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First Day Attendance in Canvas

How you take attendance on the first day of class for Canvas courses will vary depending on factors such as how many students you have and if the course meets online or in person. If you use Canvas to take attendance, you will still need to enter the data into Campus Solutions to complete first day attendance requirements.

For smaller, synchronous courses, you may want to consider opening your rosters directly in Campus Solutions to enter attendance  during class on the first day.

Read more below about the options for taking attendance using your Canvas course site.

Option 1: Roll Call Attendance Tool

Enter Student’s Attendance Individually

The Attendance (Roll Call) tool is best used for face-to-face courses. Option 2 and 3 are better for taking first day attendance for online courses.

This tool allows you to take attendance in your course electronically, giving you the ability to create a virtual seating chart in a grid format…

or view your students in a list format.

You can use this tool to take attendance and post attendance grades into Canvas grades directly. Here are some items to keep in mind when using the Canvas Roll Call tool.

  1. You will have to take attendance separately for each cross-listed section. 
  2. Taking attendance will add a grade column in Canvas Grades with the following scores: Present = 100, Late = 80, Absent = 0
  3. You may adjust the attendance assignment if you would like to assign different scores. Be sure to go back and retake attendance again if you adjust the assignment after using Roll Call Attendance.
  4. You cannot leave students “unmarked.” For a large class, you would want to use the MARK ALL PRESENT button, and then go and mark the ones that are absent or late individually. (Keeping in mind this would have to be done individually for each cross-listed section.)
  5. If you want to excuse a student from class (thus not giving them a zero for the day) put EX in the grade book for that day’s attendance.

How to access Canvas Roll Call Attendance

Enable the Attendance tool link in your Course Navigation menu. Students will not see this link, therefore hiding it from student view will not be necessary.  

Take attendance by clicking the Attendance course menu item. If you are using this for first day attendance verification, be sure to also submit your first day attendance status in the Campus Solutions Grade Roster Tool.

Further Resources:

How do I take roll call using the Attendance tool? (Canvas)

How do I use the Roll Call Attendance tool in a course? (Canvas)

How do I run Roll Call Attendance reports in a course? (Canvas)

How do I view my Roll Call Attendance report as a student? (Canvas)

Option 2: Create a quiz or survey requiring a password

You can create a quiz that requires a password and only supply that password in class. In Quiz Settings, enter the desired password under Quiz Restrictions and set the lock date to appear during class hours.

Creating a survey is the same process as creating a quiz, but you will need to specify the type of survey in the Quiz Type drop-down menu when editing the Quiz Settings.  Choose graded survey if you want to assign a grade for first day attendance or ungraded survey if you want to take attendance this way, but not assign any points to Canvas Grades.

Be sure to also submit your first day attendance status in the Campus Solutions Grade Roster Tool.

You can easily get a list of students who have not completed the First Day Attendance survey by doing the following:

  1. Select Quizzes on the course navigation menu on the left of your screen.
  2. Click on the First Day Attendance survey item.
  3. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the page, then select Show student quiz results.

Further Resources:

What options can I set in a quiz? (Canvas)

Once I publish a quiz, what kinds of quiz statistics are available? (Canvas)

How do I view student results in a quiz? (Canvas)

How do I create a survey in my course? (Canvas)

Option 3: Create a discussion board post

Using a discussion post for First Day Attendance is a great option for online courses. Create a simple discussion (see example below) and require that students post their replies for attendance. Be sure to also submit your first day attendance status in the Campus Solutions Grade Roster Tool.

Further Resources:

What are Discussions? (Canvas)

How do I edit a discussion in a course? (Canvas)

How do I delay posting a discussion until a specified date in a course? (Canvas)

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  • 19-Mar-2024