Tips on 'how to' take attendance?

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marigolds:
My classes are between 19-40 most of the time. I use all of these (the short quiz at the beginning of class which jump-starts discussion after; the seating chart; calling of the roll on the first couple of days to learn names; and the check-them-off-while-they-work-on-things method.)

When I was TA-ing for a large class I sent around a sign-in sheet every day with one column for them to print their name and one column headed "Signature (Honor Code violation to sign another student in)." I figure that way had several benefits: they had access to only that day's sheet, so couldn't change earlier attendance records; I had two samples of their handwriting to compare if I suspected that they signed another student in; and if they DID sign someone else in with the warning staring in their face, I had a record that they knew the consequences.

fishprof:
I have notecards with students names on them that I flip though during lecture as I ask questions.  If they aren't there, I record the date.  I don't always get through the deck in one class, but they can't/don;t know that.

I also don't have an attendance policy (miss all you like, you'll only fail yourself), but they act as if I do, because of the cards (which is where I track smart points as well - see Jedi Mind Tricks Thread)

opsman:
A number of you have mentioned that you have courses capped at 30 - 40 students. I assume this is because you teach fairly rigorous topics in the STEM disciplines, but if not I wanted to ask if this is a widespread practice?

We have classrooms that seat either 45, 66, or 80 students, and we are required to maintain a minimum enrollment cap at 75% classroom utilization (i.e., 34 - 60 students depending on classroom size). So a typical class size for us is on the order of 55 - 65 students, with some of our courses actually hitting the 80 seat max.

melba_frilkins:
Quote from: opsman on January 20, 2013,  4:27:28 PM

A number of you have mentioned that you have courses capped at 30 - 40 students. I assume this is because you teach fairly rigorous topics in the STEM disciplines, but if not I wanted to ask if this is a widespread practice?




The type and size of institution can make the most difference there. For example, the same freshman Intro to X course could see a cap of 30-40 at one school and in the hundreds at another.

infopri:
I have always taken roll at the start of class for at least the first two weeks, mostly to learn their names/faces and partly to send the message that attendance is required (although it's also in the syllabus).  After I knew all the names/faces, I started using a sign-in sheet.  It wasn't hard to see when two people were signed in with the same handwriting (even if it was disguised on one of the lines).  Lately (the past year or two) I've just been taking the roll, although, again, I learn the names/faces quickly, which means I can just look around and make a present/absent mark on my roster, rather than take the time to actually call the names.  (I do call out names of the absentees, to make sure that they really aren't there, rather than that I just didn't notice them.)

Quote from: marigolds on January 18, 2013,  1:19:41 PM

When I was TA-ing for a large class I sent around a sign-in sheet every day with one column for them to print their name and one column headed "Signature (Honor Code violation to sign another student in)."


I used to have them sign a blank piece of paper, but that created work for me, as the names weren't in alpha order (and my gradebook was).  I quickly learned to print out a roster (with just their names) and have them sign next to their printed name.  I had the current date at the top.  The next class, I'd print it out again, with the new current date (easy as pie in Excel), and do it again.

Quote from: opsman on January 20, 2013,  4:27:28 PM

A number of you have mentioned that you have courses capped at 30 - 40 students. I assume this is because you teach fairly rigorous topics in the STEM disciplines, but if not I wanted to ask if this is a widespread practice?


I am in a highly interdisciplinary field, and thus it overlaps with a part of the STEM world--but my field is not itself really a STEM field.  My classes these days are usually capped.  My grad class is usually capped at either 24 or 30, even though I'm teaching it online, because that's a good class size, pedagogically, for the material.  My undergrad face-to-face classes are capped at 25 because they need to use lab computers, and that's how many we have.  In the past, though, in classes that had both undergrads (seniors) and master's students, I've had as many as about 40 or 45.  I've never had the huge lecture-hall classes some of you describe, although back in the day that was mostly because of my luck of the draw.  (They had enough people to teach those big classes, and I was the only one or the only one of two who could teach the smaller, more specialized classes.)

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