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Record Attendance in Moodle

Instructors and teaching assistants can use the Attendance activity to record student attendance. Each mark (e.g., Present, Late, Excused, Absent) is assigned a point value, and the aggregate score for each student appears in a single column in the Moodle gradebook. Students can also view their own attendance record and any instructor comments in the Attendance activity itself.

You can add more than one Attendance activity to a Moodle course, which offers you the opportunity to use the module creatively. For example, you could use an the activity to track participation in any regularly repeating activity for which students will receive a single grade, such as weekly journal entries that will be graded only on overall participation.

Add and Configure the Attendance Activity

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  2. In the Section where you want to add the attendance activity (the top section of the course page is recommended as a convenient location), click + Add an activity or resource. The Activity chooser will open.
  3. In the Activity chooser, select Attendance and click Add. The Adding a new Attendance screen will open.
  4. Optional: Update the Name for the activity. (Moodle will use this name on your course page and in the gradebook.)
  5. Use the Grade drop-down menu to set the maximum points the attendance activity will be worth in the gradebook. The default value is 100.
    Note: For more on grading attendance, see Attendance and the Moodle Gradebook (below).
  6. Under Common module settings, set the Group mode to No groups.
  7. Click Save and return to course.

Set up Marking Options

  1. On your course page, click the link to the attendance activity (not the Update icon). The activity will open.
  2. Click the Settings tab (top right). The My Variables screen will open.
  3. The My Variables screen allows you to set names and point values for attendance marks. By default, you start out with four marking options: Present, Excused, Late, and Absent. You can rename, add, or delete markings to fit your own needs.
    Each variable (possible marking) is assigned an Acronym, a Description and a Grade in points.
         •    To change Acronyms, Descriptions, or Grades, edit the entries in the fields.
         •    To hide (and not use) a variable, click the Eye icon (at right).
         •    To delete a variable, click the X (at right).
         •    To create an additional variable, type into the blank fields (at bottom) and click Add.
    Note: The points awarded for each class meeting will be aggregated in the Moodle gradebook as one "running" percentage for sessions marked to date. For more on grading attendance, see Attendance and the Moodle Gradebook (below).
  4. Click Update to save changes.

Set Up Sessions

The Attendance activity tracks student attendance by recording marks for each session (i.e., lecture, lab, or discussion section meeting). Until you add them, there are no Sessions in which to record attendance. 

Note: If your class meets more than once a week or has multiple labs or discussions, you can add them all to the same attendance activity. You will be able to add all the sessions for each regular meeting time in one operation.

  1. On your course page, click the link to the attendance activity (not the Update icon). The activity will open.
  2. Click the Add tab (at top). The Add session screen will open.
  3. To add repeating class meetings in one operation, check Create multiple sessions:
    • For Session Date, select the day and time of the first class meeting of the semester.
    • For Duration, select the length of class meetings in hours and minutes.
    • For Session end date select the last day the class meets.
    • In the Session Days checkboxes, check all days when the class meets each week (e.g. Tues. & Thurs.).
    • For Frequency, leave this setting at 1 week, meaning that your class meets every week. (2 weeks, would be every other week.)
  4. Optional: Enter a Description. This is useful if you have separate lecture and lab or discussion meetings.
  5. Click Add session at the bottom of the screen. You will see a message that the sessions have been created successfully, and you will be returned to the Add session page.
  6. To add additional sessions for other meeting times, repeat steps 1 through 5. To view the sessions you created, click the Sessions tab.

Edit Sessions

Once sessions have been added to an attendance activity you can change meeting dates, times, and descriptions from the Sessions tab. For example, this can be useful for deleting or changing the date of a class impacted by holiday scheduling.

  1. On your course page, click the link to the attendance activity (not the Update icon). The activity will open.
  2. Click the Sessions tab. The Sessions screen will open.
  3. On the Sessions screen, use the buttons at the top right to view sessions by Day, Week, Month, All past or All. (Initially, the screen will open to Week, or to the last view used.)
  4. Class meetings will be listed according to the sessions you set up, and for each session there is a set of Action icons (at right):
         •   A green circle denotes days for which you have not yet taken attendance (see Record Attendance, below)
         •   Click the gear-shaped Update icon to update the settings for that particular session.
         •   Click the X to delete a session.
  5. To delete or change the meeting times of multiple sessions at once, select the checkbox after individual sessions (or click the top checkbox to select all sessions). Then, from the Choose... drop-down menu (bottom right), select either Delete or Change duration and click OK.

Record Attendance

  1. On your course page, click the link to the attendance activity (not the Update icon). The activity will open.
  2. Click the Sessions tab. The Sessions screen will open.
  3. On the Sessions screen, use the buttons at the top right to view sessions by Day, Weeks, Months, All past or All. (Initially, the screen will open to Week, or to the last view used.)
  4. Click the green circle to open an unrecorded session, or click the green back-arrow to edit a session with existing marks. The Attendance screen will open.
    Note: If you leave the Sessions screen and return, you may need to click All or All past (top tight) to see past sessions.
  5. On the Attendance screen, click the radio buttons under the columns to mark attendance based on the acronyms you established in the Settings tab (see Set Up Marking Options above).
    Note: If everyone is present, click on the column heading P to record the entire class as present. If most students are present, you can save time by marking everyone present, then going back to change the mark for absent students.
  6. To record notes for particular students, type in the Remarks column.
    Note: Both you and the student for whom you record a message will be able to view remarks.
  7. Once finished, click Save attendance (at bottom) to save your work. You will see a confirmation that "attendance has been successfully taken," and then the Sessions screen will open again.

View Attendance

Report view (Instructors)
The report tab in the Attendance activity lets instructors view the attendance for an entire class. If you have a lot of sessions, the display will require you to scroll sideways. You can narrow the range by clicking Months or Weeks (top right).

To review your entire class attendance, especially for a class with a large enrollment, you may find it more convenient to go to the Export tab and download the attendance in Excel, OpenOffice, or text format.

Individual student view (Instructors)
Instructors can view the attendance summary for individual students, including remarks recorded as part of that student's attendance. Simply click a student's name in the Report tab of the attendance activity to display that student's information.

Student view
Students can review their own attendance by clicking the attendance activity link on the Moodle course page. They will see a total count of meetings for which they were present, late, excused, etc. They also see a list of all class sessions, and any remarks that you have entered regarding their attendance.

Attendance in the Moodle Gradebook

The Attendance activity may display grades differently from the Gradebook.

The student view within the attendance activity displays two values: an Attendance grade comparing points earned to points possible (see Set Up Marking Options above), and an Attendance percent. In the gradebook, this Attendance percent is used to calculate the score awarded to each student.

For example, if a class meets 25 times and attendance is worth 2 points per meeting, the maximum possible Attendance grade (for points awarded per class meeting) would be 50 points. In the attendance activity view, a student with two absences would see an Attendance grade of 46/50 and an Attendance percent of 92% at the end of the semester. However, this student's score in the gradebook would depend on the Grade settings for the attendance activity as a whole (see Add and Configure the Attendance Activity above). Some examples:

  • If Attendance Grade is set to 100 points: The gradebook would show a score of 92, or 92% of the possible 100 grade points for the activity.
  • If Attendance Grade is set to 25 points: The gradebook would show a score of 23, or 92% of the possible 25 grade points for the activity.
  • If Attendance Grade is set to 10 points: The gradebook would show a score of 9.2, or 92% of the possible 10 grade points for the activity.

Make Attendance scores easier for students to understand.

Because grades may display differently in the gradebook and the attendance activity depending on settings (see above), students who note a difference in values may find it confusing. To give students a more consistent experience, we recommend using one of the following settings:

  • Set the Grade for the attendance activity to 100:
    Turn editing on, and click the gear-shaped Update icon for the attendance activity. Then set the Grade drop-down menu to 100. Moodle will automatically recalculate the marks earned in the attendance activity as a value out a 100 in the gradebook, and the score students see when they check their Grades will match the Activity percentage they see if they go to the attendance activity.
    (Click to enlarge)
     
  • Set the gradebook to display both Percentage and Real grade for the attendance activity:
    In the Gradebook, on the Categories and items tab, find the attendance activity and click its Edit icon (at right). On the Grade item settings page, change the Grade display type drop-down menu from Default (Real) to Percentage (real) or Real (percentage). With these settings, when students will see both the "Real" score (a number based on the Grade set for the activity) and a "Percentage" that matches the Activity percentage they see if they go to the Attendance activity. 
    screenshot of grade item settings     (Click to enlarge)