The Attendance (Roll Call) tool is used for taking attendance in Canvas courses. It can be used for online or face-to-face courses.
After the first time instructors take attendance using the Roll Call tool, Canvas automatically creates a "Roll Call Attendance" assignment that is worth 100 points and factors into students overall grades. You will see this assignment in the Assignments tool and as a column in the gradebook. To avoid attendance calculation errors, instructors should not delete, rename, or unpublish the assignment. If the assignment is deleted, the Roll Call tool will not be able to take attendance.
Note:If you do not want attendance to automatically be calculated this way, you will need to go into Roll Call settings and check the box that says Do not count attendance toward final grade. Adjusting the points of this assignment to zero will also prevent it from affecting student grades.
Each time attendance is taken, students are scored based on if they are marked present/absent/late out of how many days attendance has been recorded. For example, if a student misses the first day of class and is marked absent, but attends the second and is marked present, they will have a 50% or 50/100 for this assignment (1 present out of 2 days of attendance). For the third day, if they are marked present, they will have 66% since they are now marked out of three days. For each day that attendance is taken, that will adjust how much each absence is worth. At the beginning of the semester, each absence will seem to have a larger effect on this grade, but with each new entry, each absence should have less of an impact.
The Roll Call tool is not enabled by default. In order to take attendance with it, you’ll need to enable it first:
The Attendance tool should now be in the navigation of the course!
Select the circle button by a student’s picture/name to mark them as present, absent, late, or unmarked. The default is unmarked. Clicking once will mark them as present, twice as absent, and three times as late.
You can hit More by the student’s name to see an overview of how many days they were marked present, late, or absent. You can also mark them present, absent, late, or unmarked.
To generate a report with the dates that attendance was taken
An Excel report will be sent to your email from Roll Call with the subject Roll Call Attendance Report. Select the link in order to download your attendance report as an Excel file.
Note: The link will stop working after six hours.
Furthermore, this report only shows instances where a student was marked as present, absent, or late. If a student is left as unmarked, they will not show up on the attendance report. This can be confusing if students enroll late, withdraw, or are accidentally not marked.
Please note that the attendance report that is downloaded is not very accessible or easily read. It lists every time that attendance was taken, for every student, in one single list. Therefore, attendance isn’t grouped by student or necessarily by date. There is no quick way, from this report alone, to see what dates a student was marked absent, late, or present.
To address instructor feedback about the issues with the attendance report, we’ve put together a template spreadsheet that hopefully provides a much clearer view of students' attendance.
If the attendance tool in Canvas doesn’t fit your needs, you can choose to take attendance outside of Canvas. You can develop your own method, or you can download our Excel blank attendance template. Our template includes tabs for Mon/Wed, Tues/Thurs, MWF, MTWR, or once a week courses. You can delete any tabs you don’t need, and make any edits you’d like.
You will need to manually enter in the student names. If you would like to enter in specific dates, you can insert a row or change the day listed to a date.
For all templates, you can enter in P for Present, A for Absent, L for Late, and Ex for Excused. Cells marked with A will be red, with L will be yellow, and with Ex will be green. To quickly enter in attendance, hit the Enter button to move to the next student below.
The columns at the end labeled Totals will automatically update and calculate how many times a student is marked as present, absent, or late.
You can develop your own method or you can download and print the Excel blank attendance template.
If printing, delete any information in cells that you don’t want or need (i.e., the “name” placeholder, the days of the week, etc). This will leave you with a blank template to enter in attendance information by hand.