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UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Support Document

aPlus+ Attendance / Getting Started

Summary

aPlus+ Attendance brings tightly integrated manual or automated attendance features to Canvas. aPLus+ Attendance 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.

Tips

As with any integration, CIRT recommends scheduling a consultation to discuss considerations and implications for aPlus+ Attendance before using it with your course.

Getting Started

aPlus+ Attendance is available to all instructors in all courses, but it must be activated in COURSE SETTINGS > NAVIGATION.

screenshot of course setting with the navigation tab open. Select aplus attendance from the list and drag it to the top.

Once aPlus+ Attendance is activated, it should be available to instructors and students in the Canvas course menu (on the left-hand side of your screen). The first time that you select this aPlus+ Attendance (and periodically afterwards), you will be asked to authorize the LTI. Select Authorize to continue.

screenshot of authorization window

You will then see the Attend LTI load screen.
If you get a message at this point, please read it carefully.

Common Error Messages

Common messages include:

  • Oops, your browser is super secure…..
    Just click on the link below that message in order to open the LTI in a new window.
  • Course start dates missing
    This means that the system was unable to determine the start date of the course. Please check the course settings to ensure a term has been selected, or a start date manually set.

Setting Up aPlus+ Attendance

When the aPlus+ Attendance tool is first opened for a course from inside of Canvas, the instructor will be prompted with the Attendance Setup screen. If you are not, then you can access it by selecting Attendance Setup from the top menu (circled in red).

Screenshot of the aplus attendance main menu with Attendance Setup circled in red.
screenshot of aplus attendance set up prompt

For more information concerning the options available to Canvas instructor during set-up, contact CIRT for help.

Creating Timetables

You will be prompted to create a new timetable.

add a New Timetable

Leave the defaults as they are, and select Create and add sessions.

Create timetable page with create and add sessions circled in red
The options for the creation of a new timetable. Options include timetable name, location, style, staff, qualification, allocation, points, and current students. The create button is circled in red.

Now go ahead and create your sessions for this timetable.

Creating and Editing Sessions

Navigate to Sessions.

select sessions from top menu

And select + Add Sessions.

click add sessions

You may edit single sessions by selecting the dropdown arrow on the session.

click dropdown arrow and select edit session
There is a drop arrow on a single calendar entry circled in red. The drop arrow has been clicked and a menu is expanded. The option to edit sessions is circled in red.

You may edit multiple sessions by selecting their checkbox and selecting Edit Selection… Make your changes then select Apply Changes.

Multiple dates are selected using checkboxes in the upper-left hand corner of calendar entries. These checkboxes are circled in red
Multiple dates are selected using checkboxes in the upper-left hand corner of calendar entries. These checkboxes are circled in red

You have several options when editing your session:

  • You can choose a date when your session will take place.
  • You can also choose a time for the session (or “no set time”) if you are creating an open-ended session
  • Check the holidays box to prevent sessions from occurring on holidays. You can add your own holidays in the extra holidays field.
  • You have the option to repeat sessions weekly and specify and end date.
  • You can choose a location for your session or choose to use the location of your default timetable.
  • Duration of sessions can be set in minutes.
  • You can add staff to your session (these includes teachers or teaching assistant who will not be graded if your attendance if linked to the gradebook).
  • Label your session with a unique phrase or identifier.
  • You can record points for attendance if your attendance is linked to the gradebook.
aPlus+ Attendance Edit Session Screen, showing options for Date, Time, Holidays, Repeat, Location, Duration, Timetabled Staff, Labels, and Points. The options Date, Time, Repeat, Duration, and Label are circled in Red.

Once you have finished editing your session, you can validate the information to be sure that there are not overlapping or competing sessions. After validation, select Create Sessions and your sessions will be created.

Understanding the Menu

The aPlus+ Attendance Menu includes several options for instructors to track and monitor student attendance and participation. The menu is located at the top of the attendance tool.

Options Include:

  • Students: An overview of student attendance in a given timetable. This list can be downloaded using the download icon in the upper-right hand corner of the tool.
  • Sessions: A calendar overview of sessions or meeting times that can be manually configured to meet the needs of the class. Instructors can add their meeting times and set the attendance recording options.
  • Tools: Advanced options including attendance recalculation, session adding, and timetable deletion.
  • Reports: Data reporting for previously attended sessions. The data can be filtered using the “attendance summary” options at the top of the screen and can be downloaded as a CSV file.
  • Import: Import attendance from other classes or import manually created CSV files. Instruction for how manually created files should be formatted are available in the aPlus+ Attendance Instructor Guide.
  • Codes: See the secret code that attendees must enter in order to receive credit for attending a session. Code entry can be set in the “sessions” tab.
  • Attendance Setup: Return to the initial aPlus attendance screen and choose your global attendance settings including the option to record attendance in the gradebook.
  • Canvas Sync: Re-initiate the sync between aPlus+ Attendance and Canvas.

Remember: If you have any questions about how to use any of the above tools, you can reach out to CIRT via email (cirtlab@unf.edu), phone (904-620-3927), or consultation request.

Recording Attendance

aPlus+ attendance includes several ways to record student attendance, including manual entry and secret code registration. A detailed overview of how to navigate these recording tools is located in the aPlus+ Attendance Instructor Guide.

Manual Entry by Status

On the “students” screen you can navigate to previous sessions, or change the number of days included in this view by altering the view settings. To enter attendance, select the session that you would like to record attendance for by clicking on the column header (circled in red).

The Plus Attendance student menu. Multiple students are listed with accompanying statuses. The date of the session is circled in red.
The Plus Attendance student menu. Multiple students are listed with accompanying statuses. The date of the session is circled in red.

Your session will now be ready to record attendance against. The attendance statuses include Attended, Absent, Sick, Withdrawn, and more.

The aPlus+ Attendance status entry page. Students are listed with different statuses. A button titled “fill blanks” is circled in red and numbered 1. A student status marked attended is circled in red and numbered 2. A comment box next to a student is circled in red and numbered 3. The save button is circled in red and numbered 4.
The aPlus+ Attendance status entry page. Students are listed with different statuses. A button titled “fill blanks” is circled in red and numbered 1. A student status marked attended is circled in red and numbered 2. A comment box next to a student is circled in red and numbered 3. The save button is circled in red and numbered 4.

As a best practice we recommend using the following procedure if taking attendance manually, to save time:

  1. The Fill blanks option allows you to set all attendance at once. For example, if the class was fully present except for one student then you could begin by marking everyone to Attended and adjusting just the single student who was absent.
  2. Adjust attendance for an individual student.
  3. Add any notes that may be relevant for a student’s attendance status.
  4. Save.

Entry by Secret Student Code

aPlus+ Attendance allows attendance to be taken quickly by having students enter a secret code that the instructor provides at the start of class. Codes can be given orally, written on the classroom whiteboard, or provided over Zoom or other communication apps. The instructor can control the time window for when the provided code will be accepted, and students enter the codes via Canvas.

The aPlus+ Attendance Code creation screen. The codes link in the aPlus+ Attendance menu is circled in red and numbered 1. The entry method dropdown is circled in red and numbered 2. The secret code, 6QP2D, is circled in red and numbered 3. Options for time entry which include default time window, manual control, specify tie, and disabled, is circled in red and numbered 4.
The aPlus+ Attendance Code creation screen. The codes link in the aPlus+ Attendance menu is circled in red and numbered 1. The entry method dropdown is circled in red and numbered 2. The secret code, 6QP2D, is circled in red and numbered 3. Options for time entry which include default time window, manual control, specify tie, and disabled, is circled in red and numbered 4.
  • Select Codes
  • Select Code entry as the Entry Method
  • Take note of the unique code generated for this session, and provide it to your students
  • Select how you would like to control the time window (the allotted time in which students are allowed to use the code, which can be set in minutes)

Recording Attendance via Zoom

To utilize the Zoom feature of aPlus Attendance, please ensure the following:

  1. Both the instructor and the students need to be logged into using using a UNF licensed account (an email ending in unf.edu). Zoom attendance tracking will not work reliably if logged into personal accounts, or not logged in at all.
  2. Your Zoom sessions will need to be scheduled (as opposed to using your Zoom personal meeting link).

From within your attendance session, select the Zoom button. If this button is not shown, please contact CIRT via email (cirtlab@unf.edu) or telephone (904-620-3927).

The aPlus+ Attendance Zoom screen showing various Zoom users with no statuses. The user account connection button in the top center is circled in red.
The aPlus+ Attendance Zoom screen showing various Zoom users with no statuses. The user account connection button in the top center is circled in red.

Select the Zoom session that you would like to retrieve attendance from. Note that this does not have to be the exact same time as the scheduled session in aPlus+.

The aPlus+ Attendance Zoom screen focused on connection options. Various sessions are shown and dated. The second session, at April 21, is circled in red.
The aPlus+ Attendance Zoom screen focused on connection options. Various sessions are shown and dated. The second session, at April 21, is circled in red.

aPlus+ will attempt to map the participants to students who are on the roster for the aPlus+ session that you selected. This will be based on the students’ email if they were logged into Zoom when they joined, or their name. You may wish to require students to register with their primary school email when setting up Zoom meetings to make sure that a match can be found.

Select Record as Attended to mark the matched students as attended in the session.

Note that if a student has an existing attendance status set, then it will not be overwritten. This it to protect against any manually set attendance such as ‘late’.

Note that sometimes you may see multiple entries for a student. This can be caused by waiting rooms, or a student dropping off and rejoining.

The aPlus+ Attendance Zoom screen focused on Zoom participants. Various Zoom users are listed with accompanying statuses. Record as attended button is circled in red.

Students will be marked as attended (or to the status that is setup for your school). The time that the student joined and left the zoom meeting is also shown, along with a comment noting how many minutes they attended total. This total does currently include multiple sessions if a student dropped and re-joined.

The intent of populating the times and minutes joined to make it easier to eyeball a session and make manual adjustments as needed.

a plus attendance logo
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