There are several ways to track attendance in Canvas. It is essential for Instructors to choose a method that best serves their needs and does not interfere with teaching time.

    1. Manual: Create a single assignment in Canvas to record a single score for attendance. Track student attendance manually (on paper) throughout the term, then record each student's attendance score at the end of the semester. You have the option to hide or mute this assignment in Canvas until the end of the semester so it doesn't confuse students. 
    2. Incremental: Create multiple assignments in Canvas to record incremental scores. Example: One assignment for each week's attendance. Track attendance manually through the term, and record an attendance score in a corresponding assignment area for each student, each week.
    3. Canvas Attendance tool (Recommended): Use the built-in Roll Call/Attendance tool in your course navigation menu. The Roll Call/Attendance tool in Canvas feeds directly into the Canvas Gradebook and adjusts each time you take roll. To learn more about using the Attendance tool, see the following Canvas Guide: How do I take roll call using the Attendance tool?
      (Note: If the Attendance tab is not visible, please see the following Canvas Guide: How do I reorder and hide Navigation links?
Note: If you would like to create a seating chart in Canvas, visit How do I create a seating chart in Canvas?

Additional Attendance Tool Information:

  • The Roll Call Attendance tool is triggered the first time you take attendance in Canvas. After the first Roll Call, an assignment automatically appears in the Assignments index, with a default value of 100 points. The tool displays and tracks a % of the attendance grade.
  • All students in the People tab are automatically added to the Roll Call assignment.
  • Students can only see their attendance grade % and not the details of their attendance record.
  • Students receive a grade change notification from Canvas every time you take roll. To prevent this from happening, you can mute the Attendance assignment. Remember to unmute the assignment at the end of the semester.

Benefits of using the Attendance Tool/Roll Call:

  • The Roll Call Attendance tool tends to be more valuable for instructors than it is for students.
  • It's great for any course modality, as it can be used on any modern mobile device that supports the Canvas Teacher App. It's pretty handy to just use your phone in class situations, such as technical courses in a lab, or lifetime health courses outside.
  • Instructors must stay up-to-date in order for this grade to be accurate.
  • Instructors can back-fill and correct as needed.
  • Instructors have the option to view as a list or can edit a seating chart to take attendance.
  • If needed, users/instructors frequently use a clip-board sign-in sheet and transfer the student attendance log to Canvas after class in order to avoid interruptions.

Sample Attendance on an iOS (Apple) device:

There are four attendance options in the Attendance tool:

  • The gray No Symbol icon indicates attendance is unmarked [1].
  • The green Check Mark icon indicates the student is present and on time [2].
  • The red X icon indicates the student is not present [3].
  • The orange Clock icon indicates the student is late [4].

Additional Resources:

For additional information, please review these Canvas guides:

If you have questions about Canvas, please contact the Canvas Hotline below: 

24/7/365 Canvas Support:

If you have course questions or need assistance improving your content, please use one of the options to schedule an in-person consultation: 

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REV EZ 07/20/21