Canvas includes many features designed to enhance the ease and efficiency with which faculty manage their courses. As their answer to the perennial question of tracking student attendance and participation in a course, Canvas built the “Attendance” tool into course navigation options. Learning how to use Canvas Attendance is not a daunting task. Interpreting the data it provides, however, can be challenging.

To maximize the capability of Attendance, faculty must consistently track attendance and/or participation in their courses. Although this information can be entered retroactively, entering data consistently can help alleviate the stressors associated with the end to a semester. This also best positions faculty a quantitative response whenever learners ask the question.

An attendance report returns a CSV file which, when examining a semester’s worth of data for all learners in a course, is difficult to read. This report pairs perfectly with pivot tables when it comes time to interpret data class-wide. A member of the Canvas Community offers his Google Sheet template, as view only, so you will need to save a copy to your own Google Drive.

  1. Log into drive.google.com using your Geneseo credentials
  2. Access the template Roll Call Attendance Reports sheet
  3. Select File, then Make a copy to add an editable version of the Google Sheet to your Drive
  4. Access Canvas to run an attendance report for your course
  5. Open the resultant CSV attendance report, select and copy all the data it contains
  6. Return to your editable copy of the Roll Call Attendance Report sheet and paste the data into the second worksheet, OriginalCSVData, navigable through the tabs across the bottom of your Google Sheet
  7. Using the same tabs, click through other worksheets for an easily digestible view of your attendance data

The sheet’s creator, Ken Black, shares similar steps in his Canvas Community blog post. Watch his demonstration of the steps above in action.

Ken Black demonstrates the use of his Google Sheet to interpret attendance reports.

Members of SUNY Geneseo’s Canvas Support team are available to assist you at any point during this process. Reach us by email (canvas@geneseo.edu) or through the Canvas Hotline at 585.245.6000 (weekdays 8AM – 4PM).

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