Monitoring Attendance in Class – Large and Small – with Moodle and Mobiles

by Chris Fulton, Centre for Teaching and Learning Enhancement

One way to take attendance in a class is to have students answer a question in UMMoodle using their mobile phones. The advantages are:

• It saves time,
• Attendance records are saved automatically,
• Attendance records are available to the student and the instructor,
• Provides feedback on the class,
• Can facilitate class engagement for learning.

An advantage of using Moodle to take attendance is that when a student answers an attendance question on their mobile device, a record is automatically created in Moodle, which is accessible to both the student and the instructor. The attendance record for the whole class can easily be exported from Moodle to a simple report in Excel.

“In addition to being used to check attendance, the questions can also be used to stimulate student learning, assess student engagement and provide class feedback to the instructor.”

For example, a generic reusable question that checks students’ understanding can be used as the attendance question. This type of formative assessment is sometimes called an exit ticket. Examples of a short answer and multiple choice questions exit ticket questions include:

• How well did you understand today’s material? (Multiple Choice, Very well, Well, OK, Some, Not at all)
• How well did you understand XXXX? (Multiple Choice, Very well, Well, OK, Some, Not at all)
• What was the main idea discussed in today’s class? (Open Response)
• What point in today’s class would you like clarified? (Open Response)

Alternatively, the question could focus on assigned reading or problems for that day’s class (entry ticket). A summary of results from the entry or exit ticket questions can be viewed in Moodle by teachers and discussed in class.

• How well did you understand the assigned readings? (Multiple Choice)
• What was the main idea(s) in today’s reading? (Open Response)
• What is XXXX; Who is YYY. (Open Response)
• Which of the assigned problems was most difficult? (Open Response)

When a student responds to a question, regardless if the answer is correct or accurate, a mark is immediately recorded in Moodle. Moodle can be set up to display and remind each student of their attendance records by turning on completion tracking and adding a progress bar in the block function tool.

A few additional steps can be taken to prevent students from answering questions outside of the classroom. Create one question in your questionnaire in UMMoodle which asks students to write a number. Then, when students are in the classroom, give each student one piece of paper with a unique number, i.e., from 1 to 30. Students must then provide the number which is on their slip of paper when they answer the attendance questions in UMMoodle. So, no duplicate should be recorded in the questionnaire results.

When there were duplicates, I would send a message to both students with the same number asking for an explanation. That message seems to put peer pressure on students. Also, I insisted students to use the UM WiFi so that there was further evidence that they were or were not in the same classroom as other students.

The approach described here was the most effective approach my colleagues and I devised, and after implementing this approach students became aware that it would be difficult to successfully complete attendance/feedback/assessment questions if they did not attend class.

Any suggestions or comments would be most welcome.

Download the quick start guide (pdf) below to learn how to set up attendance questions for your course. After creating one question, save time by duplicating it for the other classes or sessions.

Quick Start Guide – Attendance in Classes with Mobiles and Moodle 2018

To discuss with an e-learning specialist how technology can be used to enhance your teaching practices, individuals are welcome to request an appointment with Chris Fulton.  He can be reached by email or phone at or 8822-4574. Personal assistance can also be requested using an online form at





By |2019-01-08T17:14:32+08:00September 8th, 2016|T&L Blog|0 Comments

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