Psychology’s approach to engaging students and monitoring attendance

In line with the University’s approach to monitoring attendance/engagement, Psychology introduced a simple process to record attendance/engagement in classes electronically and online via students’ completion of short, password-protected quizzes on Blackboard.

The password is available only in the class (it is generally included on a slide), so that only those attending can complete it.  It may be worth highlighting to students that monitoring of attendance is supportive, not punitive, so if they share the password with absent peers they are preventing those students from receiving support that they may need.

For example, a question might be: “What is the one ‘take home message’ you’ve discovered today?”

Of course, as the object is to measure engagement, the actual answers to the quiz are less important than the fact that students answer them.  However, there is obvious benefit in encouraging students to consider what they gained from a session – and this also means that the quiz remains relevant and meaningful in its own right.  Feedback throughout the year highlighted that, as these were introduced from the first week of teaching, they quickly became an accepted and expected part of the course.

After completion, which is generally carried out towards the end of the session on students’ own devices, the responses are downloaded from Blackboard into an Excel spreadsheet.   This can then be used to populate the SOLE online register.

Daniel Farrelly created a really useful video guide for staff to use, and is happy to share this: (6m 30secs)

As with any approach, Daniel advises having a backup method (eg. an online ‘sign-in’ sheet) in case of any problems, although this worked very effectively last year.

Daniel also advises considering the following:

    • Will the type of quiz be consistent or can it vary (eg. short answer, multiple choice)?
    • Will the quiz be based on content from the current or previous sessions?

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