Moodle Attendance Module Alternative

The Moodle Attendance Module is a relatively light weight solution for attendance tracking, compared to aPlus+ Attendance tracking. In general, Moodle and Moodle modules, including the Moodle Attendance Module, are designed and are very much limited to the coal face. Attendance tracking is very much something a tutor configures for their course in isolation.

Tracking attendance is quite simple when considering a course in isolation. However, when considering a course as a part of a whole, there are more important aspects such as consistency across the organisation, and reporting / information outputs.

aPlus+ provides tutors with the tools they need to track attendance, but importantly makes this information a part of the information at the fingertips of administrative and management staff. aPlus+ provides a consistent and comprehensive framework for attendance tracking which does more than just track attendance at the course level. It's at the course level that information is entered, however outputs at other levels are very much a key aspect of aPlus+ attendance tracking.

Some differences:

In Moodle, one of the first things a teacher must do is configure attendance categories and grading options. In aPlus+ a teacher, tutor or lecturer can not configure these kinds of options because they are defined at a higher level. How can an organisation maintain consistency when these are defined by individual teachers? aPlus+ also provides advanced settings for the various categories to ensure the organisation has the flexibility to record all the kinds of information they require.

Moodle has significant restrictions - for example allowing only one session per day. aPlus+ however supports not only multiple sessions per day, but also multiple timetables per course, and even allows sessions which don't have dates or times (for example, in a flexible delivery scenario a course may have 8 sessions which are not based on date of attendance). aPlus+ allows you to be as specific as you like about each session - if time, duration, teaching staff, weighting is important you can define those, otherwise don't. Set up a separate timetable for labs and theory in aPlus+. Note the Moodle web site states "if you have more than one class session per day you will have to be creative in taking attendance". Creativity is important but so is a solution which takes into account real needs of an organisation - and more.

Set up your holidays at the organisation level and aPlus+ will not create sessions during those holidays - unless you choose.

aPlus+ displays sessions in a variety of formats including for example a timetable showing the next 2 weeks or 2 months (you choose) or a calendar or a list.

Stability - aPlus+ is a fully supported solution which is stable and actively developed. To quote the moodle docs web site "At this time Dmitry's version is more stable and useful". If your organisation plans to implement attendance in Moodle we would recommend the "more stable and useful" version of the attendance module.

Independence - obviously the Moodle attendance module is tied to the Moodle learning management solution. aPlus+ on the other hand can run attendance as a fully independent solution which can be integrated with your existing student management system so that your staff can just log in and start using the system relatively quickly and easily.

Integration - aPlus+ and the attendance module have been designed with integration in mind. It's important that if you are using a student management solution, and/or a timetabling solution, that there is an option to have all that information automatically appearing in your attendance tracking software. aPlus+ has been designed to make this feasible.

Grades calculations - aPlus+ provides advanced support for integrating attendance with other assessment and results management facilities. You can choose the degree to which attendance affects the student's overall grades. Perhaps, students must attend a certain percentage of sessions in order to at least pass the course? Perhaps, their attendance contributes towards a percentage of the course? Perhaps, their attendance in theory and practical sessions is weighted and contributes towards half of the course. You choose.

Other features - aPlus+ provides numerous advanced features such as automatically emailing students when attendance is below an acceptable level, providing dashboards for management staff, advanced organisation or faculty wide reporting...

 
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