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How do I allow my students to record their own attendance in Moodle?

The Attendance activity in Moodle is designed for capturing – and reporting on – student attendance.

To allow students to record their own attendance, there needs to be an activity. See the article How do I record student attendance in Moodle? guide before continuing.

Configure ‘Status set’

Depending on how you want the self-registering to work, you might want to set the unmarked status i.e. to what should the attendance status default if a student fails to register themselves? You may decide that you don’t want the status to default to anything but, having completed the following steps, you can choose whether you want to take advantage of this feature later.

  1. For an existing Attendance activity in Moodle, go to the Status set (1) screen
Screenshot of the 'Status set' screen within the Attendance activity.

2. You may want to set a time limit on how long students can record themselves as ‘Present’ (2). In the example above, the students can record themselves as ‘Present’ within the first 15 minutes of a session.

If you leave the field blank then there is no time limit; if you set the value to 0 then the option is hidden from the student.

3. By selecting one of the Automatically set when not marked radio buttons (3), you can choose which status will be recorded as default for those students who do no self-register. In the example above, students will be recorded as ‘Absent’ if they have not registered their attendance.

4. Finally click on Update to confirm any changes that you’ve made.

Permit students to self-register

PART A: For existing sessions
Sessions that have previously been created will now need to be edited in order to allow students to self-register.
1. From within the Sessions area, click on the ‘gear’/settings icon on the right-hand side to configure a particular session.
Screenshot showing the Sessions page within an Attendance activity and highlighting the settings icon for an existing session.
*** GO TO STEP 4 ***
PART B: For new sessions
1. From within the Sessions area, click on Add session
Screenshot showing the set of navigation tabs at the top of an Attendance activity. The 'Add session' tab is highlighted.2. Set the Date, Time and Description for your session.

3. If this is a recurring session, you can choose to:
  • Repeat the session (1);

  • Select the day of the week (2) for which you wish to add additional sessions;

  • Specify for how many weeks (3) until a specific date (4).
Screenshot of the Multiple sessions set of settings when adding new sessions to an Attendance activity.

4. Scroll down to the Student recording section and configure appropriately:

Screenshot showing the Student recording settings for a session within the Attendance activity.

5. Firstly, you will need to select Allow students to record own attendance (1).

6. Depending on the ‘Status set’ configuration that you’ve chosen (as explained in the previous section above), if you have set Automatic marking (2) to ‘Set unmarked at end of session’ then those students who have not self-registered will be marked as the default. In the example earlier, the default was set to ‘Absent’.

If you wish for students who have not registered to have their status left as unset, then set Automatic marking to ‘Disabled’.

7. To ensure that only those students who have attended can self-register, you will want to set a Student password (3) (which you can then reveal to the students at the start of the session). Students will then need to enter this password in order to register their attendance.

If this is a new session, rather than specifying the password, you would select the option for Random password:

Screenshot of the settings for a session in the Attedance activity. Highlighted is the Random password setting which should be selected for new sessions.

8. To quicken the process for students to self-register, you may wish to choose to Include QR code (4). You can then display this QR code to students who attend the session; students will then have the option to use the camera on their mobile device to scan the QR code, automatically navigating their browsers to the correct session within Moodle.

9. The final checkbox: Automatically select higher status available (5) further eases the process for students to register: when students access the session on Moodle, they are not even presented with options to pick their attendance status from, they are simply set to ‘Present’.

10. Finally click on Save changes to confirm the changes.

Sharing QR code and password with students

If you’ve select a password and/or QR code for your session then your students will need to know these in order to register their attendance.

You may wish to share these with them via a slide in your presentation:

1. Click on the Attendance activity in your course then locate the session for which you want the students to register their attendance.

2. Click on the Password icon.

Screenshot of sessions listed for an Attendance activity with the Password icon highlighted.

3. The next page will then show the QR code and the password. You can then right-click on the QR code image and Save image as… to save the image as a file. You can then insert this image into your slides to display to the students. Make a note of the password too so that you can enter this as text on the same slide.

Screenshot of the generated QR code for an Attendance session. By right-clicking on the image, you can choose to save the QR code image as a file.
Updated on September 9, 2020

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