Canvas - Attendance (Roll Call) tool

The Attendance (Roll Call) tool within Canvas is unable to track attendance across multiple sections within a Canvas course shell. Large courses may be impacted.


How Attendance (Roll Call) works

Attendance (Roll Call) is an optional attendance tracking tool in Canvas. When used most effectively:
  • An instructor can open Attendance every day that class is held.
  • The tool creates a new attendance page for that day.
  • The instructor can mark every student as Present, Absent, or Late.
  • If desired, the instructor can use this attendance as a point-generating assignment in the course.
  • Attendance (Roll Call) manages the math: x-number Present markings vs. x-number Absent markings gives an attendance score.
To use Attendance (Roll Call) in a course, the tool must first be added to the course navigation bar (go to Settings > Navigation tab). It is not on the navigation bar by default. Students do not see the Attendance tool.

For more details, please refer to this Canvas Guide: How do I take roll call using the Attendance tool?

Multiple Section Issue:

Many UW-Madison courses possess a lecture-discussion, or lecture-lab structure. That is, all students meet in one large lecture one or two times a week. Then, those students are distributed across several smaller-enrollment discussion groups or lab groups that meet throughout the week.

In Canvas, this structure is replicated by using multiple sections. Every student is enrolled in both the one large lecture section, and one of the smaller discussion or lab sections.

Attendance (Roll Call) unfortunately is not designed to track attendance across these sections. Technically, the tool will allow instructors and TAs to track attendance throughout the week. It will track a student's attendance at the lectures. And, it will track a student's attendance at the discussions or labs. However, it will not generate a cumulative attendance score across both sections.

This causes confusion in the Gradebook. The Canvas Gradebook will present the attendance score of whichever section was most-recently updated: either the lecture attendance, or the discussion/lab attendance. In large courses, this is seldom what the instructor wants.

At this time, there is no work around, nor are there any approved alternative attendance-tracking tools.




Keywords:Learn@UW, canvas roll call attendance issue sections   Doc ID:94851
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2019-10-07 10:09 CDTUpdated:2022-03-03 13:34 CDT
Sites:Learn@UW-Madison
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