Tips on 'how to' take attendance?

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novusmagister:
Between 40 and 50 students.

cc_alan:
Quote from: novusmagister on January 15, 2013,  1:02:29 AM

Between 40 and 50 students.


Hmm. My classes are capped at 30 and I also use a seating chart. You wrote that you take attendance at the beginning of class. Is it possible to move it to a time during the period that's more convenient for you? I usually wait until they are working on something and then I'll quickly scan the room and mark any absences on my seating chart.

Alan

novusmagister:
My classes used to be about 30 students until some changes were made in my college a few years back and the seating chart worked quite well for that size. However with more than 40 students, there are some difficulties with this.

corny:
My survey courses (35 students) are also discussion-based. I hand out little slips of paper for students to fill out each day with their name, a brief summary of their contributions to the day's discussion, and any followup questions or comments they have. It makes it much easier for me to keep track of who has contributed to the discussion, especially early in the semester when I'm still learning their names. I also like to believe that it encourages them to become more self-aware about what they're contributing to class. (To that end, I sometimes ask them to assign themselves a participation grade as well.)

The downside is that alphabetizing, reading (or even glancing at), and recording grades for all those little sheets does take more time than just checking off names on a sheet and then recording that. But it does prevent the long, boring reading of names at the beginning of class, and it's really, really helpful if you're grading for participation (or at least it is for me).

coldandcallous:
I've done in-class assignments similar to what systeme_d and corny describe, and I've found the assignments work well. (I also use them in lieu of taking attendance, but that's another thread.)

I gauge response in the actual class session to determine how closely to read the responses. When we have good discussion and things move along as I expect, I read them quickly. If it seems like the students are struggling, have a slow or disjointed discussion, etc., then I usually take a little longer to read them.

Most of the assignments are graded pass/fail. (Students who write something relevant get the points.) Others, I read and give brief (very brief) feedback.

Since I don't do them every session, the grading isn't particularly onerous.

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