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Roll Call Attendance Grading with Multiple Sections

Question asked by Joel Gould on Mar 15, 2019
Latest reply on Mar 19, 2019 by Joel Gould

Hi Folks, 


How are our friends across the CSU managing / working around using Roll Call Attendance with students in multiple sections?  


The issue: 

Recently, we discovered this issue with the Attendance tool: if students are enrolled in multiple sections (say a lecture and a lab) within a cross-listed course, the attendance score in the gradebook reflects attendance just in the last section where the teacher has entered enrollment data.  As a result, the attendance grade and the final course grade "flip" to different scores each time the teacher takes attendance in a different section and none of these scores reflect the actual total attendance percentages across sections.   This particularly affects metacourses like humanities courses with lecture and discussion sections and large science courses with lectures and labs.  From my testing, it does not appear to affect.  


Other reports:

Here is a similar report from another university in 2017: Roll Call: multi-section & grade? 


The reason:

Canvas support confirms that Attendance grading was designed with a one-student, one-section assumption. The attendance tool sends grades to the Roll Call assignment whenever a section is graded. It overwrites whatever grade is currently there and updates it with the new information.


Possible workarounds: 

  1. One idea I had was to manually create an additional section for metacourses with all of the student in it.  As long as teachers and TAs only enter attendance in the big attendance section, I think it would avoid this problem.  (Though taking attendance in a huge course like BIO-110, would be much more difficult) 
  2. Another idea was to put the Roll Call Attendance into a weighted category with 0% and mute the item in the gradebook.  This would loose student feedback, but the spreadsheet could be downloaded and scores could be added as a separate assignment. 
  3. A couple people have recommended this "hack", which involves using all of the categories plus badges, to keep track of attendance in different meeting times.  This seems like it could be pretty confusing for instructors. 


Thank you! 


Sonoma State University