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Best practice: the automation of sending additional assignments/warning emails to absent students.

It is possible to automatically send an email to a student. This can be done when they have been absent three times during a seminar, when you want to give them an additional assignment, or to make them aware that they will no longer remain enrolled in the course if they are absent a fourth time. It is also possible to send an automatic email to your faculty's OSIRIS administrator if you want to make sure a student is no longer enrolled if they are absent four times. You can set these automatic mails up with three steps. Then all you need to do is keep track of attendance (step 4):

  1. Create a new grade category with four corresponding grade items.
  2. Create an intelligent agent where a student  will receive an email when they have been absent three times.
  3. Create an intelligent agent where the OSIRIS administrator will receive an email if the students has been absent four times.
  4. Report students as absent.

Intelligent agents work with release conditions. Release conditions do not work with the Attendance tool. This means you will have to keep track of the students' absence using the grade book and not Attendance - that is, if you want to use the intelligent agents.

1. Create grade category and grade items

For the first step, create a new grade category in the grade book that will not count for the final assessment. Then add four new grade items that can be used to track attendance.

  • Navigate to Administration in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Grades.
  1. Click Manage Grades (second tab).
  2. Click New.
  3. Click Category.
  • Give the category a name, for example Attendance.
  • For Weight, enter 0. This is important because you do not want to count this towards the final grade.
  • Below Distribution you select Distribute weight evenly across all items.
  • Scroll up and click Restrictions (second tab).
  • Click Hide from users if you do not want students to see the category.
  • Click Save and Close to save the grade category and return to Manage Grades.

Then you have to create four new grade items for the new grade category.

  1. Click New.
  2. Click Item.
  • Click Pass/Fail.
  1. Enter the name of the grade item. Use the names Absent 1, Absent 2, Absent 3 and Remove.
  2. Below Category you select the category you have just created. In this example you use Attendance.
  3. For Maximum points enter 1.
  4. Click Save and New.

These steps need to be repeated four times, so you will have four grade items. After you have created the last grade item, click Save and Close.

In Manage Grades you will see the new grade category with the matching four grade items. 

2. Set up intelligent agent for the student

The first intelligent agent will ensure the student receives an email when they have been absent three times. You can use this email to warn the students that they will be removed from the course if they are absent four times. It can also be used to let the students know about additional assignments and to let them know where to find this assignment.

  • Navigate to Administration in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Course Admin.
  • Go to Communication and then click Intelligent Agents.
  • Click New.
  1. Name the agent, for example Additional assignment or Absence.
  2. Set up the Release Conditions. To do this, click Create and Attach. A new window will open.

Create three release conditions (with the grade names Absent 1, Absent 2, Absent 3).

  1. Select Grades - Grade value on a Grade Item under Condition Type.
  2. Select the desired grade item.
  3. Select 'Pass' for Grade.
  4. Click Create.

To set up the next release condition, click Create and Attach again and then follow the same steps.

  1. Make sure All conditions must be met is selected.
  2. Make sure Take action only the first time the agent's criteria are satisfied for a user is selected. This option ensures that the student will only receive the mail once.
  3. Select Send an email when the criteria are satisfied.
  4. For To, enter {InitiatingUser}. You can choose to add the student counselor in the CC, so they will be updated about the situation automatically.
  5. Enter a subject.
  6. Write down the message. To address the student personally, use the replace string {IniatingUserFirstName}.
  1. Select Use Schedule.
  2. Click Update Schedule. A new window will appear.
  • If you want daily checks to take place, select Daily for Repeats.
  • Enter 1 for Repeats Every.
  • Click Update.
  • Click Save and Close to save the agent.

3. Set up intelligent agent for the OSIRIS administrator

The second intelligent agent will make sure your faculty's OSIRIS administrator will receive an email to remove the student from the course if they have been absent four times.

  • Go to the Agent List page and click New.
  1. Give the agent a name, for example Removal of student.
  2. Click  Attach Existing to add the three release conditions you created for the previous intelligent agent.
  1. Select the three release conditions you created previously.
  2. Click Attach. 

Create a new release condition for the fourth grade item: Removal. Create this grade item using the same steps as you did for the previous three.

  1. Click Create and Attach to add release conditions for the fourth grade item (Removal). Follow the same steps you used for the other three release conditions.
  2. Make sure All conditions must be met is selected.
  3. Make sure Take action only the first time the agent's criteria are satisfied for a user is selected. This option ensures that the administrator will only receive the mail once.
  4. Select Send an email when the criteria are satisfied.
  5. For To, enter the email address that belongs to your faculty's OSIRIS administrator. You can add your own email to the BCC if you wish.
  6. Enter a subject.
  • Write the message and make sure to use replace strings to specify which student and which course the email is about.  Click on the link below the Subject line to see which replace strings can be used.

Do you want to learn more about replace strings? Then read the following article: How do I personalise messages with replace strings?

  • Select Use Schedule and make sure this intelligent agent checks daily too.
  • Click Save and Close.

4. Report student as absent

The steps described above were to set everything up. The only thing you have to do now is mark the student's absence in the grade book.

  • Navigate to Grades in the navbar of your course.
  • Navigate to Enter Grades (first tab).

Below the category Attendance you will see the four grade items for absence.

  1. Click the fold-out arrow behind Attendance.
  2. Click Grade All. Here you can enter the pass/fail for each grade item.
  • When a student is absent during one of the classes, you enter fail for Absent 1. If the student is absent again, enter fail for Absent 2, etc. If you have entered fail for Absent 1, 2 and 3, the student will receive a warning email. When the student is absent again and you enter fail for Remove, the automatic email will be sent to the OSIRIS administrator.