department menu

Using Attendance Tool

Why Do This?

The Attendance activity allows you to take attendance online, view the attendance record for individual students or all students, and for students to view their own attendance record. You can set up all the possible sessions in advance, create your preferred status options (Present, Late, Absent, etc.), and associate points with each status option. If the Attendance activity is graded, the grades will automatically be updated in the gradebook each time attendance is recorded.

The optional Attendance block gives you quick access to the Attendance activity, and for students displays a summary report of their individual attendance.

NOTE: If you simply want to print out an attendance sheet for students to sign in class, use the Sign In Sheet block instead.


Creating the Attendance Activity

  1. Go in to your course select Turn Editing On.

 turn editing on button

  1. Click "Add an activity or resource" in the lower right of the topic where you want the Attendance activity. You only need to create the Attendance activity once. Since you will most likely be using this multiple times throughout the course, we recommend adding it to the uppermost (“zero”) topic.

 add an activity or resource link

  1. From the list of possible activities (in alphabetical order) locate and click on Attendance, then click the Add button at the bottom of the window

 attendance in the activities list

Add button

  1. In the general section, change the Name (if desired) and add a description (optional).

 Name and desciption

  1. In the Grade section, set the Maximum Grade (the total points you want to assign for attendance overall). If you do not want to have this graded, set Type to None instead of Point.

maximum grade 

  1. Optional: if you have a combined container and wish to take attendance by section/group (and the groups and Grouping are already created), in the Common Module Settings section set Group Mode to Separate Groups an select the appropriate Grouping.

 group mode and grouping

  1. Click on "Save and display" at the bottom to set up the sessions for which you want to take attendance.

save options

Adding Sessions

If you clicked on "Save and Display" in the previous step, you should see the Sessions page with the current week displayed. If you clicked the "Save and Return" page or are returning after creating the activity at an earlier time, simply click the Attendance link on your course homepage.

  1. To add new sessions, click the Add session tab.

 add sessions tab

  1. If you are using groups, choose the group you wish to create session for first. Once done, return to create the sessions for the next group. Repeat until all groups have their sessions.


  1. Enter the Date and Time of the first session (if creating multiple) or of the individual session.

 date and time of session

  1. To set up multiple sessions, select the checkbox for "Repeat the session above as follows"

multiple sessions options

  1. Select the days of the week to the days the class meets.
  1. Set "Repeat every" to 1 if your class meets every week.
  1. Enter the date of the last session.
  1. Allowing students to record their own attendance is a relatively new feature is not currently recommend as there is no way to prevent students from not attending class but still logging in and recording their own attendance.
  1. Scroll down and click the Add button.

 add button

  1. A list of class sessions will now display in the sessions tab.

sessions list

  1. To change the start date or duration of an individual session, select the settings icon in the Actions column for that session.

 edit a session

  1. To delete a session, click the X in the Actions column for that session. To delete multiple sessions, check the box next to each session you wish to delete, then choose Delete from the Choose drop down at the bottom of the list of sessions. Click OK.

delete a session

Setting Status Options

You will want to set the attendance status options before you begin taking attendance. By default, the status options are “Present,” “Late,”  “Excused,” and "Absent," but these can be edited or deleted.

  1. Select the Status Set tab.

 Status set tab

  1. Change the Acronym, Description, and Points as desired. If you are not allowing students to take their own attendance, you can ignore the "Available for students" and "Automatically set..." columns.

status set options

  1. To add a new status, fill in the fifth line and click the Add button.
  1. Click Update when finished.


Taking Attendance

  1. Click the Attendance link on your course homepage. 

 attendance link

  1. Click on the green circle in the Actions column for the desired session.

 take attendance

  1. To bulk set the status, click the desired radio button at the top of the list of students, next to "Set status for all users"

set status, save attendance

  1. Click the radio button to log the attendance status for each student and enter any remarks.
  1. Click Save attendance at the bottom of the list.


Viewing the Report

  1. Click on the Attendance link on your course homepage.

 attendance link

  1. Click on the Report tab. The report will show all students (rows) and sessions (columns). The last row shows the summary of attendance for each session. The last columns show the summary for each student. Based on the information in the report, you might want to send a message to specific students about their attendance. To do so, check the box next to each student you wish to message, scroll to the bottom and click the "Send a message" button. Compose your message in the Message Body box and click "Send message" when finished.

attendance report