Understanding Absences in Moodle

When checking out your grades in Moodle, you’ll see a new category toward the top of the screen: Unexcused Absences. I’m writing this because it’s easy to misinterpret the information I put there.

The short version: pay attention to the number, not the percentage. This number:

Image showing the number I'm talking about in Moodle.

When I update grades in Moodle every couple of weeks, I’ll check my records and see if you’ve been absent since I last updated grades; if so, I’ll add one to the number currently there–say, from 0 to 1. Moodle, however, wants to give a percentage to everything, even though percentages don’t apply to this situation. So if you’ve been absent once, it will say that you have 1 out of 4 possible absences in the category and say you have a 25%. But really, all that means is that you’ve used one of the 4 absences you can possible have in this class. (When you hit number four, you’re withdrawn from the course, so there’s no way you can hit number five. See the syllabus for details.)

(Of course, the syllabus also explains what an excused absence looks like. I don’t count those here. They just drift away into nothingness.)

One reason I include these numbers in Moodle is so you can double-check my counting. I’m happy to hear from you if you disagree with my count, especially if you can find a way to remind me or prove to me that you were actually there on the days I counted you absent. (I’ll share the dates you were absent with you if you’d like.)

I’ll try to remember to put in an academic alert when you hit absence #3 (which means you don’t get any more freebies), but of course, you’re responsible for not missing more than three even if I forget to give you that formal warning.

As always, let me know if anything doesn’t make sense!