I gave a short demonstration on Bb Attendance this morning as part of a session hosted by our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. I'm the Senior Instructional Technologist at the University of Northern Iowa. Four faculty who used Bb Attendance this semester (Fall 2018) also participated, sharing their perspectives on Bb Attendance. We had a great turnout and good discussion. The four who've been using Bb Attendance gave very positive feedback, particularly noting how they love the transparency with students this provides. Additionally, a couple of ideas came to my mind for enhancing the Bb Attendance tool as a result of this conversation and another idea was suggested by a colleague when I was talking with him after the session. These ideas include:
- Adding a notes feature within the Attendance tool that would allow them to make a note as to why a student was marked as they were for the associated day. One location in Attendance that would make sense to provide access to this feature would be in the Overall view in each students' cell that indicates whether they are present, absent, late or excused. It would be nice to also have access to it in the Meeting view. And it would be important for these notes to show up in the students' "Grade Pill" (sidebar report that pops up when a student's name is clicked in the Attendance tool).
- Incorporate an "exit card" feature into the Bb Attendance tool. As explained on https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-strategies/exit-cards, "Exit cards require students to respond to questions or prompts on a piece of paper that they will pass in to you before they leave class. These cards provide you with immediate information that you can use to assess students’ understanding, monitor their questions, or gather feedback on your teaching. For students, exit cards serve as a content review at the end of a daily lesson and enhance their metacognitive skills."
Exit cards can also be used in large classes to assist instructors in knowing who was present in class that session. So my thinking is there could be some sort of text box submission process associated with the Attendance tool, which students could access on their mobile device. Instructors would need to be able to give cues in class on what the student should write about at the end of the class period and set adaptive release to lock out students after class (so students couldn't tell someone who wasn't there after leaving the classroom).
- Incorporate a feature within the Bb Attendance tool which would allow the instructor to automatically generate a unique QR code each day attendance is taken. The Bb student app would then need to be used to scan the QR code during the time it was displayed on screen in class and they would automatically be recorded as present. This would free up a considerable amount of time for instructors, particularly those in very large classes. (This idea was share with me by a another educational technologist, Jason Vetter).
Thanks for your consideration!
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