There are many options for taking attendance while maintaining social distancing (e.g., verbally, using a seating chart, or electronically using a Zoom poll, Top Hat, or Canvas Quizzes). However, passing around a sign-up sheet is no longer safe.
Note: In order to support the public health benefit of students staying off-campus when they are ill, points for attendance cannot be awarded during the Fall 2020 semester. Some schools are requiring faculty to take attendance. Check with your department chair if you are unsure if you are required to take attendance.
Taking attendance for federal student aid requirements
Reporting on attendance for the first two weeks of class is required for federal student financial aid.
"In the second week of the Fall and Spring term, the Office of the Registrar contacts class instructors to request that they verify which students listed on their class roster(s) are attending and identify those who have stopped attending.
In order to comply with federal student aid requirements, instructors are also asked to identify students who have never attended, including students who have dropped or withdrawn after the first week of classes or may still appear as enrolled in the class."
During the current crisis, you have the following options for taking attendance while keeping you and your students safe.
Attendance via Zoom
If you are holding class sessions on Zoom the easiest way to take attendance is running a Zoom Usage Report.
Note: If one of your students attends via the phone number (rather than the app) only their phone number will be displayed in the Usage Report. Therefore, you should ask those students to contact you after class to confirm their attendance.
- Navigate to zoom.iu.edu and click Log in to Zoom
- If necessary, authenticate with your IU Login
- Click Reports in the left navigation.
- Click the Usage
- Click the calendar icons next to "From" and "To" and choose the date or range for the class period(s).
- Click the number in the "Participants" column for the class period you want to report on (based on the "Start Time" and "End Time").
- Determine what information you want on the report with the Export with meeting data and Show unique users checkboxes, then click Export to download a CSV (spreadsheet) file.
Attendance for in-person
You should only take in-person attendance verbally, using a seating chart, or electronically—passing around a signup sheet is no longer a recommended method because of the associated health risks.
Even in large classes, one of the easiest ways to take attendance is to call roll; you could even do this for your students attending via Zoom if you don't want to run a Usage Report. With reduced class sizes, calling roll the first two weeks will probably be faster and less complex than taking attendance with Zoom polling or Top Hat (unless you already use those tools).
Note: If you are going to call the roll, you should ask students to complete a NameCoach assignment so you and all your students will be able to correctly pronounce each other's names (see Create a NameCoach assignment in Canvas for step-by-step instructions how to do this).
In-person attendance beyond student aid requirements and contact tracing
Seating charts for in-person attendance
Although it is not yet required, the Indiana University Restart Committee Recommendations Report suggests that, for purposes of contact tracing, in-person class sessions should use a seating chart and maintain attendance records.
Note: Some schools are requiring instructors to take attendance.
Creating seating charts is also one of the easier ways to take ongoing attendance in an in-person course, even in high-enrollment courses, since in-class sizes will be lower in order to maintain social distancing. By comparing your seating chart to the filled seats in the classroom, you'll quickly be able to identify who is absent.
Taking attendance electronically
If you already use Zoom, Top Hat, or Canvas for interaction throughout your in-class sessions, you can leverage any of those technologies to take attendance. The process for each is essentially the same.
- Create a poll/question before your class session.
- Ask all of your students, in-person and online, to access the Zoom, Top Hat, or the Canvas site associated with that class session.
- Verbally, tell your students the "answer" to the poll/question (a.k.a. the "password")
- Leave the poll/question open for at least one minute to accommodate students navigating the app.
- After class, identify present students by their correct answers to the question.
Note: Top Hat should be used primarily for classes where all students are "In-person" (P) or when using Top Hat's "Homework" tool. Using Top Hat for any other instructional mode is inequitable for students connecting remotely.
Note: We do not recommend Top Hat's "secure" attendance at this time because of the possibility of inaccurate data.