Top Hat - Taking Secure Attendance in Top Hat using Geolocation [UW-Madison]
This document explains how instructors can take secure, geolocation-verified attendance in Top Hat.
What is Secure Attendance?
Secure attendance adds an extra layer of certainty to student attendance submissions.
Like regular attendance, students need to submit an attendance code to be marked as Attended. However, students also need to be present in the classroom. Top Hat determines presence based on geolocation alone, or geolocation and proximity.
Note: if a student is marked as absent, they can still submit responses to questions in class. Their absence will not affect the student's course average because grades and attendance are completely independent.
How Does it Work?
Geolocation works on web browsers, iOS apps and Android apps by sending coordinates to Top Hat’s servers. Top Hat uses the geolocation of students that submit the attendance code to confirm their location, which determines if they are in the classroom. Top Hat checks both geolocation and proximity when students use Bluetooth-enabled iOS or Android devices. Proximity determines how close a device is to other participating devices in the class.
Note: Some students may have geolocation disabled on their device for privacy reasons.
Enabling Secure Attendance
- From your Top Hat course page, select your name in the upper banner and then Course Settings.
- Under the Course Settings heading, select the course you want to edit.
- From the upper menu of options for your selected course, select Attendance.
- Select the Enable location-based "secure" attendance checkbox.
- Select the blue Save button.
Taking Secure Attendance
Once enabled, launching an attendance session will automatically launch secure attendance.
Note: When you take Secure Attendance, leave attendance open for 2-3 minutes to allow Top Hat to establish the location.
The attendance session will display Secure Attendance Enabled when launched, if configured properly. It will display:
- The number of students that have submitted the attendance code over the number of students that are enrolled.
- The percentage of students whose proximity and geolocation has been verified (whether absent or present).
When you are ready to stop taking attendance, select the Finish button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.
Students will be marked as absent If they enter the correct 4-digit attendance code, but fail the location check (geolocation and proximity). When you end your attendance session, Top Hat will show the number of students who were marked absent because they failed the security checks.
You can review this list of students by clicking the blue show list of students who failed security checks button. If you would like to change their attendance status for this session, select the Attended button associated with the student.
Note: You can also adjust student attendance statuses at a later time in the gradebook. Please see Professor: Gradebook Attendance Tab for more info.