Faculty Documentation: Best Practices for Using Attendance Tool


The attendance tool allows faculty to keep track of the students who were present at their sessions and the ones who were late or absent. Instructors can also grade students based on their attendance.

The Attendance Tool has four main features:

  1. Taking Attendance

  2. Attendance Grading

  3. Entering Comments

  4. Printing Attendance Sheets

Adding Attendance Tool to a Course Site

Step 1:  Click on Site Info on the left menu of a course site, then Edit Site Tools.

Step 2: Under the General tab, check the box next to Attendance. Finally, click Continue, then Finish on the confirmation screen.


Taking Attendance:

To take attendance you have two options: setting up attendance items for each class session ahead of time using Add Attendance Item, or using Take Attendance Now to add an attendance item when the class meets.

  • Using Add Attendance Item, you can enter the name, date, and time of the attendance item manually.

  • Using Take Attendance Now will create an attendance item whose name, date, and time is automatically recorded.


NOTE: You can change the item name, date, and time by clicking on the Edit button for an attendance item.



Attendance Grading:

You can manually enter an overall grade for student’s attendance record or create grading rules to automatically grade attendance. Attendance grade can be sent to the Gradebook as part of the overall course grade.  Steps are as follows:


Manual Grading:

Step 1: Before entering grades manually, you need to enable it. To do so, click on the gear icon that is available beside Grade, or go directly to the Grading tab next to the Student Overview tab.


Step 2: Enter the maximum points possible. You can also add these grades to the gradebook tool and allow students to see their grades by checking the options. Click Save Settings when you finish.


Step 3: Go to the Student Overview tab in Attendance Tool.

This page shows you the total number of times a student was present or absent for all the attendance items present in the tool. Based on the statistics shown, you can grade a student accordingly.


Automatic Grading:

If you intend to let the system grade based on student attendance behavior, you can go to the Grading Tab, and click Define rules to automatically grade attendance.

This system works by allowing the instructor to create rules by which each student’s attendance statistics will be scored. Firstly, the instructor needs to choose from two options:

OPTION 1: Students start with a perfect attendance grade; for example, a 10/10. Then, they lose points for each missed or late class during the duration of the course, such as a 1.0-point deduction for a missed class and a 0.5-point deduction for being late to a class.

OPTION 2: Students start with an attendance grade of 0, and earn points for each class they attend, capping at a maximum amount the instructor sets, seen in the above screen capture (The input box next to “Total Points Possible.”)

Instructors can specify the individual point values and settings by using “Add Grading Rule”, shown below.


CLARIFICATION TIP: Automatic Grading Functions via adding rules, and these rules should correspond with one of the two options you chose for defining rules. For example, if you chose to start students with a total number of points, you should be making rules that take away points from the total for absences and lates; adding a rule that gives students points for their presence would be redundant, because the option you chose already has them start the semester with a full attendance grade.


Automatic Grading Rules Explained:

Grading rules do not add or subtract points for each class missed. Think of them like intervals, where you set the amount of points to be gained/lost for each interval the student’s final stats fall under.

For example, look at these sample rules:


These rules set the intervals for which the student’s final point deduction will be applied based on their absences. Look how they correspond to the resulting grades:


Being absent deducts 1 point from the student’s total attendance grade, while being late or leaving early deduct 0.5 points. So, studentplus01’s final attendance grade is an 8.5, because they were absent once and left early once, while studentplus04’s final attendance grade is a 9.5, because they were late once but always present.


Entering Comments:

As you are making an individual student’s attendance record, you can now enter comments. This can be done as follows:

Step 1: On Take Attendance page, click on the name of an attendance item or on an individual student’s name and click on the conversation bubble.

Step 2: Enter your comments in the “Add Comment” box, and click on Save.

The conversation bubble will turn green after you have successfully entered and saved your comments.

NOTE: If you would like to make the comments visible to students, go to “Settings” tab and check the Show comments to students button that is available under “Edit Status Settings”.


Printable Attendance Sheets:

Instructors can now print sign-in sheets or attendance sheets for each attendance item by clicking the Print icon on the Take Attendance Page.

Additional Features

Viewing Specific Sections or Groups:

You can now filter your view to easily track attendance for students in different sections or groups. On the Student Overview page and Take Attendance page, you will see the View drop-down menu above the table if you have created groups. You can select students who are present in a particular group or students present in your course site as per requirement.


Changing Status Settings:

You can change the order in which attendance statuses are displayed in the tables of the Attendance Tool by changing the number in the boxes or dragging & dropping them in Edit Status Settings page. You can also disable a status so that it does not show up by unchecking the box next to the status.