UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology


Taking Attendance

About this Collection

Collections offer curated content for UNF professors on practices, platforms, or tools. CIRT collects information from our own Knowledge Base, from official support communities, and from other reputable sources in order to bring you the best in a single location.

This collection offers multiple strategies for recording attendance (and how to implement these strategies).Β  If keeping attendance in your course is not necessary, but you are interested in viewing a students’ participation/activity in a course, see How do I view analytics for a student in a course?

CIRT Recommends

With so many options for taking attendance, both inside and outside of Canvas, it can be difficult choosing a method for your particular class. We created this collection to help UNF faculty better understand their options. If you have any questions about how to integrate these tools into your course, please contact cirtlab@unf.edu.

aPlus+ Attendance

aPlus+ Attendance brings tightly integrated manual or automated attendance features to Canvas. This tool allows instructors to take attendance manually using custom statuses, automatically via Zoom integration, or by providing a secret code that students can enter on the Canvas website or app.

Because aPlus+ Attendance is already built into Canvas, UNF instructors can start using it right away.

Taking Attendance in Canvas
Inside this Collection

Alternative Methods

Some instructors may not need the advanced features offered in aPlus+ Attendance; they might prefer to keep things simply, either by using in-built Canvas tools or Excel sheets. The following offers some pros and cons to alternative methods.

Roll Call (Attendance)

The built in attendance tool in Canvas, Roll Call, is easy to use and includes reporting functionality. For a full list of Roll Call functionality as well as instructions on how to use it, see the Canvas Attendance (Roll Call) Instructor Guides.

πŸ˜„ Fully developed attendance tool with features specific to recording and tracking attendance.

πŸ˜„ Roll Call works in the Canvas app, so using it with a table makes it a viable option for on campus classes.

πŸ˜„ Everything is recorded in Canvas.

β›” Only one grade and comment can be given for each student, does not have a daily grade breakdown.

β›” Attendance must be entered manually by the instructor.

No-Submit Assignment Method

A disadvantage to using the Roll Call tool is that it only allows a single grade and comment per student. To provide an individual score or comment per day, you can create a grade column for each day attendance is recorded or use the Rubric Method below. Each of the grade columns is an Assignment with the Submission Type set to No Submission.

πŸ˜„ Allows for recording comments on specific dates.

πŸ˜„ Easy to determine the last date of attendance for any student directly from the Gradebook without viewing individual activity logs.

πŸ˜„ Everything is recorded in Canvas.

β›” This method adds many columns to the gradebook which can make the gradebook difficult to navigate.

β›” Attendance must be recorded manually.

Rubric Method

A compact way of keeping a separate score (and comment field) for each day is to record attendance using a Rubric. The Rubric is created so that rows are class days and columns are attendance (on-time, late, and absent). The rubric can be applied to a No Submission assignment. This will create a single grade column in the gradebook. The rubric can be updated though SpeedGrader as necessary.

πŸ˜„ Attendance for all dates is reflected within a single column in the gradebook.

πŸ˜„ Easy to determine the last date of attendance for any student directly from the SpeedGrader.

πŸ˜„ Everything is recorded in Canvas.

β›” The rubric cannot be modified once it has been used for grading, so it must be complete and accurate before any attendance is added.

β›” The rubric may artificially lower students grades at the beginning of a semester. Since only one row is recorded at a time the students will only receive partial credit until the very last day of attendance when all possible points are accounted for. To mitigate this problem, select the option in the assignment settings to not count towards the final score, and then revert this setting at the end of semester for final grading.

Excel Method

Similar to the Rubric Method described above, attendance can be tracked in Excel and the grades can either be imported or manually entered into the Canvas Gradebook. The spreadsheet is created so that rows reflect student names and columns reflect class dates. A score is given for days attended and an attendance total can be calculated in various ways. In Canvas, a No Submission assignment is created for the purpose of adding an attendance column in the gradebook. Scores can be manually entered or uploaded and imported.

πŸ˜„ Attendance for all dates is reflected within a single column in the gradebook.

πŸ˜„ Simple Canvas set-up.

β›” Requires the instructor to record and retain grade information outside of Canvas.

β›” Students will not see attendance information until it is uploaded into Canvas.