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#14 Attendance Monitoring in My Dundee

1. Manual attendance capture

Attendance in My Dundee is available by default, but it is not switched on by default. In order to mark attendance within your module, go into your module and from the left-hand side menu, under Attendance, click Mark Attendance .

A pop-up window will appear, you should then click Add Attendance.

You can then add your preferences (depending on your School) in the Settings window on the right-hand side.

Screenshot of the Attendance settings with arrows pointed to areas for Mark Diagram, Mark Using, and Save
  • Mark Diagram allows you to customise how attendance will be marked. The grades assigned to Present (100%), Absent (0%), and Excused (100%) cannot be changed. You can change the percentage that should be granted to the Late mark.
  • Mark Using allows you to customise whether you will mark attendance using 23 to Alphanumeric, Percentage or Points (this will depend on your schools workflow).
  • Click Save at the bottom of the window.

Attendance has now been switched on for your module.

You can view this in action in the video above from about 6:30 – 8:30.

1.1 Overall view and meeting view

There are two main views in the attendance tool, Overall and Meeting. You can switch between the two views using the buttons at the top right-hand side of your screen. ­­

The Overall view shows your class list along the left-hand side and the sessions along the top row. While sessions will show as today/yesterday on the respective days they appear, once that day has passed they will appear as a date.

You can also add other sessions from this view by hovering between the columns and clicking on the purple plus sign that appears.

Screenshot of the overall view of Attendance, with the pointer between two columns over a purple line with a plus sign.

From this view, you can go in and manually mark students from the drop-down list that appears when you select ‘Mark’.

You can mark students as either Present, Late, Absent or Excused. Excused is a way of noting if a student is absent from a session but has a reason for being so. You can also edit a student’s attendance retrospectively.

It is also possible to bulk mark by clicking into the top of individual columns – from here, you can mark all present, mark all absent, clear marks, exempt meeting, edit meeting and delete meeting. You’re able to do this bulk marking, and still make changes for individual students. For instance, if all but two students were present you can use the bulk mark all as present, and then find the two users who are not and change them individually. 

The column in Overall view is displayed in a bigger interface within Meeting view. Use the arrows in the top left-hand side to navigate between the different sessions. 

You can view this in action in the video above from about 8:30 – 13:00.

1.2 How this appears in the Gradebook

Once it has been set up, attendance will also appear in the Gradebook, as shown below. You can access the primary attendance page by clicking into the Attendance item.

You can view this in action in the video above from about 13:00 – 15:00.

2. Automatic attendance capture with Collaborate

You can also take attendance automatically through Collaborate sessions. To do this, select the module you wish to take attendance for, and from the left-hand side menu, click on the three dots under Blackboard Collaborate and select Manage all sessions from the dropdown list.

This will load the sessions page. To create a new session, click on Create Session.

To configure the attendance settings for your session, select the Attendance Reporting tab (third tab along the top in the Create Session window appearing on the right-hand side).

Share attendance information with LMS – select this tickbox to enable attendance reporting within your session.

Late After – you can edit this box to automatically mark students as late after a certain amount of time.

Absent After – you can edit this box to automatically mark students as Absent after a certain amount of time.

Required time in session – you can toggle this bar to automatically mark students as Absent if they are not present for a certain percentage of the session.

Click Create.

Screenshot of the attendance tab when creating a Collaborate session

When the session has finished, data is collected automatically and added to the gradebook.

To view the attendance for your session, go into the gradebook, select attendance and select Overall view.

You can view this in action in the video above from about 21:00-36:00.

3. Using ‘Markable’ Activities with Examples

Touchpoints are anything that has a record that a student has engaged with their online learning – i.e. they have attended a particular event, have executed a particular task or have engaged with a particular activity.

For example, you could ask students to attend one collaborate session per week, as well as asking them to engage with some of the following examples, which detail ways that you can use ‘markable’ activities to take attendance.

3.1 Tests

You could opt to lay out your module with weekly learning module folders – at the end of each of these learning modules you could create a quiz. If you had one session per week where attendance is marked, followed by an end of week quiz for students to complete, this would be two touchpoints.

For more information on how to set up quizzes in My Dundee, please refer to the training materials on this session.

3.2 Journals

In the same way shown in 3.1 Tests, you could use a weekly journal to mark attendance.

A journal gives students the ability to write a series of entries based on whatever you want to set them. You could make this purely pastoral so that students write something about how they are doing that week, or reflect on how they’re finding the course, etc). For this, you could set the journal as being markable (1 point for each week, for example), so that you will be able to see whether or not they have completed it in the Gradebook.

For more information on how to set up journals in My Dundee, please refer to the training materials on this session.

3.3 Other examples

You could apply the same approach shown in quizzes and journals to discussion boards, so that every student must participate in a discussion board each week.

You could also use Turnitin assignments where appropriate (once a week might be quite difficult to manage) in order to give people a break from other activities (i.e. If you have an essay deadline one week, you may wish to excuse students from the weekly quiz, journal or discussion as the assignment will count as a touchpoint).

These are just some suggestions for ways in which ‘markable’ assignments can be used for attendance monitoring – however you choose to role out attendance monitoring should be clearly communicated to your students, so that they are aware of exactly what is expected of them.

You can view this in action in the video above from about 36:00 – 43:00. 

4. Using the data

You can download attendance in the same way you download any other mark.

Screenshot of the Gradebook in Ultra with circles around the Gradebook icon and download icon.

Go into the Gradebook and click on the download button.

A window on the right-hand side will appear allowing you to choose various options. You can download the whole gradebook in one go, or you can customise the columns you want to download by selecting Select Columns.

Depending on what you have chosen to count towards attendance, you can select these from the options, choose how you want to download it and click Download.

A spreadsheet will download onto your computer in the same layout you would have found in Original, and gives you a percentage of total attendance for that week (so you can have a raw export and can do whatever is required from there).

You can view this in action in the video above from about 43:00 – 45:00.

References:

Blackboard Learn Attendance Tool

Automate attendance in Collaborate

Manually extract Collaborate attendance data

Updated on 30/08/2021

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