UMW Learning Collaborative
In order to implement a more targeted approach for contact tracing in classes we are encouraging faculty to use tools available in Canvas that allow instructors to create seating charts and take attendance. This guide will show you how to set this up for use in your course. We also discuss alternatives if Canvas Attendance is not a good fit.
To create a seating chart, click the Attendance tab in the Canvas sidebar, then click the Class tab in the Roll Call window that appears. A list of students enrolled in your course will appear on the left. Drag each student’s name onto the grid to approximate their seating location in the class.
Note: Create your seating chart on the current day only. Moving back or forward in the calendar before creating your chart can cause issues.
This Seating Chart guide from Canvas explains the process of creating a Seating Chart for your class in detail, step-by-step.
Once you create a seating chart for the current date, the chart will repeat for all days thereafter. You do not need to make a new chart from scratch for each class. However, if students change seats, you can simply drag that student’s name to a new location on the grid. This new configuration will then repeat for all days thereafter.
Note: Adjust your seating chart for the current day only. Moving back or forward in the calendar before adjusting your chart can cause issues.
UMW does not have a university-wide attendance policy, but it is important to note that Canvas DOES make attendance a grading criterion by default. You must turn off attendance as a grading criterion if you don’t want it to impact a student’s grade in the Canvas Gradebook.
When you first use the Seating Chart tool, it will create a “Roll Call Attendance” Assignment in the Assignments tab and a column in the Gradebook. If you intend to use the Attendance tool for grading in the Canvas Gradebook, you can leave this as-is.
If you do not use the Canvas Attendance tool for grading, be sure to go to the Attendance tab in the Canvas sidebar, click the ⚙ (gear) icon, click Roll Call Settings, then check the box next to “Do not count attendance toward final grade.”
Even though you have checked this box, a “Roll Call Attendance” assignment will appear in the Assignments tab and an attendance column will appear in the Canvas gradebook. These can be safely ignored once you’ve checked the “Do not count attendance toward final grade” box. But, if you’d like to remove the attendance column from your gradebook entirely, you can:
This will remove the attendance column from your Canvas Gradebook.
To take attendance, simply click the Attendance tab in the sidebar, ensure you are on the correct date, and click the student’s name to indicate if they are present (green check). You can also click twice to indicate absence (red X), and three times to indicate the student arrived late (yellow clock).
You can do this from the seating chart by selecting the CLASS tab, or a list view by selecting LIST (shown below).
The status set for each student is associated with a percentage value that can be calculated in the Canvas Gradebook. More information in the Attendance and Grades section of this guide.
To view more detailed step-by-step instructions for taking roll, see this Canvas guide on Taking Roll Using the Attendance Tool.
If you are only using the Attendance tool to assist in contact tracing you can simply mark a student attending virtually as absent.
If you already regularly use the Attendance tool to track your students’ attendance as a criteria in evaluation, the best way to mark a student that is attending virtually is to do the following:
You can get to the badges by doing the following:
From the List View:
From the Class View:
For some courses, it may be necessary to take attendance on a paper sheet and upload this sheet to Canvas.
Follow these steps to upload a picture of your paper attendance sheet using the Canvas Teacher app on your smartphone or tablet.
For more information on the Canvas Teacher app, see Canvas’ guide on the Teacher app here.