Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Attendance Quiz

I'm sure the first word that comes to your mind when I say "Attendance is very important for every class", will be "Dah!!" Until a couple of years ago, I used to have a sign-up sheet for the students, but that meant keeping these sheets around even after the semester was over, in order to resolve any grade disputes.

Since my classroom has a computer at every station, I just set up a quiz for each day in Oncourse (CLE, Collaboration and Learning Environment, based on Sakai). The main objective of this quiz is to record attendance, so on most days I just use one short answer question and ask for the attendance password, which I provide at the beginning of class. Once in a while, I also ask for more detailed feedback, but still keeping the quiz to no more than a couple of questions. I don't want to take valuable class time to complete this quiz, so the questions require no more than a couple of lines of typing.

Oncourse provides backups and archival of course data for 8 semesters, so this also takes care of short- and long-term record-keeping. Another step closer to going paper-less...

Here are some thoughts on creating an attendance quiz:
- Name the quiz clearly "Attendance quiz for mm/dd/yyyy"
- Set the delivery/due/retract date/time
- Set a time limit of 5 minutes and auto-submit at the end
- Set the quiz to automatically create a gradebook entry, and if there are points for attendance, assign the points for this quiz

I look forward to any suggestions, comments.

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