Built-In Self-Entered Attendance

Idea created by Steve Stringer on Aug 4, 2018
    Open for Voting

    We have a university policy that requires that we take attendance every class.  The unique nature of this master's-level lab class means that I have 60+ students spread across multiple rooms.  It is neither practical nor desirable to stand in front of each room and take a roll call.  


    We've worked around this by creating a simple one-question quiz ("Are you here?") that requires a daily pass code written on the whiteboard.  This works, but it would be vastly improved if Canvas supported this feature better.


    Current challenges include:

    • You cannot duplicate a quiz in Canvas, so each quiz must be created manually.  The lab meets daily, which means that I have approximately 75 unique quizzes to create.  This is obviously time consuming and error prone.
    • Once created, the 75 quizzes blow out my grade sheet and make scrolling sluggish and glitchy.
    • Attendance isn't graded like a normal grade.  Students can accumulate a certain number of unexcused absences, and then, per policy, their grade drops by two levels (e.g. A- to a B, B+ to a B-, etc.) for each unexcused absence thereafter.  This means at the end of the term, I must export the attendance quizzes to Excel, calculate the thresholds and manually delete each of the 75 quizzes from Canvas.


    So the better way would be a built-in module within Canvas that does the following:

    1. Lets me set up class days in Canvas (e.g. M-F, 9:30am-12:30pm from Sept 1 to Dec 1)
    2. Lets me set up attendance "quiz" open times (e.g. 9am), close times (e.g. 9:45am) and, optionally, tardy grace period (e.g. 15 mins) 
    3. Add holidays and no-class days
    4. Have Canvas autogenerate access codes for each class day
    5. Let me establish a grading policy (e.g. 5 unexcused absences, 2 letter grade drop thereafter)
    6. Lets the students log in and enter the attendance code from their phones or computers
    7. Lets me go in and mark absences or tardies as excused
    8. Lets students know how many unexcused absences they have remaining before taking a grade hit
    9. Rolls this up in a *single* column in the grade sheet


    A fancy version of this feature would send out notifications and nag-o-grams to students.


    I realize this is a highly specific requirement, but surely, ours is not the only program that works this way.  If you share this need, please upvote this feature idea.