[this text is hidden]


Using the Attendance Tool (Roll Call)

Hands raised

Canvas includes two built-in Attendance tools, one of which can be used to easily record and track classroom attendance.

NOTE: The Attendance tool is not active by default, and must be enabled by the instructor.

Enable the Attendance tool

  1. Go to Settings > Navigation, find Attendance in the list of menu items
  2. Click the gear icon, then click Enable (or drag up into active menu items)
  3. Click Save to save changes

Configure the Attendance tool

The first time the instructor accesses the Attendance tool, you will be asked to “Authorize” it.

A new 100-point Assignment (Roll Call Assignment) is created.  This assignment MUST be edited:

  1. Go to Assignments
  2. Click the assignment Roll Call Attendance
  3. Click Edit Assignment Settings
    (DO NOT edit the Assignment name or point value)
  4. Select the option Do not count this assignment towards the final grade
  5. Click Save

Use the Attendance tool

  1. Click Attendance in the Course Menu
  2. Indicate student attendance as needed.

    Attendance tool example

Things to know:

  • The Attendance tool is not visible in the Course Menu to students.  Students can view their current rate of attendance on the Grades page:
    How do I view Roll Call Attendance as a student?
  • If you use weighted grading, the “Roll Call Attendance” assignment can be placed in an assignment Group worth 0% of the grade.
  • To hide attendance from students, unpublish the “Roll Call Attendance” assignment, or disable the Attendance tool.
  • If attendance is recorded in Canvas, there is no need to export or submit attendance records at the end of the term.

Faculty may not grade on attendance, only participation.


See the Canvas Guides:

10 thoughts on “Using the Attendance Tool (Roll Call)”

    • The Roll Call (Attendance) feature is not utilized in the current Canvas or Canvas SpeedGrader apps. However there is new version of the Canvas app coming out soon and we will inquire if this functionality will be included. Note that since the Attendance tool is browser based, you can always use your mobile device’s web browser to use this feature, albeit it less than optimal.

  1. The Canvas Teacher app does include this feature FYI. Do you know if you could mark attendance for multiple sessions on the same day. For example my course has lab sessions and lecture sessions that meet on the same day. It would be great to program in your schedule into the attendance tool. Thanks!

    • Mike,
      As far as I know, the Attendance tool only records student attendance per day, as a single entry. It does recognized different sections combined into a single Canvas course, but I don’t think this would address the scenario you suggest.

  2. One more question. If we use attendance tool. Is there a way to export it at the end of the semester so that we can turn it in to our department secretaries. Or, much like how we do grades now, if it is within Canvas we are good to go and hope that it can be extracted one day if needed.


    • Mike,
      There is an Export function in the Attendance tool, available by clicking the gear icon, then ‘Attendance Report.’ The report is simply an extensive CSV file. As for whether or not this needs to be submitted to the department, I’m not sure. I have never been able to get a clear answer from the Office of Instruction on the specific requirements for faculty attendance reporting. If you do, please let us know!

  3. While students cannot see the attendance menu item they can see the “roll call attendance” in the grade center unless you mute it. Might be good to add that to this page for others to benefit from.

    • Hi Mike,

      Many instructors choose to leave the ‘Attendance’ item displayed, to show students their current rate of attendance (although it can be misleading to have that included with grades).

      I’ve added some information regarding student visibility of the item, and a note on how to hide it. Thanks!

  4. One more comment. When editing the details of attendance “assignment”. One should not change the name of the assignment. It needs to be the default name of “Roll Call Attendance”. If you change the name like I did to “lab attendance” the tool no longer knows where to put the attendance data so it created a new assignment with the default settings: 100 pts and included in grade book calculations.



Leave a Comment