Testing and playing with the Attendance Module

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The Attendance Module, released in two versions currently at Moodle.org, allows teachers to create graded, long-term attendance activities to help manage their daily activities in the Moodle classroom.  Most useful for face-to-face classroom situations where the teacher has a computer readily available, this module helps teachers maintain a daily (or weekly, or monthly) record of student attendance (complete with notes).

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Adding the Attendance Module was easy.  I utilized the released version maintained by Dmitry Pupinin which, according to the Attendance documentation is both more “stable and useful”.  Dmitry’s version has two folders necessary for installation, one that is placed within /mod, the other in /blocks.  Once these have been uploaded and unzipped respectively, run notifications and voila: Attendance Module is “present”.  Note: I installed this mod on my Bluehost Moodle site using the file management tool (FTP would also be possible), I am running Moodle 1.9.9.

Once installed the Attendance Activity and block are available in any course.

Note that the block is contingent on the availability of the Attendance Activity.  To get started just “add an activity” -> Attendance (see image right).

The setup page for Attendance is very simple.  Only two fields are required: Grade and Name.  The grade is the total Attendance grade over the entirety of your course/project.

The next page provides additional configuration, and this is where you can choose how often your course meets, the duration, etc.  To get started click “Add”.  What’s very useful is that you can create multiple sessions which represent the majority of your course meetings.  So if your course met ever Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for one hour, from today through December 23rd the setup would look like this:

Clicking “Add session” will create those repeating sessions through the date specified.

From this point you can easily manage daily attendance for all students assigned to your course.  Additionally, as a convenience you can configure how students earn their grades (the default is Present = 2 points, Late = 1 point, Excused = 1 Point and Absent = 0 points).  By marking each student you’re automatically calculating the Attendance grade based on their presence/lack thereof.  When you take attendance you’ll see that the marking screen is laid out intuitively:

It’s possible to edit sessions individually as well, changing descriptions or titles (in case you have a field trip or other academic events required).  And if need be you  can delete a session to reflect a school closure or holiday.

Students will enjoy their view of the attendance also, the block provides a quick breakdown of their attendance to date in the course,

And as a bonus, it appears as if the Attendance module will pull attendance grades to the student from each course where the Attendance module has been added. Cool!

All in all, the attendance module is easy to install, easy to setup and easy to use.

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