Many instructors use attendance as part of a student’s overall grade in their courses. Blackboard now has an integrated tool that can make it easy to track student attendance. In this post, we’ll discuss how to use the basic functions of the attendance tool, though it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to use this feature or prefer other attendance-taking tools (or none at all). 

Accessing Attendance

To access the attendance tool, navigate to Course Tools and then to Attendance. From there, you will click the button that says “Add Attendance.” If you are unsure about whether or not you want to use this feature, DO NOT CLICK. Once you click, a column is created in the gradebook that cannot be deleted (though it can be hidden). If you ARE sure you want to use this tool, go ahead and click. 

Setting Things Up 

After you’ve opted in to Attendance, you’ll need to complete the setup to use it. 

During this setup process, you can change the default settings for how grades display and for what counts as Late in the grade schema. However, you can’t change the percentages for Present, Absent, and Excused. Excused counts as Present when calculating grades, but you can choose to exclude any Excused entries if that is your preference.

After you’ve made your selections, save your settings. An attendance column should now appear in the gradebook.

You can make changes to your grading schema at any time. Simply access the Settings panel, save, and then refresh your gradebook.

Adding Attendance Records 

Attendance can be viewed in either Meeting or Overall view. The default setting is Meeting, which will be the current day you are trying to take attendance.

Meeting View

In the Meeting view, you can either input each student’s attendance individually or assign one status to all students. Don’t worry if it takes you a minute to input the values–your work is saved as you go. If you need to add attendance for a different day, use the Previous Meeting and Next Meeting arrows.

Overall View

In the Overall view, you’ll be able to see additional attendance information, including attendance history and class statistics. You can mark student attendance individually in this view as you would in the Meeting view but you can also make a range of bulk changes including marking attendance or clearing it. Additionally, you can exempt, delete, or edit any class meeting, including changing the date.

The Overall view is also where you can add a class meeting. To add a new meeting, you will select the plus icon next to an existing column.

The Overall column displays each student’s current cumulative attendance grad and it cannot be edited. The score in this column is based on a 100 point scale. If you click on an individual student name you can see (though no edits can be made in this view) a more detailed summary of their attendance record.

Export Attendance Records

Need to export student attendance data? Not a problem! Go to the Overall view then select Export. Your attendance will download as a CSV file.

View Attendance in the Grade Center

Once you have completed the setup process for attendance, you’ll have an attendance column that appears in the Grade Center. You can perform most of the same actions on the attendance column as other columns in the Grade Center. To make changes to the settings for the attendance column, use the Edit Column menu.

Important Note: You can make changes to a student’s overall attendance grade in the Grade Center column. However, these changes will not reflect on the individual meetings that you marked through the attendance tool. This means that your attendance records and the student’s overall grade can be in conflict. It is always recommended that any changes that need to be made to the attendance record be made in the individual meetings.

Using Attendance on a Mobile Device

You can use your phone or tablet to mark attendance–you don’t have to use a laptop. When accessing attendance on a mobile device, you will have access to a smaller view of attendance that displays one meeting at a time. You will still be able to use bulk statuses and as you mark students, those remaining will move to the top of list. You can move between sessions by using the Previous Meeting and Next Meeting arrows.

Student View of Attendance

How can students know what their current attendance score is? Students can view their attendance from their My Grades pages.

Taking Attendance in Collaborate Ultra

DId you know that you can also take attendance in Collaborate? Learn more about the Attendance Feature in Collaborate

Questions on using Blackboard Attendance? Send us an email at