How Does Attendance In Distance Education Work?

How Does Attendance In Distance Education Work?
How Does Attendance In Distance Education Work?

Over the past few years, distance learning has been widely spoken about as the new method that anyone (students and parents) can attend to achieve an impressive degree.

Especially surrounding this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, remote learning has been used by many this school year, even the ones who originally attended face to face and high school lessons.

The Challenge Of Tracking Attendance

The department of education has also highly recommended that students participate in online learning platforms if their school district is in a high risk area. With its many benefits of choosing when you learn and how you learn, tracking attendance is a confusing topic for many.

How Attendance Is Monitored

Attendance is a data framework built to monitor students that are attending lectures, in this instance, virtual lectures. Having multiple absences instances, or more than 10%, the learning institution can alert tutors to notify the students and families involved.

As a learning institution (a university, school, college etc.) has to ask themselves these questions as a reference to attendance:

  • Can we reach out to the students and families?
  • Are we ensuring all of our students and families have digital access and competency?
  • Are we establishing an effective and strong relationship with the student and families?
  • Are students participating in the scheduled learning environment?

If one of these questions cannot be answered the right way, then it’s much easier to diagnose the problem and see where they’re going wrong.

How Attendance Is Tracked

The simple act of a student showing up to school was a means of a present attendance. So in this case, what would be the equivalent to turning up on an online lecture? Is it logging on to a remote portal, interacting with a teacher one-to-one, or using a special temporary code?

Each learning institution deals with this in their own right, but a fair handful of universities are going down the temporary code route.

The code is handed to the tutors before the lesson starts, in which they will give it to all of the students at the beginning of the lesson. Following this, the students must log into the learning portal, navigate to attendance and import the code there to register their attendance. As you can imagine, there are loopholes as they can import their code and do something else instead of taking part in the lecture.

It’s worth mentioning that no matter what system you use to register attendance for distant learning, there will always be a way for students to register and not be involved in the lesson. For higher education systems, it’s much easier to add consequences for doing so, but that’s more up to the student since they’re the one wanting to take the course.

There are other methods, such as doing a standard register via portal, or the traditional method of calling out names before the lesson start and tick them off on a register.

The Pandemic’s Effect

The pandemic has made many learning institutions realise that they lacked contact-information for their students and families. It is recorded that in some cases, many institutions realised that they had contact details that were outdated, or families that had suddenly moved because of lost jobs or health concerns.

On top of this, it is estimated that over 9 million U.S students do not have proper access to learning platforms to access the learning material. These trends get worse in communities in rural and low income areas where about 11 million do not have access to a computer.

COVID-19 is making it harder to learn nowadays, leaving many students in the dark and nothing to learn. It’s worse than people think and it’s important that every learning institution can provide students with learning material, or access to learning platforms online. Whilst online education is the future, society has not advanced enough for every student to study away from their typical learning area.

Marking attendance through distant courses is not much different to how you would expect, however in some circumstances, depending on the institution, there will be other methods.

What Are The Most Common Uses Of Online Education?

Learning experiences have been tinkered with significantly over the past few years to help improve student-teacher relationships, enhance memorability and even shrink the learning environment into something you can carry. It doesn’t matter where you study, schools, colleges and universities can now all be done anywhere, anytime.

Common Uses In Distance Learning

Classrooms can host online classes for online learning in a virtual environment. These lectures will include videos, puzzles, quizzes and even interactive tools to help the students enrolled. Students are enrolling to online courses more often, just because people are fascinated by these learning environments, and that you can choose when you want to learn in the comfort of your own home.

Whilst online programs require an internet connection, it’s no surprise that distance education has many uses that students use to their benefit.

Education Anywhere, Anytime

It is a known fact that during the 1990s, online courses began receiving momentum after traditional students began choosing education online rather than in the classroom

Online platforms like EdX captured the interest of a global audience bringing in diverse classrooms. Online education removed borders and made learning available to anyone, anywhere, any country.

Choice Freedom

Typically in standard classrooms, the demotivation for a lot of students is prevalent and often a step back in bright young minds. This is where online education comes in. The fact that students can choose when they want to learn in the day rather than scheduling their work around education has proven to have a positive effect on a students wellbeing.


Start learning in your bedroom, on the train or even at starbucks as online learning allows you to feel less stress on your mind by being able to choose where you want to learn, and it doesn’t even have a dress code. 

The only inconvenience distance education has is that you need an internet connection, but who doesn’t have internet nowadays?

Gain Lifetime Access To The Course

Almost all online courses offer lifetime access to the courses educational material, even the videoed lectures. No matter where you are, or how long ago you did the lecture, you are always able to go back to any point in the course and revise through, something traditional classrooms lack.

Technical Skills Increase

To say technology is increasingly becoming a significant part in all of our lives, enhancing your technical skills seems like a good idea. A lot of universities offer more advanced courses for specific areas for more expert learners to help increase their skills.

Career Switchability

One of the biggest strengths that online education loves to show, is making the option to switch careers, easier and better.

Switching careers has always been a daunting task as well, you’re moving to a completely different field. However, online education means its possible to gain a degree and study an alternative in the background, this allows an easy switch between the two fields.

Not just that, it’s possible to gain a college degree after you have finished, or wish to change your career half way through. Degrees are awarded online and fairly cheap costs for high quality standards everywhere, there are many massive open online courses available.

Whilst these benefits sound incredible, there are a few grey areas online education needs to cover. This shouldn’t down play the strength of online learning as over time, it will more than likely be the prime source of education worldwide.

The quality of online learning depends on many factors, primarily the student, because they must manage their schedule themselves. It all depends on their willingness to study, interest in the course, technological knowledge, mental health and determination to be able to qualify from the course at a high standard.

No matter what, traditional classrooms will be the infrastructure of education and will never leave any time soon. However, online learning is transforming online learning into a new normal by using the traditional classroom structure and providing a more successful education system that is so flexible, it can be moved around the student’s standard day to day life.