Attendance Monitoring

Colleges and Schools should develop realistic procedures for the monitoring of student attendance at classes which (i) facilitate the identification of students failing to engage with the programme and (ii) allow the estimation of overall student attendance as one measure of student participation. (LTA Strategy 2014)

Qwickly Attendance

Qwickly Attendance has been in use at NUI Galway since September 2016.  Qwickly Attendance integrates with Blackboard to allow staff to take attendance at the module level, and for students to keep track of the same.  Qwickly Attendance records can be downloaded for use in Excel, and staff can create a column for use in the Blackboard Grade Centre.  

Monitoring attendance has a positive impact on student engagement, especially when students can review their own attendance on Blackboard and receive emails about absences.  For information and guidance about using the Qwickly Attendance tool in Blackboard, visit the Teaching with Technology site.

Student attendance - General Principles

General Principles with regard to student attendance and engagement in programmes of study, with particular relevance to the induction experience in first year.

Students will be provided with a clear, unambiguous message about the University’s expectations in terms of successful engagement with university-level learning. This will be communicated at induction/orientation, in handbooks and appropriately referred to throughout the course of study. In student guides and support materials they may be phrased in a positive and encouraging tone, but the underlying message should be clear. All staff teaching first-year students should also be familiar with these expectations, many of which are within the University’s formal Regulations and the Learning, Teaching & Assessment Strategy. 

(1) Enrolment on a full-time programme means a commitment to 40-50 [1] hours of total student effort per week throughout all the weeks of each semester.

  • The scheduled classes (lectures, tutorials, laboratories, etc) are only one component of the total effort that is required in order to succeed.
  • Assessments and assigned coursework are designed on the basis that students are undertaking the full effort required and are not just based on material covered in scheduled class time alone.
  •  Students should make sure that they timetable in their own diaries adequate time for study, reading, coursework and revision across the semester. Success at university level is not possible through cramming at the last minute. 
  •  Such levels of engagement and activity will make it more likely that students will acquire a high level of knowledge and understanding of their chosen subjects, feel confident in their abilities and experience less stress during assessments and be better prepared for subsequent years.

(2) Enrolment on a university module or programme means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which includes attendance at all scheduled classes.

  • Attendance is not optional, but an obligatory requirement. Non-attendance may be considered de facto withdrawal from a course and students may be unable to proceed to examination or subsequent registration. It is essential that first-year students are made aware of this requirement.
  • The student grant (Student Universal Support, Ireland) scheme requires that attendance is monitored and reported on.
  • Similarly, fees are paid by the State on behalf of students on the implicit understanding that the students are fully participating in the programmes for which they are registered.
  • Many Schools and programmes already register attendance at each class and this should be continued. It is necessary, at the very least, to take attendance at key (or random) stages in the semester which can be reported for each School to Colleges and then to Academic Council. 
  • Research has shown convincingly that poor attendance results in lower levels of achievement and a higher chance of failure and withdrawal from programmes.
  • If students have any concerns regarding the quality of the teaching or learning experience in any of their scheduled classes (or other components of their modules) they should provide feedback using the various channels at their disposal (for example, module questionnaires, Class Reps, Liaison committees) so that any issues may be resolved or considered, as appropriate. Non-attendance is not a means of raising any such issues and may be interpreted, rather, as a reflection of student commitment levels.
  • Clearly, there will be extenuating circumstances faced by students from time to time, such as illness and other personal difficulties. Students in these situations should notify the appropriate person responsible for their course (this may need to be clarified in handbooks, websites, etc) so that appropriate measures can be taken.

(3) There are a number of learning supports available across the University, many of which are of relevance to all students regardless of College or year of programme.

  • All first-year students will be enrolled on to the “Learning Centre” in Blackboard. This provides self-study materials on academic writing, study skills and revision (’Skills4Study” by Palgrave Macmillan). Students should be strongly encouraged to make use of this and other linked resources.
Other supports include:
    • The Academic Writing Centre - based in the Library and supported by a team of tutors and volunteers.
    • The Maths Support Unit (SUMS) - based in Áras de Brun.
    • DISC - drop in centre for software/programming support in the IT building.
    • Training and support provided by the Library on finding, evaluating and using information effectively
    • Initiatives by the Students' Union
    • Student Services, particularly in the ’pastoral care’ dimension ( e.g., counseling, disability and student assistance fund) but also in terms of Careers advice
    • Student Contact Centre - fees, registration, exams, admissions, support offices, etc.
    • Student mentor, academic advisor or ’learning communities’ schemes in operation in some Colleges and programmes.

[1] Individual Colleges and programmes may (and do) specify their own particular detailed requirements, but 40 hours per week corresponds to the ECTS minimum for an award of 30ECTS per semester.