Recording Attendance Using the Attendance Activity in Moodle

You can obviously record student attendance using a paper chart or an Excel spreadsheet. However, Moodle’s Attendance Activity offers not only comparable features, but also several advantages over those possibilities:

  1. With Moodle’s Attendance activity, you can set up all the possible course meeting dates at the same time.
  2. Moodle allows you to see the attendance record for a particular student for a particular time period (monthly or weekly).
  3. Moodle allows the student to see his/her attendance history as you have recorded it.
  4. Moodle sets point values for Present, Excused, Late, and Absent (by default 2, 1, 1, and 0 points, respectively), whose values you can change.
  5. Moodle keeps track of the score for you and posts the running total in the Gradebook.


Creating the Attendance activity, adding sessions for which to record attendance, and then recording attendance are three separate steps, which we will describe separately:

I. Creating the Attendance Activity

  1. If the Edit Mode is currently off, click on the button at the top-right corner of your window to allow you to make changes to the course content:

    Turn editing on

  2. You’ll need to decide which topic area in your course will contain the Attendance activity. Since Attendance is such a fundamental activity, we recommend adding Attendance to the “zero block” at the top of the course page. Move your mouse to the bottom-right corner of the zero block, so that the “Add an activity or resource” link appears, and click on that link:


  3. Among the list of possible Activities and Resources (arranged in an alphabetical grid), find the link for Attendance (the second from the top left), and click on that button:


    Add Attendance Activity

  4. In the General section of the “Adding a new Attendance” page, you’ll see “Attendance” already entered as the name. In the Grade section (collapsed by default), the point scale of 100 will be selected. Those default settings are usually fine, so you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the button, which will allow you to begin the process of adding class sessions for which you will take attendance.


II. Add Class Sessions (to Record Attendance)

1. If you clicked on the “Save and display” button for the previous step, you should be at a page for your Attendance activity, with today’s week displayed. If you clicked on the “Save and return to course” button instead, you just need to click on the link for the Attendance activity to get to that page that will allow you to set up your sessions. At this point, your Attendance activity has no class sessions, so click on the “Add session” tab just above the dates for the first week:

2. In the "Add session" section, enter the date and start and end times for your first class session. Please remember that Moodle uses a 24-hour (military) clock, so if your course meets in the afternoon, you'll want to select hours greater than 12:

3. You will most likely want to create sessions for the entire semester. To do that, click on the "Multiple sessions" title to expand that section. Click in the selection box to the left of "Repeat the Moodle Quick Start Guide: Recording Attendance Using the Attendance Activity Page 4 session above as follows," and then select the days of the week that your course meets. In the "Repeat until" section, select the last day of classes for the semester:

4. Once you have entered the class meeting time information, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the  button to save your changes.

5. Moodle will take you to a page that lists all of the sessions that you just created. If any of those sessions occur during a vacation (Thanksgiving Spring Break, etc.), you could click on the X icon in the "Actions" column to delete each class session that won't actually take place. Otherwise, you'll have to remember later on to mark all students as present during those non-class days.

6. Once you have added all the class sessions for the semester, you’ll want to click on the “Status set” tab at the top of the page:

7. By default, the values you can use for recording attendance are “Present” (2 points), “Excused" (1 point), “Late” (1 point), and “Absent” (0 points). You can decide to remove the Excused and Late categories or to change the way points are allocated. For example, it may not make sense to penalize a student one point for an excused absence, so you may want to change that value to 2 points. If you do make changes, you’ll need to click on the “Update” button at the bottom of the page:

8. At this point, you have finished setting up the Attendance activity, and you can use the “bread-crumb trail” to return to the main page for your course:

III. Recording Attendance

1. For each class session, you will need to keep track of attendance. To do that, click on the link in your course for the Attendance activity:

Attandance Activity

 2. You will be returned to the Attendance summary page that you saw after you first created all of your class sessions. To record attendance for your first class session, click on the blue play arrow in the Actions column at the far right of the display:

Record Attendance

3. You will be taken to an “Attendance for the course” page, with columns for the attendance categories you chose and rows for the students enrolled in the course. Usually, most students are present in class, and only a few are absent. To make recording the absences more efficient, you can click on the “P” at the top of the grid, which will mark everyone initially as “Present”:

Mark all "Present"

4. To change the setting for a student who was actually absent that day, click in the “A” radio button in that student’s row, to mark him/her absent:

5. Continue to click in the “A” radio button for all students who were absent, "E" for any student who had an excused absence, or "L" for any students who were late (if you kept those categories). When you are done, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the  button to save your changes.

6. The “Attendance for the course” page will re-appear. In the “Actions” column at the far right, in the row for the day for which you took attendance, the icon you clicked on to take attendance will now look like a green arrow, which you could click on later if you need to make changes:

Marked Attendance

7. You can use the bread-crumb trail again to return to the main page for your course.


Article ID: 293
Thu 2/27/20 1:33 PM
Mon 3/20/23 4:55 PM