Attendance Tracking in Elentra
Elentra supports taking attendance at learning events multiple ways.
- Having faculty or staff check off who is/is not present
- Having learners swipe an id card (kiosk mode)
- Having learners mark themselves present or absent
- Having learners mark themselves present using geolocation checking
- Having learners send a text message to confirm attendance (additional tool, Twilio, required).
Elentra also includes an Absence Management module that allows learners to request an absence and have staff or faculty approve the request as needed; using Absence Management alone won't confirm which learners are present at an event, only those that are absent. You can pair the use of the Absence Management module with other attendance tracking tools to also record who is present for events.
Whichever type of attendance tracking you choose to use for Learning Events, remember that most attendance tracking in Elentra is per event. That means if you have four back-to-back one hour sessions and all have required attendance, your users will be repeating whichever attendance taking method you use 4 times.
Many schools are concerned about learner honesty when it comes to self-reporting attendance. Remember to speak with your student affairs team or a similar group to understand what attendance policies or guidelines are in place and how that might impact what information needs to be recorded in Elentra. While some of the attendance options include safeguards against misuse, if a learner is committed to skipping class, they will likely find a way around the technology.
Sample Attendance Page
Using this option the teacher or event administrator can record who is present or absent.
If you use geolocation attendance tracking and a learner has recorded their presence, then an event administrator clicks 'Mark all as absent', the learner self-recorded information will be overwritten. Previously entered geo-location attendance taking can be viewed in the Event History tab if needed.
Kiosk mode allows learners to swipe their school ids to complete the attendance record for the event. To use kiosk mode your organization must set up some hardware and link it to Elentra to record attendance.
Any ISO 3 track magnetic card reader should be able to support for Kiosk Mode. Barcode scanners or RFID readers should work as well, as long as the result from the scan is the staff/student number in Elentra. Magnetic card readers are readily available and can be as inexpensive as $20.
If you use kiosk mode, consider setting up multiple stations where learners can swipe their school ids. This can help increase the speed with which all learners swipe in to the event.
Once attendance kiosk mode has been configured it is easy to use. From an event page, event administrators go to the Attendance tab and click 'Kiosk Mode'. Learners swipe their id and their presence is recorded.
New in ME 1.25!
Database system settings are required to use this feature (self_recorded_attendance_enabled AND absence_enabled). You may also optionally use self_recorded_attendance_days_limit and self_recorded_auto_approve_absence to configure the tool to your needs.
This allows learners to mark themselves as having attended an event or request an absence via the event page. This is an optional feature and needs database settings to be enabled by a developer (self_recorded_attendance_enabled AND absence_enabled).
A prerequisite for using the learner self-record attendance option is to configure absences reasons in the absence management module. Learners are required to select a reason if they log an absence and therefore you must have entered some reasons for them to select from.
With the required database settings enabled, an additional attendance option will appear on a Learning Event Setup tab in the Event Options section:
Enabling learner self-recorded attendance on a Learning Event Setup tab
With this option enabled, once the event has started, users in the event audience will have the option to mark their own attendance/absence from the learning event page 'Mark Attendance' button. By default they have until the end of the event plus 7 days to mark their attendance (this can be modified via the database setting ‘self_recorded_attendance_days_limit’). After the time limit is reached, the self-record attendance option will no longer be visible.
After clicking 'Mark Attendance' learners will be able to enter their attendance for the event, define a reason for an absence, and optionally provide a comment.
After they submit their attendance, the event will display their submitted information both on the learner's event page and in the Event Attendance page accessible to event facilitators.
Viewing self-reported absence on Event Attendance page
By default, requesting an absence through an event will require approval via the Absence Management module. If you would prefer that all absence requests receive auto-approval, the database setting ‘self_recorded_auto_approve_absence' needs to be enabled. This can be useful if you don’t plan on actively monitoring the absence management dashboard.
This self-record attendance feature makes no changes to the Absence Management dashboard.
Allow learners to confirm their attendance at events by marking themselves as present and feel confident they are being truthful by checking their physical location at the time of confirming attendance.
A database system setting is required to use this feature (location_attendance_active).
This feature relies on organizations entering longitude and latitude coordinates for their buildings in Admin > System Settings > Locations. Make sure you have done this before expecting learners to mark themselves present.
You must also enable Location Attendance Taking on each event where learners will be expected to confirm their attendance. Do this on the Setup tab of the event in the Event Options section.
Event Setup Tab Event Options Section
When learners access the event they will be able to click a button to say "Mark Attendance."
Learner view of Event Details to Mark Attendance
They will be prompted to consent to sharing their location information by clicking Allow.
Learner consenting to share location
Their attendance will be confirmed or rejected based on their location.
Geolocation tracking can not distinguish a user's altitutde. As such, it is possible for a learner to be on the ground floor of a building and mark themself as attended at an event on the fifth floor. It is recommend to refer such behaviour to your professionalism body.
This option allows learners to mark themselves present via text message using a code distributed during a learning event.
- 1.Your Elentra installation needs
twilio_enabledto be active. Speak to a developer about enabling the setting.
- 3.Learners need to provide their contact information in their user profile. Their numbers will be verified by Twillio.
Elentra has been integrated with Twillio, allowing learners to send SMS message with an event code (generated during the event, by the faculty member), which will automatically mark the learner in attendance to the event.
- 1.Create a Twillio account, specifically you want the Programmable Messaging service
- 2.Create a phone number in your Twillio account
- 3.Your developers need to modify Elentra's
config.inc.phpfile and add in the details provided by Twillio, including the phone number
Once that's setup, people teaching an event can enable SMS mode on the attendance page of an event.
SMS Mode Attendance screen
- Teachers enter a timeframe (in minutes) for how long learners can mark their attendance.
- Teachers click Generate Code. After the code is generated, teachers share the code and destination phone number with learners.
- Learners text the code to the number provided.
- After texting the code to the provided phone number the learner's attendance will be updated to present.
Sample SMS Code and prompt screen
You can download a CSV of learner attendance per event (blank or after completion) using the Download CSV button at the bottom of the Attendance page.