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Using the Attendance feature in Blackboard Collaborate makes it easy to keep track of student attendance automatically. When setting up your Collaborate sessions with attendance tracking, there are a few things to consider.

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Session Time and Required Time in Session Settings

When configuring the Attendance tool inside Collaborate, be mindful of the session's Start and End times. By default, when enabling the Attendance feature, the tool sets the Required Time in Session at 50%, which means students have to be in the scheduled session for at least half of the configured time in order for the tool to mark the student present. 

In order to avoid Collaborate Attendance from inadvertently marking students absent, you can either reduce the Start and End times or reduce the Required Time in Session settings.

Adjusting the Required Time in Session bar will determine when Collaborate should mark students present (or absent).


If you need to reconfigure your Attendance settings for recurring sessions, we recommend editing the current session to end on the next scheduled date/time, and creating a new recurring session with the updated Attendance settings.


Setting the Required Time in Session and Examples

For each scheduled session, you can determine how long students should be in the session to be marked present. We strongly recommend using the lowest Required Time in Session settings that work for you. If your scheduled class routinely ends early, you should lower the Required Time in Session setting so that future sessions accurately capture attendance.

NOTE: If your session was created to open at 12:45 PM, but class begins at 1 PM, you must count that extra 15 minutes in your calculation. 

Session Start and End TimeSession LengthEarly EntryParticipant Min Time in SessionReq'd Time In Session Setting
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM180 minutes15 minutes97.5 minutes / 1.5 hours50% (default)

136.5 minutes / 2 hours 16.5 minutes70%

Examples of Session length and minimum required time for students to be in session and marked present in the Collaborate Attendance tool.

Using Collaborate Attendance with Multiple Sections in One Course Shell

If you have a course shell with multiple sections, it is still possible to use the Attendance tool with Collaborate. Since students will join either the morning or afternoon session, you will need to reduce the Req'd Time in Session settings so students are not marked absent (since they typically will not attend both scheduled sessions).

If you schedule the session to open at 9:45 AM, but class begins at 10:00 AM, you must count that extra 15 minutes in your calculation.

Scenario: Class A meets from 10:00 AM-11:30 AM, and Class B meets from 2:30 PM-4:00 PM. 

Class and Start/End TimeSession LengthEarly EntryParticipant Min Time in SessionReq'd Time in Session Setting
A: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM90 minutes15 minutes75 minutes35%
B: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM90 minutes15 minutes75 minutes35%
1 Calendar Day180 minutes

180 minutes

+ 30 minutes = 210 min = 3.5 hours

150 minutes~70%

In the scenario above, you see each session is scheduled for 90 minutes (180 minutes for the entire day with the additional 30 minutes for early entry). If we want to set the Attendance tool to mark students present for about 70% of the time/ roughly 75 minutes each class, we would need to split the required time in half so that the Attendance tool accurately captures how long students will be in one scheduled session for the day. If a single course shell shares more than two sections, you would need to divide the required time in session by how many sections you have.

Collaborate Attendance Reports

Session Reports

Every Collaborate session that runs generates a Session Report that can be accessed by going into Collaborate, selecting the icon and choosing View Session Reports.

The reports will list all active users who were in the session, time spent in the session, when a user joined and left the session, average time in session, and the ability to export/download the session report as a printable version or a CSV (comma separated file that can be opened with a program like Excel).

Reports can be used to check/verify attendance in the event that the Attendance tool needs to be manually updated.

See also: Export attendance data

Manually Adjusting Attendance

In the event that you need to manually correct attendance for a session, you can do so at any time (even after the session has ended).

In Ultra

Tell Me:

  1. On the left menu, select Mark Attendance.
  2. To update attendance, simply select the cell under the correct column for each student.

Tip: You can toggle between Overall and Meeting view. Overall view will display all meetings/attendance by date. Meeting view will display meetings one at a time, which you can then use the arrow at the top to page back and forth.

In Original

Tell Me:

  1. Select the Control Panel, and under Course Tools select Attendance.
  2. To update attendance, simply select the cell under the correct column for each student.