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.