As we have described throughout this Knowledge Base, Genius can be used to support courses that are delivered as fully online learning experiences, or potentially as blended or fully onsite, instructor-led opportunities. When you have synchronous learning opportunities (courses where the learners and the instructor meet at a designated time and place to discuss course material), you may want to take attendance as part of your criteria to evaluate a learner’s commitment to the course material.
The attendance function lets you designate the meeting times or lesson numbers for face-to-face course-Sections. The Instructor can record physical attendance within Genius, and run reports against attendance over time.
In this Article, we describe how to set up the Attendance functionality included with Genius. We begin by teaching you how to create meeting times, then we describe how to log attendance events and run Reports around Attendance using the functionality included with Genius.
Setting up Attendance in Genius
Creating Meeting Times in your Sections
For the Attendance functionality included with Genius to work, you first need to set up meeting times or lessons to your Sections. As we described in this article[link: courses and sections], courses are ‘abstract’ structures, while sections are ‘concrete’ instances of a course that a Learner can actually complete and engage with. You cannot define meeting times for a course, but you can define them at the Section level, allowing you to define distinct Meeting Times for each and every Section in your learning initiative.
To create a Meeting Time, click on the Sections tab. Find the section you want to add meeting times to, and then click on it. You should see the section’s Profile. To edit the information in the profile, click on the Edit Information menu item on the Sidebar of your section of interest:
Click on Add a meeting time, and a floating window will appear allowing you to choose a day of the week and a start and end time for the section’s meeting times. For example, we can choose this section to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week from 9 AM to 11 AM, as shown in the example above:
Add as many meeting times as you want, and then click on Save before you leave the Edit Information window to make sure that your changes are saved.
Logging Attendance once Running
Now that you have created meeting times for your section, it is time to log or enter your learner’s attendance records into Genius. To do this, you (or your Instructors) should head out to the Attendance tab. Click on the Attendance tab, and then select the section you want to take attendance for. Genius will then display the date for which attendance will be taken under the ‘Day’ drop-down menu item:
By default, Genius includes the following attendance records:
- Excused Absence
- Unexcused Absence
This process has to be completed for each Section for which Meeting Times have been defined, and for each Meeting Time defined for each section.
By setting the default Administrator Parameter (DEFAULT_ATTENDANCE_TYPE), Genius will automatically assign an attendance status for each learner at each meeting time defined for each Section. You can use this to minimize the ‘busy work’ that needs to be done by your instructors when taking attendance. For example, if in your experience, most learners actually attend their assigned classes, you can set the DEFAULT_ATTENDANCE_TYPE parameter to “Present”, allowing your Instructors to focus only on exceptions (learners who are not present for class). If the converse is true, and most of your learners are expected to be no-shows, you can set this parameter to be ‘Unexcused Absence’ and then have your instructors focus on the learners who did, in fact, show up for the lesson at the designated time, date and place.
What do the different Attendance statuses mean?
As outlined above, Genius will allow you to define an attendance status for each learner and each meeting time defined for each section. The statuses you can choose from in Genius are described in the following table:
|Present||Learner is marked in attendance|
|Excused Absence||Learner is marked absent, but the absence was excused|
|Unexcused Absence||Learner is marked absent, but the absence was not excused/approved|
|Exempt||Learner is exempt from the attendance policy|
The status you define for each learner at each meeting time will serve as inputs for the Attendance reports, described in detail in the section below.
Running Reports vs. Attendance
Finally, you will want to run Reports around your learner’s Attendance habits. You can find the Attendance reports included with Genius under the Attendance tab in the Sidebar. Reports can be run by:
- Learner, showing all attendance records associated with a specific Learner across all the sections in which a particular learner is enrolled in;
- Section, showing all the attendance records associated for a specific Section (instance of a course) across all Learners.
- Affiliation, showing the attendance records of all Learners grouped under a specific Affiliation across all Sections they are enrolled in.
These reports can be limited to a specific date range, as you will typically find that the number of entries for Attendance can be very large. This allows you to quickly find whether or not a learner attended his or her assigned learning within a specified date range.