Class Attendance Privacy Tips

Faculty are responsible for determining whether attendance tracking is necessary for their seminar(s) / lecture(s) / lab(s) etc.

If attendance tracking is required:

  • collect only the minimum amount of information needed to confirm a student’s presence using the most privacy sensitive manner appropriate to the situation; and,
  • advise students that their attendance is being recorded and identify the purpose for recording this information.

When taking attendance faculty must be privacy aware, especially if using a written list that students may view or photograph. This means that a student’s full name and/or full student ID number should not be provided to, or, visible to other students; a student’s attendance (their presence or absence) should not be easily viewed by others.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of methods that could be used to track student attendance while protecting students’ right(s) to privacy:

  • Have students sign-in on a blank sheet using their first name OR last name in addition to the last four digits of their student ID number (this is particularly helpful when you have several students with the same name). Ideally this list would reside with, or near, the faculty member and is not passed from student to student;
  • Faculty approach students individually to record their attendance, or alternately, students may approach the faculty when they arrive to class and the faculty will sign them in; or,
  • Oral roll-call with student’s providing their first name and last initial. The student providing their name isn’t considered a direct privacy violation.