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Taking class attendance


I have always wanted to find out what ways university lecturers have used to ensure class attendance. This is a question for both the lecturers and students as well as ex-students.

Obviously, different universities in different countries have different ways of ensuring class attendance. I remember one of my friend who teaches at a college told me that he once told his students he is not bothered with class attendance since he will only teach those who are interested to attend and listen to his lecturers. The next day, only 5 showed up out of 40 registered students. Shocked by this (probably thinking that the students will take responsibility to attend), he changed his method and made it compulsory to all students to attend.

But even then, how do you ensure that students will attend your class, especially the lazy ones? I have seen some lecturers assigning some percentage of the score to class attendance. When I was an undergrad, my lecturer would distribute a sheet of paper in the class of about 100 students and the students would write their names and signature. Or a printed paper with names distributed and students just tick their names. The problem is that those who are absent get their friends to tick or write their names, making such a method officially uneffective.

So, I would like to know how you as a lecturer solve this class attendance problem (if it is a problem since depending on university and country, not all may have such problems). What creative ways or methods have you used?

And to the students and ex-students, what methods have your lecturers used/employed that you think has been effective in curbing problems with class attendance?
If the teachers are doing their job right, they will make the subject so interesting you will want to attend.

And that way you learn more, even if it isn't your prfered subject.

To many times I have seen tutors teaching from the 'book' instead and this is boring and very uninteresting.

All subjects can be fun to learn if taught in this way.

A teacher must realy understand his subject and it's connection to other subjects and, especialy, to life.
If he does then he can teach, otherwise we all may as well buy books and stay at home.
I've had many classes that had attendance in the marking scheme. Some hand out sheets to sign (which isn't hard to get around) and others where the prof says he remembers and assigns a score. I tested it out one time. I had a class that always fell during a time when I played baseball in a league. I wasn't interested in the class and didn't go. I showed up only for the mid-term and a class that I had to present a project in. I was given a 7/10 for attendance, probably the lowest mark he would give.

I had another class where you had to write out your comments for the class and were marked on that. It was a pretty good idea because even the shy people could do well. But it ended up being kind of lame. To get a good mark you had to throw in some BS.
The uni I went has made the attendance contributes some points for the overall mark and as well as weekly tasks. This way probably is another way to "push" students to attend the class. And, the mark is updated weekly to give feedback to students how well they are doing and how many marks have been gathered
Use student ID cards to mark attendances.
My school had each student swipe their college ID magnetic cards over a scanner every class.

Also, the class has to be interesting enough for student to 'want' to attend class.
We have our traditional weekly quizzes, pop quizzes, and lecture handouts that must be turned in at the end of class.

We also have iClickers for some of our bigger classes (300-400 students). These are remote controls that students use to answer questions (there's a sensor placed somewhere in the room) throughout lecture. iClickers lets the instructor know what students understand and have problems with in lecture. Unfortunately, they're expensive and the technology is difficult to implement (it took 2 semesters for the biology department here to get the kinks out of the system).

You can also draw exams from lecture and not the textbook. That way, students will NEED to go to lecture to do well on the exams. Copying lecture notes to understand the material only works for some people.
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