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What is the Roll Call Attendance Tool?

What is the Roll Call Attendance Tool?

The Attendance (Roll Call) tool is an external app (LTI) used for taking attendance in Canvas courses. The Attendance tool can be used for online or face-to-face courses. Enabled at the account level, the Roll Call Attendance tool can be used by all courses in the Canvas account.

The Attendance tool always appears as a visible Course Navigation link, but it cannot be viewed by students, so hiding the link in Course Settings is not necessary. If instructors do not want to use the Attendance tool in their courses, no action is required. However, if you do use the Attendance tool, students can view their attendance report through the Roll Call Attendance submission details page.

Note: The Attendance tool must be enabled for your institution before it can be used in Canvas courses. If you are an admin, contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance.

View Attendance

View Attendance

With the Attendance tool, instructors can keep track of course attendance by taking roll electronically. Instructors can choose to view the tool in a list or grid format and can customize the placement of each student in the seating chart.

View Attendance Assignment

View Attendance Assignment

When you take attendance using Roll Call, Canvas automatically adds Attendance as an assignment. The default point value for attendance is 100 points.

To avoid Attendance calculation errors, never delete, rename, or unpublish the Attendance assignment.

Note: Although students cannot view the actual attendance tool, they can still view the attendance assignment in the Assignments page. This assignment cannot be hidden from students.

Take Attendance

Take Attendance

The status set for each student is associated with a percentage value. Statuses include present and on time, not present, late, and unmarked (excused absence).

The Attendance tool also creates an assignment in the Gradebook and calculates attendance as a percentage of a student's grade.

View Lateness Value

Adjust Lateness Value

By default, the value of being late is 80% of the present value. So if a student is late, the student will receive 80% for the day instead of the full 100%. The late value can be adjusted in Roll Call settings.

View Gradebook Scores

Roll Call Attendance Column in Gradebook

In the Gradebook Attendance column, by default Canvas displays the assignment based on percentage of the point value. For instance, if the point value is 100, and roll call has been taken twice, a student with one present value (100%) and one lateness value (calculated at 80%) will have a score of 90 points, or 90%. 

The Attendance Gradebook column will update every time you take roll call in the Attendance tool. 

Note: Although students cannot view the actual attendance tool, if you are using attendance for grading, they can still view their attendance score in their Grades page and view their attendance report. You can prevent the assignment from triggering notifications by setting a manual posting policy for the assignment.

Export Attendance Data

At both the account and course levels, the Attendance tool allows users to create attendance reports.

Note: Admins can also filter reports by SIS Course ID.

Create and Manage Badges

Manager Account Badges

At the account level, admins can create and manage badges used in the Attendance Tool.

View Badges

At the course level, any badges added by a Canvas admin automatically appear for the course. However, instructors can also create additional badges for their course as needed.


The help menu of Canvas is one of the stupidest, most exasperating, most convoluted, most counter intuitive road map to a series of dead ends ever devised by man.

A program supposedly to streamline teaching and you can't type in THE MOST BASIC PIECE OF INFORMATION ANY TEACHER BEGINS A CLASS WITH:  "Take Attendance" and down the rabbit hole you go into overly detailed descriptions of the characteristics of menu items and potential uses and permission protocols etc, ABOUT  the "attendance tool"  and ABOUT the "roll call" tool and NOTHING ABOUT GOING TO THE LOCATION OF THE TOOLS OR IMPORTING THEM FROM WHERE EVER THEY EXIST.  WHAT A USELESS WASTE OF TIME CANVAS IS

Hi @pzapp,

We are sorry to hear that using our documentation has been this frustrating for you. Here are a few lessons that detail how to use the Attendance tool in a course:

The Attendance tool must be enabled by your Canvas admin before it can be used in your course. If you cannot see the Attendance link in Course Navigation, please contact your administrator. 

These comments are posted to the global Canvas Community,

NOT your Canvas course.

  • Have a question about using Canvas? Visit the Q&A page.
  • Have an idea to improve Canvas? Visit the Idea Conversations space.
  • Need to reply to a course discussion? Log in to your Canvas course and add your comment there (Tip: Visit your school's website to log in to Canvas).
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