Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

About the 'Student Attendance' system

What does the new attendance system do?

‘Student Attendance’ is an online system to record and report on student attendance at timetabled learning activities. Note that the system name appears to students as 'My Attendance'. 

This system allows students to register their own attendance by 'checking in' at the beginning of learning activities. This covers all activities timetabled in Syllabus+, whether in-person or online. Staff can also check students in – either to assist students who don’t have access to a device, or for events where they want to double-check which students are present.

The system displays students' attendance history via a few simple tables and graphs. This is visible to the student themselves, and to academic and PS staff connected to that student’s course or programme.

Staff can see combined attendance data for students on their courses and programmes. They will also have access to useful reporting on this attendance data via Power BI.

Why is the University introducing this new system?

Our primary purpose is to better support students’ wellbeing. We know that a student’s attendance and engagement with their studies can be a key indicator of where they may be struggling and need support. By giving every School across the University the ability to easily record and report on attendance in a consistent way, we hope it will be easier for staff to proactively offer support to students who may need it.

The system should also save time and resource in administering attendance, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks – which is especially important during this extremely busy time.

Access to better reporting on attendance will help us meet the requirements of various different bodies (e.g. UKVI) and inform future planning decisions, such as how we use teaching spaces.

Has the system been tested with staff and students?

Yes. A number of staff and students from different Schools helped us develop and test the system. Our student testers were extremely positive – they said they found the system effective and easy to use, and thought it would be beneficial to both students and staff. The majority of our staff testers agreed it was more effective than other attendance systems they had used, and several highlighted that they thought it would save significant time for PS staff in their area.

What accessibility standards was the system tested against?

The system was tested against accessibility requirements during its development - it meets the same accessibility standards as My Manchester.

Does this system change any attendance requirements in place on my programme?

No. Introducing this system will not change any attendance requirements or policies currently in place on your programme. This is just a tool to help you more easily and effectively record attendance, to ensure your local requirements and policies are being met and help you better support students.

In our student communications about the new system we will make it clear that this does not change their attendance requirements, to avoid confusion.

Our programme has DASS-registered students with attendance recommendations in their support plans, does this system change that?

Using the 'Student Attendance' system will not change the attendance requirements or recommendations in place for any student. This includes those who are registered with DASS, where attendance may be part of their support plan. All local teams will contact their DASS-registered students in advance of implementing the system, to ask if they have any queries or may require additional support when the system comes into use.

How are Student Attendance and Student 360 linked?

Student 360 plans to combine data from a number of different systems to produce a more holistic view of taught students. Phase 1 of Student 360 focuses on creating a broader picture of student engagement and will bring together data from three systems: Student Attendance, Podcasting and VLE (Blackboard). This will allow data to be analysed in new ways to help enhance the quality of our teaching, provide a transformative student experience and allow students to realise their potential.

How the system works

Can I see a preview or demonstration of the system?

Our training page has links to two videos which will show you how the system works. Further help and support this will be available to you as the system rolls out in your area.

Will I and my students be trained in how to use the system?

The engagement monitoring home page has links to further information about the system and training videos, if you want to find out more before the system comes to your programme.

When the system rolls out in your area, all involved colleagues (academic and PS) and students will be fully briefed by your local team. You'll have access to support if you have queries or issues with the system.

We’ve designed the system to be simple and user-friendly – our student testers confirmed that they found it easy to use, so we’re hopeful that students will adapt to it quickly.

We’ll ask you and your students for feedback once you've been using the system for a while, and we’ll work to continually improve it. This is just the beginning of a larger project to improve student experience, by improving how we collect and use student engagement data in all areas of the University.

How will I access the system?

You can navigate to Student Attendance via My Manchester (you will need to login first) using a smartphone, tablet or computer. We suggest that you don't try to access the system until it rolls out in your area, when you will have access to further information and support.

You can also add a shortcut to the attendance system on your device(s), so it's quicker and easier to access:

On a laptop/ PC: Navigate to the attendance system in your web browser and add a bookmark as you normally would.

On a smartphone / tablet: On both Android and iOS devices you can add a shortcut icon on your home screen that will go directly to the attendance system, so you can access it quickly and easily. This will appear just like the icons you use to open apps. The guides linked below show you how to do this in different operating systems and web browsers.

Add a shortcut on an Android device using Google Chrome

Add a shortcut on an Android device using Firefox

Add a shortcut on an iOS device using Safari

How will the system record student attendance?

Students will 'check in' at the start of timetabled activities to register their attendance. The attendance system will automatically display all learning activities timetabled in Syllabus+, whether in-person or online.

If you do not want an activity to appear in the attendance system (because it is optional or you do not wish to register attendance for it), you can exclude it by adding the "attend exclude" tag in S+. Please refer to the timetabling team for training on how to do this.

Staff will be able to see all the activity attendees and their check-in status on a 'digital register', where they can make changes to the check-ins if necessary.

Both the student check-in and the digital register can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Which activities will be available in the system to record attendance? Will I have to add my own activities, such as lectures and seminars?

As long as your learning activities (such as lectures, seminars and labs) are timetabled and programmed in our timetabling system (Syllabus Plus), they will show in the Student Attendance system automatically. Any activity which shows on your personal timetable will appear in the system. If an activity is missing, speak to your School’s timetabling staff who will be able to add it for you.

You can also add small non-timetabled activities manually to Student Attendance if you’d like to record attendance. This might include a census point for Tier 4 students, or an impromptu meeting between a student and their project supervisor. Large activities should be timetabled in Syllabus Plus.

What if an activity is optional and we do not want to monitor attendance for it?

It is important to maintain as complete a picture as possible in the attendance system. However if an activity is purely optional, then you can make changes in Syllabus+ to prevent the activity being passed to the attendance system. Please contact the timetabling team, who will be able to advise you further.

How do I know that students who checked in were actually present?

For learning activities where attendance is mandatory or you want to be certain which students were present, the staff member leading the activity can use the ‘digital register’ to see the check-in status of all activity attendees and change any if necessary. Students cannot override or change staff entries in the register.

The system has been designed to help students and we are emphasising this to them. We believe the majority will use it honestly and responsibly. If we do identify issues with use of the attendance system, we will work with local teams to address these.

If students notify staff that they're going to be absent, can we record this?

If your course or programme requires students to notify staff when they will be absent, you can register these ‘notified absences’ in the Student Attendance system so they are properly recorded.

How do I see and report on attendance using this system?

Within the system, students’ attendance history is displayed via a few simple tables and graphs. Students can see their own attendance history, and staff can see attendance history for students on their programmes and their academic advisees. Staff will have access to a number of standard reports, and we will work with local teams to provide additional specific reports as needed by individual programmes. Staff will also be able to download attendance datasets from the system, if they wish to do their own analysis or reporting.

Does the system show historic attendance records?

Student Attendance will only show attendance data that was registered within this system. It will not show attendance history recorded using other systems.

What if my students' attendance is incorrect or showing as zero?

As of April 2021, the system is in a 'pilot phase' with only a small number of programmes.

If your programme is not part of this pilot phase, the system will not accurately reflect your students' attendance. You and your students do not have to access or use the system until it rolls out in your area (your programme team will notify you before this happens). 

If your programme is part of the pilot phase, the system will only reflect student attendance for the teaching activities during the pilot period - not for the whole year. If you still have questions or think your students' attendance is wrong, contact your programme team for help.

Who will use it and when

Which programmes and students will use this system, and when will they start using it?

This system is designed to record attendance for students whose programmes include timetabled taught activities – primarily undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.

In spring 2021 we tested the system on a small number of courses, to see how it works in practice and identify any issues. We are now aiming to roll the system out across more programmes from September 2021. The aim is that eventually as many programmes as possible will use the system.

Will postgraduate research students use the system?

This system is primarily designed to register attendance for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students, as it is based on timetabled activities. However if postgraduate research students have timetabled commitments and their School or programme team identifies that they could benefit from recording attendance, they could use this system to do that.

Do I, or my students, have to start using the system now?

The attendance system is rolling out gradually across the University - staff and students will be notified by their local team before the system is introduced on your programme. You and your students will be fully briefed, trained and provided with support before you start using the system to record and monitor attendance (see the FAQs about training for further details).

When will my School / programme start using the system?

The Engagement Monitoring project team is working collaboratively with local leadership teams and representatives to determine how and when to roll out the system in different areas. We’d like to work with many areas and eventually see the system implemented on as many programmes as possible – this will help us deliver the benefits to staff and students across the University.

Questions and further information

Where can I find out more about the system?

If you go back to the engagement monitoring homepage, you'll find lots of information and videos about the system. When the system starts rolling out in your area, you'll also have access to further information and support from your local team.

What should I do if students ask me about the system?

Students can find general information and training about the system on the Welcome site. If you get any enquiries that this site or your local team can’t answer, please direct them to studentexperienceprogramme@manchester.ac.uk. Note that the system appears to students as 'My Attendance', so they may refer to it using this name.