CPH AU20 New Template and How to Use It

Template cut outs

Hi all,

By now, most of  you know that CPH uses templates in our Canvas courses. By and large, the majority of courses and instructors had been using the template I put in your course 2 years ago. (Except those who went rogue. Don’t think I don’t know who you are. :). Standardization in course appearance and navigation is beneficial for both instructor and student. (Read why here.)

We have recently updated our template again to align more with both Quality Matters standards and other standards set by ODEE as described in their Quality Assurance process:

And because we are really freaking cool, we have also come up with a super-duper process (leveraging Canvas’s Blueprint tool).



All CPH courses should include some standard information such as:

  1. How to get tech help and contact 8Help
  2. How to request accommodations
  3. Information about academic integrity
  4. How to seek support for mental health
  5. How to find resources for writing

This new template includes all of those goodies and more but, as information changes (say the Writing Center moves to a new location) updates can be pushed out to all PUBH Canvas courses with the push of 2 buttons  and we will do all of those updates for you!




Again, because we love you, we (well…really Christy and Mukta) have actually already gone ahead and made your AU20 course shells. (That’s right. Go to right now and see that they are made. You are welcome.) If they are not already in there, the new template will be in your course by the end of this week (July 24th at 5pm.). Please make sure you watch the videos below for full details.

A few important notes:

  1. Some items from the new template are “locked” and you cannot edit. But only a few.
  2. When you copy over content from Master or other course you don’t loose or override the template; instead you will have objects from both courses. Delete as you wish or just leave your pages, modules, or assignments unpublished what you don’t want students to see.



And because we *love* you, we created some instructional videos:

Home Page: Overview and How to Edit


Modules: What’s New and How to Edit



Pages: What’s New and How to Edit






Building a sense of community in a virtual enviroment

How are you doing, friend?

via SoulPancake on GIPHY

Feeling Connected in an Online Environment – Why it’s Important

A frequently raised concern about online education is a lack of community in comparison to traditional, face-to-face classes where connections naturally occur simply by students sitting next to one another in class, staying after class to talk with the instructor or teaching assistant, gathering with classmates during a break, or stopping by the instructor’s office to ask questions.
But there’s no reason you can’t have a strong sense of community in an online course too! In fact, research shows that online courses often have a healthier community than courses in other modalities because everyone has the comfort and availability to participate, speak, and ask questions.
When you actively help create community in an online course, you are not only building a better course for your students but also providing a well-rounded learning experience for them, which in turn increases student retention.

Strategies for Adding Community to your Course

You do have to be intentional though! You can easily build into your course many strategies and activities that will build community, help everyone to get to know one another, and foster course engagement so that students feel connected to the instructor, to their classmates, and to the course content.
Below is a link to a list of 50 strategies and activities that I’ve successfully used in my courses or that I’ve seen used in other courses. They are highly effective for building strong relational connection in your class. I’ve put them into 5 categories: Basics, Introductory, Groups, Content-Related, and Endings. However, the simplicity of many of these activities makes it easy for you to adapt them to any course, regardless of the topic, curriculum, level, or modality
“GOT COMMUNITY? Activities and Strategies for Building Communities” document found here

Suggestions for Use

Some suggestions on how to use them:

Here is sample language from PUBHEHS 3320, explaining the assignment:

These discussion boards are a great place to share about your life and get to know your classmates better.  These posts are optional, but completing them will earn you some bonus points in the class.  Each module contains one “Get To Know Your Classmates” discussion board opportunity.  Each of these is worth an extra X of your final grade if completed prior to the end of the module, for up to a total of X for completing all of them.

Quick….Give Me an Already-Created Assignment I Can Copy Over to my Course

As stated in my Canvas Commons post, I will be sharing resources you can easily copy into your course. I just added an item called “Getting to Know Your Classmates – Building Community – go grab it!

Zoom – Change your background and show your OSU spirit (or a dinosaur)

Does your office look more “Lego showroom” than “business professional”?


Update the look of your home office during an online Zoom meeting and opt for a virtual background !


Or maybe you are in the mood for a little Block O?


Maybe you are missing Cunz?


OSU has a great selection of images you can use:

  1. OSU Zoom backgrounds
  2. OSU Images
  3. OSU University Marketing – Signature Gallery
  4. Or upload your own photos!!!!!

How to set a virtual background in Zoom

  • Click on the background of your choice and save it to your downloads folder.
  • Open your “Zoom Desktop Client” and navigate to your “Settings” screen.
  • Click on the “Virtual Background” tab and then click the “+ button” to select the “Add Image” or “Add Video” option.
  • Choose the background you downloaded from the web.
  • Start Zooming in Ohio State style.

Pro tips

If you want to make sure you aren’t O-I-H-O:

Within the “Settings Virtual Background” tab, check the “Mirror my video” box. The image will look backwards to you but will appear normal to the person viewing your video feed.

If you do not have your Zoom Desktop Client downloaded:

Visit and your download should automatically start within seconds. Simply install and sign in.

If you have never used a virtual background before:

Make sure you log in to your CarmenZoom profile, click “Settings” in the left sidebar, navigate to the “Virtual Background” option on the “Meeting” tab and verify that the setting is enabled.
Note: You must log out of the Zoom Desktop Client and log in to it again for this setting to take effect.

Check your system requirements

If your system does not meet the requirements for enabling Zoom virtual background, consider making one on the cheap by using some green foam board, poster board or fabric .

Creating alternative/ accessible content in your course with one click

*Content Accessibility

Anyone else sometimes leave the captions on when watching TV, even though they can hear the audio just fine?

TV with captions

What you are doing is taking advantage of material that was made “accessible” in a variety of modes  – auditory and text. Accessible content is content means that a space is always, 100% of the time, welcoming to people in as many modes as possible. Accessibility means that “accommodations” are integrated into a space and are not particularized to an individual. (An “accommodation” on the other hand, is a modification made to a specific aspect of a system—for example a document or facility—that has been adapted to meet the needs of a specific individual or group. An accommodation in higher ed, is often initiated by a formal request from a disabilities service office.)

Ever need to convert a Power Point into a PDF? What about wanting to make your Power Point slides readable on a Kindle or other ereader? Tools like Blackboard Ally and BeeLine make this easy.


Blackboard Ally

With a simple drag and drop, you can use BlackBoard Ally’s “File Transformer” tool to upload a course file and download it in an alternative format. You do not need to be using BlackBoard LMS to use this tool. This way, you can personalize your learning experience to better fit your needs, devices, and learning preferences. This tool is free and will covert your files in a matter of seconds.

After uploading your file, pick an alternative format that best suits your current task or situation. You can pick and mix formats too.

Learn more here:




Do your eyes tire after looking at text on a screen all day? Chances are your students’ do too. Another free tool out there is BeeLine reader which is a digital reading technology that uses color to accelerate reading speed and literacy acquisition.

You can actually test out this tool for free here but trying it out on their demo text.

BeeLIne Demo text



* both of the items mentioned here are being offered for free in response to widespread school shutdowns due to COVID-19. Prices subject to change.

Considerations for Access to Content –

Hi all.   

 As we continue to provide students access to learning, please remember that many of our students may struggle to keep up. There are many reasons for this, but no matter what the reason, you will still need to think of strategies to do this.

Check out this list below to get you started


Suggestions for Adaption 

Here are just a few options for ways to adapt or differentiate instruction to accommodate students. (Links to resources – “How To” Guides –  at end of page.)



Generating ePub Files 

Instructors can allow students to download a course as an ePub file. This feature allows students to view course content when they are offline, such as files, pages, assignment details, discussion topics description, or quiz instructions. Please note students cannot interact with the course content in ePub material; course materials are displayed in a read-only state and any tasks such as submitting an assignment or quiz must be completed online. 

It is important to note a couple of things about this new feature. 

 The ePub Export option is Course Level Feature Option 

Instructors must enable this option for it be available for students. In your course click settings in the left navigation of a course. Click the Feature Options tab. Move the slide to Onposition next to ePub Exporting. 

epub enable   


The Default ePub Generation is Based on Module Organization 

This means that only items including in modules are what students will have access to in the ePub file. However, instructors can set their course organization by content type (e.g. assignments, quizzes, etc.). This option can be changed on the course details tab by checking the checkbox next to Organize ePub by content type (default is by module). 

epub organize 


The ePub File Generation Option is Available in Personal Profile 

Students and instructors alike can access the option to generate an ePub file in the personal profile settings. From the right sidebar click Download Course Content. Downloaded content can be viewed in any ePub reader, such as iBooks (Mac) or Moon+ Reader (Android). Other ePub applications can be used. In ePub content, students cannot interact with course content directly such as completing an assignment, but they can view the assignment details, availability dates, and point values. In ePub content, students cannot interact with course content directly such as completing an assignment, but they can view the assignment details, availability dates, and point values.

epub download 

The ePub File Only Includes Files that are Compatible with eReaders 

If the content in your course includes Word, PowerPoint, and Acrobat files, please note this content will NOT be part of the ePub file. A separate zip folder option will appear when the ePub file is generated. Students can download the zip file to see the associated files.  

epub download files 



  • Assign book readings. 
  • Create lecture notes (typed, handwritten and scanned, Powerpoint) and post them on Carmen or deliver via mail.  
  • Use Zoom to record lecture or share slides and record your Zoom presentation.  Zoom automatically provides captions and transcription files for your recordings. Deliver via email or mail.  
  • Find and vet YouTube or other opensource videos on your course topics and link them in Carmen. 
  • Use a video camera or document camera with Zoom (or MediaSite) to record instructional videos.  (Videos should be stored on YouTube, Zoom, MediaSite, or Buckeyebox.  Uploading directly to Carmen will cause you to hit the file size limit.) Email me to get them captioned/transcribed. I will send you files to send to your student(s) via email or mail 


If at all possible, consider alternatives to synchronous content, video (streaming or other) – students may have unreliable internet access and may be at a disadvantage in obtaining any such content.  Ideally, all content should be delivered in an asynchronous manner.   [Note:  synchronous content is “live” while asynchronous content is “pre-recorded”.  With a poor internet connection, “live” lectures can collapse.] If you must use this format, make sure your sessions are recorded to the cloud so that you can access the recording and transcript files if you need to email or mail out to students.  

 Check out this article:

Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All by Daniel Stanford


 TAs should take direction from their lecturer for any specificshowever, some general points should be followed: 

  • TAs should plan on producing guided solutions to problems that would otherwise be regularly covered in recitation.  Inclusion of full derivations in these solutions is encouraged.   
  • TAs should plan on participating in any discussion boards that are set up for students in this course.   
  • If your instructor directs you to create any video content for your students, this content will be shared with all students in your lecture, including those in recitations led by other TAs.   
  • The expectation is that you spend an amount of time in these new ways that is comparable to that spent on your usual TA duties.   



 Paper assignments (homework, projects):  

  • Students can submit handwritten assignments online using Notability (if they have an iPad) or by using a scanner app on their phone. 
  • Work can be submitted on Carmen. 
  • Submission by email. 


Exam Options:  

  • Take home exam submitted to Carmen. 
  • Give online assessment using Proctorio and Carmen (multiple choice, short response with equation editor). 
  • Give an online assessment in a homework system that is available for your textbook. 



  • Set aside a specific time for online discussion.   




General websites to get help: 



Getting Started (if you don’t have a Carmen course yet): 

    • Make a Carmen announcement 
  • Upload Content to Carmen 
    • Upload your course files and materials, and links to other websites in Modules.  A module acts like a folder to organize your materials. 
  • Create Assignments 
    • You should create an assignment for each item that students are supposed to turn in or that students receive a grade for.   
    • You (or your TA/Grader) will enter grades into the Gradebook. 
  • See the section below for additional steps for teaching online using Carmen. 


Adapting your Carmen course to online instruction: 

  • Turn on discussion boards 
  • Turn on Zoom link (if using for live classes or to create videos) 
    • Recording a meeting (or lecture) with Zoom 


How to make course videos (if desired): 

    • When you record in Zoom using Cloud Recording, you will get a link to the video you can put in Carmen modules.  If the Zoom room is created using the Carmen Zoom link (as opposed to going directly to, your students will all receive an email automatically when you complete recording with a link to the recording. 
  • Creating videos using other methods 
    • If you create a video using your phone, a document camera, etc., you will need to find cloud storage for this video.  You upload to YouTube, MediaSite, Buckeyebox, or OneDrive

Student (group and individual) Presentation tools

web conference

Ways to hold virtual presentations

In the last few days I have gotten a lot of questions about strategies and tools for virtual student presentations (both group and individual). Here are some ways you can make this happen.

Question #1 -Can I host a synchronous meeting with students and then allow them (individuals OR groups) to speak?

Yes! Students can share their screens once you promote them to the proper “role” that give them those rights. There are multiple roles available for a meeting: host, co-host, alternative hosts, and participants. The role that you have in a meeting is designated by the host. (Detailed document on features available to each role.)
  • Host: This is you since you are the user who scheduled the meeting. They have full permissions to manage the meeting. There can only be one host of a meeting.
  • Co-hosts: This is what you want to promote your participants to when it’s their turn to present. Shares most of the controls that hosts have, allowing the co-host to manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing attendees. The host must assign a co-host during the meeting (maximum of 50 co-hosts per meeting). Co-hosts cannot start a meeting. If a host needs someone else to start the meeting, they can assign an alternative host.
  • Alternative hosts:  This is good for TAs or co-instructors. Shares the same controls as co-hosts, but can also start the meeting. Hosts can assign alternative hosts when they schedule a meeting.

zoom multiple speakers

Using co-host in a meeting

(detailed document here

There are two ways that you can make a user a co-host. You can assign up to 50 co-hosts in a meeting.

  • In the meeting, the host hovers over the user’s video, clicks on the three dots and chooses Make Co-Host.
    Co-host Zoom
  • Alternatively, the host can make another participant a co-host through the Participants window.
    1. Click on Manage Participants in the meeting controls at the bottom of the Zoom window.
    2. Hover over the name of the participant who is going to be a co-host, and choose More.
    3. Click Make Co-Host.


Once a participant has been made a Co-host, they’ll have access to the co-host controls.

Question #2 – Can students start their own meetings?

large zoom meetingYes. OSU’s instance of Zoom is branded as CarmenZoom and this tool is available to all faculty, students and instructional staff. Our Zoom Pro account permits up to 300 participants in one meeting.

(PS. I do NOT suggest hosting a Zoom meeting with 300 people. Just saying :). )



Question #3 – What assignments would student recordings be helpful for and how can students share recordings?

As stated in my Canvas Commons post, I will be sharing resources you can easily copy into your course. I just added an item called “Sample Video Assignment: Week X [Topic]” – go grab it!

Here’s a great use case: you have a group projects that requires 10 students to work together to create one video but the students are collaborating at a distance. You can either create a meeting room, invite students, make the presenters co-hosts while recording the meeting (as outlined in Question #1) or have one person in the group create a meeting, invite others, and record the meeting. When the students have finished meeting, they can share the recorded meeting with you (or peers) as a URL.

Because I love you I have a detailed documents that you can download and add to your course.

The links are public so you can just go ahead and share them with your students or put directly into your course

  1. Student instructions for class presentations (PDF)
  2. Student instructions for class presentations (Word) –

How about a Zoom Cheat Sheet??

Happy Canvas-ing!!!!!



Using Canvas Commons

Canvas Commons

Canvas commons icon


You have probably seen this little icon in your Canvas course and wondered what the heck it was:

Canvas Commons is a digital library. Instructors and administrators can share materials they have created to build this library for others to use. You can limit who uses your content – make it available to OSU folks only or all Canvas instructors; you set the parameters. The Commons tool allows you to add content to your course with just a few clicks, rather than having to build learning objects entirely from scratch. Anything you add from the Commons can be edited using the Rich Content Editor.

Commons is a great way for Canvas users to share learning resources with other Canvas users as well as copy learning resources from Commons into their own Canvas courses. Students do not have access to Commons; it is strictly for teachers and administrators.

Why it’s important for the College of Public Health?

As all of you begin to do more teaching in Canvas, we will leverage Commons to share resources with others who are looking for ideas, inspiration and help with creating content in Canvas

The CPH Distance Ed team will be putting sample assignments, quizzes, pages and modules in Commons for you to download!


How do I use Commons to get (and share) goodies?

Instructions below but If you just want a quick overview, check out this short video (2:22):



Finding Stuff with Tags

The easiest way to find objects is to search using tags. Any time the CPH Distance Ed team adds content we will use one (or most) of the following tags:

CPH Public Health College of Public Health
Margaret Murphy Elizabeth Flansburg-Cruz OSU CPH
CPH Distance Ed OSU College of Public Health


Great, but how do I actually *do* this thing?

If you want a printable or text resource, start with the Canvas Guide found here

  1. Open Commons – In Global Navigation, click the Commons link.

Canvas commons icon

 2.   Search for Resources

Commons search bar

A resource in Commons can be a course, module, quiz, assignment, discussion, page, document, video, image, or audio file. Each resource type has a unique icon. Look for these related colors and icons when searching for resources. To find resources in Commons, use the search field [1]. You can search for keywords such as author, institution, or title. This is where tags come in. Use the ones listed above to find CPH resources. You can also search by outcome, consortium, or group.

3. Preview resource and import into course

Click on course title to preview. Remember, you can edit the resources once they are in your course.

Commons preview

In the course details page, you can preview the various learning activities within the course. To preview course content, click a section in the sidebar [1]. Content is listed in the preview area [2]. Each content item displays the content type icon [3] and the published status icon [4]. If applicable, points possible are also shown [5].

To preview a content item, click the item title [6]

To download the file to your computer, click the Import/Download button [7].


4. Edit and publish (or ignore. Or delete.)

Now that it’s in your course you can edit, ignore or delete it.



How can I share my goods with others?

Begin by thinking of how you want to tag your items. Use the tag list above as a guide.

You can share entire courses from the Settings tab in your course .

share course to commoms

You can also share individual items – look for this link in the Edit button of your assignments, quizzes, modules and pages:

share to commons in edit


Check out this guide for more details.


So…go check out the Commons and find some goodies!!

Welcome to the CPH Teaching and Learning site

Cunz Art
Cunz Art

Recently we have been blowing your email up with the basics of Canvas course design. Now that you have started to build and are getting comfortable with using Canvas, you have been asking for ideas on how to innovate and inspiration for increasing engagement in your course. We will use this site to post these suggestions and ideas.


The beauty of a site is that:

  1. Posts will be archived, tagged and organized (we are still coming up with our system but for now, everything will, at least, be archived and available for retrieval).
  2. You choose to get new posts and updates. Instead of us sending you a million emails a day, you can opt in to subscribe OR just bookmark this site and come back to it when you want. (And you will want to, because it will be awesome!)


Want in?

Click the “Subscribe” button on the right to get those updates, hot off the press!