Attendance Tracking FAQs

Do I need to be present at the lecture or send a colleague or TA in my place?
No, a Lectures employee facilitates the electronic card-swipes. You need only provide instructions to your students.

Is this service available for all Lectures Series events?
Attendance tracking is currently available for Lectures Series-sponsored events held in the Memorial Union, Monday-Thursday. If you do not see an event listed on the "Track a New Lecture" page, that means the service is not available for that particular lecture. In some cases, special arrangements can be made for events held in classrooms or other venues. Contact the Lectures Program staff with requests.

Do I need to register my class in advance?
Registering a class in advance of the event is strongly encouraged so we are prepared with adequate seating. Classes can be registered after an event has taken place IF students were instructed to swipe after the event. Registering a class simply links the instructor's course/section specification to the card-swipe data collected.

What if I told my students to sign in but forgot to register the class online?
Classes can be registered after an event has taken place IF students were instructed to sign in. Registering a class simply links the instructor's course/section specification to the card-swipe data collected. That said, registering a class in advance of the event is strongly encouraged so we are prepared with adequate seating.

What happens if the system isn't working?
We will alert the instructor in advance if possible. The employee monitoring the computer workstation will arrange for paper-and-pencil records if necessary.

Can someone else register my class for me?
No. The system is linked to the university registrar's database and requires the named instructor to log in with his or her University NetID and password.

What if a student tries to sign in for a friend?
Attempts have been made to design a system that prevents such misuse. The system is linked to ISU Card data, including photos. The Lectures Program will have an employee present to monitor the card-swipe process. If the student photo displayed onscreen when an ISU card is swiped does not match the person who is swiping, the name will be removed from the log and the instructor alerted. Likewise, the identity of a student who registers with a NetID or university ID number will be screened against the photo linked to that data.

What if a student has to leave early? Can students sign in before the lecture?
The computer workstation will be available for card-swipes only AFTER a lecture concludes. This discourages the practice of card-swiping at the start of an event and then leaving early or not attending at all. Students who need to leave early should make arrangements with the Lectures Program employee on duty and then sit in the back or near a door where they can exit discreetly. 

What if I ask my class to attend three lectures during the semester, but I don't care which ones they are?
A semester-long tracking option is available for instructors who wish to track attendance at all lectures during a semester, not just selected events. Contact the Lectures Program staff to be registered for this option. As with individual tracked events, only Lectures Program-sponsored events held in the Memorial Union, Monday-Thursday, are currently available for tracking. Semester-long tracking reports are accessible online until the start of the new semester. The Excel spreadsheet will display student card-swipes for only the section(s) associated with your registered class(es).

Can I require students to attend a lecture on a specific date?
Lectures can provide an excellent learning opportunity for students and can occasionally be so well linked to a course that an instructor wants to integrate it into the course. When the public lecture in question is held outside of a regularly scheduled class time, however, lecture attendance cannot be “required” like other elements of a course.

Best practices are as follows. Instructors should:
1. Include the lecture on the syllabus from the beginning of the semester;
2. Explain why they are asking students to attend the lecture; and
3. Discuss what a student who is unable to attend a specific lecture should do. For example, the syllabus might note that “when it is impossible for a student to attend the lecture, the student should contact me before the event to arrange an alternate assignment.” The assignment should be comparable to the workload associated with attending the lecture and any assignment attached to that event.

Many instructors build flexibility into an ISU Lectures assignment by offering choices from among several lectures on various dates and times.