Attendance - Adding a One-Time Attendee

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Community Novice

I’m investigating the expanded use of Canvas here at my university.  This question deals with the ability for an instructor to add a student to a class on the fly.

Situation explained.  The university operates both didactic classroom courses and clinical training courses.  We are all set regarding the didactic classroom courses.  However, we also create sections in Canvas for our clinical courses, but they only contain the students who are registered for that section.  (There is a daily feed from our registration software package into Canvas.)

The issue I’m trying to solve is that students must either attend the clinic shift they are assigned or find a substitute to attend in their place.  Students manage the finding of substitutes independent of administrative oversight and often at the last minute.

Students who make advance arrangements to attend a clinical shift for which they are not registered can be added to the section by an admin.  But “on the fly” substitutes are the issue I’m trying to address.

What we want is the ability for an instructor to include these “one time” attendees in the attendance for the class, marking them as present.  (They can remain in the class roster for the remainder of the term – no harm done.  We just need to know they were present for a specific shift.)

This will allow us to track the total number of hours a student participated in clinical training – either by attending a class for which they were registered or by subbing for another student on a different shift.

Real life scenario:  Joan receives a call from her babysitter that her child is ill.  She is scheduled to attend a clinical shift in 5 minutes but needs to go home to deal with her ill child.  She needs a substitute and finds Bill who is free next period and will sub for her in her upcoming shift.

Bill shows up for the shift.  The instructor takes attendance, marking Joan as absent.  The instructor needs to add Bill to the attendance for the shift marking him as present.  (It is not necessary for a note to be added who Bill is subbing for.)


1 Solution
Community Coach
Community Coach

Thank you @RichardPetke for including names in your scenario! Are your instructors using the Roll Call Attendance tool? If so, then the instructor could mark Bill as present on the day he supported Joan by taking her shift. Roll Call allows the instructor to select the section while recording attendance (the View Attendance section of the Canvas Guides document shows this). This assumes that the clinical sections are all linked to the same Canvas course.

If Joan and Bill are not enrolled in the same section *and* the sections are not linked to the same Canvas course, then cross-listing those sections might be an option. There is a Canvas Guides document on how to cross-list. As the document notes, cross-listing is a permission that has to be enabled for instructors to do it. Where I work, we usually limit that to sysadmins because of the risk of losing access to student assignment submissions, discussion posts, etc. if cross-listing the section in the wrong way ends up making it star-crossed instead.

I'm going to mark my answer as a solution. Please reply if this does not help and I'm happy to take another shot. If you do, it would help to know the tool that instructors use to record attendance. 

I hope Joan's child is okay. 🤒

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