Canvas - Attendance (Roll Call) tool [UW-Madison]

The Attendance (Roll Call) tool within Canvas is unable to track attendance across multiple sections within a Canvas course shell. Large courses may be impacted.


What is Attendance (Roll Call)?

Attendance (Roll Call) is an optional attendance tracking tool in Canvas.

How can I take attendance as an instructor using Attendance (Roll Call)?

  1. Open Attendance each day that class is held.
  2. Attendance (Roll Call) creates a new attendance page for that day.
  3. You can mark every student as Present, Absent, or Late.
  4. If desired, you can use this attendance as a point-generating assignment in the course.
  5. Attendance (Roll Call) provides an attendance score based on the formula: x-number Present markings vs. x-number Absent markings

Multiple Section Issue

At UW-Madison, many courses use a lecture-discussion, or lecture-lab structure:

  • All students meet in one large lecture one or two times a week.
  • Those students are distributed across several smaller-enrollment discussion groups or lab groups.
  • Those groups meet throughout the week.

In Canvas, this structure is replicated by using multiple sections. Every student is enrolled in both:

  • A large lecture section
  • A smaller discussion or lab section

Attendance (Roll Call) unfortunately is not designed to track attendance across these sections. 

Technically, the tool will allow instructors and TAs to track attendance throughout the week.

The tool will track:

  • A student's attendance at the lectures.
  • A student's attendance at the discussions or labs.

However, It will not generate a cumulative attendance score across both sections. Instead, your gradebook presents the attendance score of whichever section was most-recently updated (either the lecture attendance, or the discussion/lab attendance).


Large courses where students are enrolled in both a lecture and a discussion/lab section


At this time, there is no work around for this issue.

Keywords:Learn@UW, canvas roll call attendance issue sections   Doc ID:94851
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2019-10-07 10:09 CDTUpdated:2023-02-23 09:15 CDT
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