As an instructor, you will be expected to set policies regarding attendance in your course. You may set different policies for different courses—lectures, seminars, labs, presentations. Students will want you to have a clear consistent and enforceable policy. Taking attendance each day signals to students that you care about their attendance. The photo rosters on Blackboard make attendance-taking easy even for classes of 50 or 60 students; just print out the pictures and circle them.
Here is what the First year Office tells students about attendance and conflicts with other College activities:
It is your responsibility to consult with your instructor if you should need to miss a class for any reason, and the authority to excuse you rests entirely with the instructor. In the case of illness, it is helpful to be able to support your request with evidence from the Health Service (Dick's House). In emergency situations, a dean may be able to contact the faculty on your behalf, but information about illnesses can only be relayed if you have first signed a release form at Dick's House.
Although academic schedules may sometimes conflict with College-sponsored or extra-curricular events, there are no excused absences for participants in such activities. You should not expect to be excused from class for team meetings, orientation sessions, practice sessions, special meals or other such activities. In the case of intercollegiate games or meets, debates, concerts and so on, professors may be accommodating if approached well in advance, but are still under no obligation to excuse your absence. (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frstyear/work/policies/absence.html)
Last Updated: 9/17/08