Increasing productivity with the iPad

By Jay Hsiao, instructional designer

As a recent student myself, I enjoyed learning on my iPad not only because of the lightweight form factor with long battery life, but also because I was able to be productive with it for learning. Besides the many apps available in the App Store, there are features built into iOS (now at version 11) that are great for productivity.

Ultimately, like any other technology, the iPad is a just another tool. The goal of Office of Teaching and Learning is to help you with optimizing the tool for your daily learning activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, while working with the instructors and the curriculum to affect technology-agnostic changes that’d improve the overall educational experience.

Back to the topic of iOS, have you discovered the Tips app? The Tips app offers a fantastic collection of productivity and creativity ideas – here are a couple of my personal favorites:

  • Quick settings: You might have already figured out that you can access quick settings (including mute and Do Not Disturb!) by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, but you can actually customize it in iOS 11. To do that, go to Settings, Control Center, then Customize Controls.
  • Widgets: If you have or are using an Android device, you may be familiar with these quick bites of information called widgets. Widgets are also available in iOS, by first swiping down to reveal the notifications, then left to reveal the widgets screen. Some apps that you use may come with a widget – check by swiping to the bottom fo the widgets screen, then Edit.
  • “Right-clicking” on the iPad: While the iPad doesn’t have the nifty Force Touch feature that newer iPhones have, try to discover the of extra actions that maybe available to you by tapping and holding on an app or a toolbar icon. For example, you can press and hold on the Notability app icon to access recent documents.
  • Single-app mode: By default, iOS presents only one app on the screen at a time. I’ve found this to be a productivity in that it helps me focus on only whatever I’m working on or reviewing at the moment, especially when used with Do Not Disturb.
  • Master the dock: Once your iPad is unlocked, you are able to call it up any time by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. For me, I put (drag and drop) all of my most used apps directly on the dock, and other apps that I use frequently in a folder on the dock. The dock holds up to 15 apps (for 12.9” pro), including a special section on the right side for recently used app, suggested apps based on usage habits, and Handoff apps that lets you continue what you’re currently working on on other Apple devices.
  • Multitasking: You can work with two apps at the same time on the iPad – notice that all apps support multitasking. There are two multitasking modes: slide over and split view.
    • To put an app in slide over mode, first swipe up from the bottom to call up the dock, press and briefly hold on an app icon, drag it onto the screen so it shows a rectangular outline, then let go. Slide overs float on top of the main app that’s open, and can be put either on the left or right side of the screen. You can even hide your slide over app by swiping it into the left or the right side of the screen, then call it back out by doing the opposite.
    • To put an app in split view mode, you would follow the same steps above, but before letting go, you would hover the app outline over the left or right side of the screen until the main app shrinks, then let go to put the second app in place. You can add a third app in slide over mode when you have two apps on the screen, but you would not be able to interact with them.
  • Spaces: When you use split view multitasking, you are essentially creating workspaces that you can quickly switch to and from. For example, if you are writing a paper and you’ve already collected references, you may create a workspace with Word and OneNote; if you are taking notes while watching lecture capture, you may create instead a workspace with Safari and Notability … with some captures, you may even be able to open the video in Picture in Picture mode!
  • Your apps work together: there are a couple features that iOS provides that lets your apps work together, including: 1) share sheet functionality that we talked about during orientation, which lets you send content from one app to another (for example, the Safari Apps lets you save a webpage as PDF using the share sheet); 2) file organization and usage through the Files app and the file picker, including sources such as offline, iCloud, and BuckeyeBox storage; and 3) as of iOS 11, you are now able to drag and drop content between apps that support it. We plan to write more about workflows in future updates.
    • Speaking of iCloud, we STRONGLY encourage that you backup your iPad to iCloud and turn on iCloud Backup – you would be glad that you did in the worst case scenarios that you lose your iPad, or your iPad becomes nonfunctional. You can do so by going to Settings, tap you profile at the top of the list (or sign in), then iCloud.
  • One last bonus – take a screenshot then annotate: if your courses assign videos for you to review, you can take a screenshot a desired frame of the video by pressing the Home and the Power buttons simultaneously, or by pressing Cmd-Shift-3 (for whole screen) or Cmd-Shift-4 (for part of the screen) on the keyboard. Once you have taken a screenshot, a preview of it will show on your screen, which you can then annotate using, for example, your stylus. When you are done annotating, use the Done button to either delete or save the screenshot to your Photos, or use the share sheet to forward it on.
I hope that you will find the iPad/iOS tips that I have listed here useful. Feel free to reach out to Teaching and Learning if you have questions!

Some of our favorite student features in the Canvas app

The Canvas Student app for mobile/tablet is great for viewing or interacting with your courses on-the-go. Using the app rather than the website on a mobile device also means you can take advantage of platform features, such as push notifications and Slide Over multitasking on the iPad. The Canvas Student app is regularly updated by the vendor with new features and bug fixes – the latest version is 6.0 on both iOS and Android.

Here are some features in the Canvas Student app that we like:

General Functionality

  • Tucked inside the hamburger menu (top left), you can go to Settings –> Landing Page to change what screen you would like to see first when you launch the Canvas Student app. Are you a timeline person? The Calendar tab may be best for you. Are you a list person? Then the To Do tab may be a better fit.
  • (Initiated on web) On the Calendar Page on the Canvas web app, you can grab the calendar feed link (bottom right of page) and subscribe to it using a mobile calendar app, such as iOS’s built-in Calendar app (under Settings, Accounts & Passwords, Add Account, Other, then Add Subscribed Calendar).
  • (Also available on web) On the Dashboard tab, did you know that you can change the courses that are shown to you and how they are shown? To show/hide courses, tap the “Edit” icon and select/unselect stars; by default, all of your current courses are shown. If you are a color-coding person, tap the settings icon (3 dots) on a course card to change its display color.
  • The Notifications tab is handy in that it not only shows most of not all activities that take place within Carmen, including inbox messages, announcements, announced changes to course materials and activities, and discussion replies.
  • If you are on a smartphone, the Inbox tool is very handy for sending quick messages to your instructors and/or classmates without needing to remember their OSU dot-number email addresses.

Functionality Inside Courses

  • Want to review course content in full-screen? Use the double diagonal arrow button around the center of the screen to expand the content shown on the right side; by the way, the course navigation menu was freshly updated in version 6.0!
  • Notetakers probably already know this trick, but when you open a PDF files that resides within a course, you can tap the edit icon (looks like pen and a writing surface) to reveal tools that you can use to annotate it without leaving the Canvas Student App! When you are done annotating, use the share icon (looks like a box with an arrow pointing up) to save or send the file to another app … with your annotations!
  • Worrying about forgetting to take a quiz? On the information page of a quiz that is not past due, tap the alarm clock icon at the top right to schedule a notification for yourself.
    • While not all types of quizzes are currently supported by the app, it will prompt you to access the web app if and when needed.
  • Speaking of quizzes, as of app version 3.20 on iOS, the Canvas Student app gained an iOS widget (the left-most screen on the home screen, or swipe down and left from the top of the screen) that shows you your current course grades.

We hope that some of the features that we listed above would be helpful for you with using the Canvas Student app more effectively. As a final bonus, if you are an Amazon Echo user … did you know that there is an Alexa Skill for checking what’s going in your courses? This blew our minds last July when it was announced and has become much more capable since then!

Top Hat doesn’t have to stop when the class session ends

If you are a power user of Top Hat, you may have realized that it is more than an engaging in-class student response tool in that it is also a flexible, on-demand tool for organizing your class sessions. For example, Teaching and Learning has worked with some instructors to upload their PowerPoint slides to Top Hat, where they can insert activities strategically at certain points during the class (for example, for start-of-class and end-of-class knowledge checks/reviews) and present the entire set without having to leave Top Hat.

Top Hat also now supports interactive slides that contain hyperlinks, animations, and embedded videos from YouTube or Vimeo.

The quality learning that takes place in Top Hat does not have to stop when your class session ends. While the “Present” mode makes your Top Hat content available to students in a live setting, the “Homework” and “Review” assign modes allow students to access them outside of the class.

  • Review: This mode releases content to students on a non-graded basis. When you assign a question to students for review, they will be able to respond to it and see the correct answer, but you will not have a way to tell who has completed it and how they did. This mode is great for displaying items such as learning materials, practice questions, and activities that have already taken place in class.
  • Homework: This mode releases content to students on a graded basis. When you assign a question to students for homework, their responses will be automatically graded and recorded in the gradebook. This mode is great for items like out-of-class activities that are not available in Carmen; for example, “Click on Target” and “Word Answers” (for word cloud purposes) or activities that you intended to get to during class but didn’t quite make it.

Just like in Carmen, you are able to create differentiated experiences by assigning different items to different students. You can also schedule future activities and/or offer timed activities by adjusting item availability. (More Information)

As always, for all things Top Hat, please feel free to consult with Teaching and Learning.

Rubrics add transparency, consistency, and efficiency to grading


Rubrics are scoring guides or specific pre-established performance criteria in which each level of performance is described to contrast it with performance at other levels.



  • Provide feedback and grade student work.
  • Help students understand the targets for their learning.
  • Help students learn standards of quality for a particular assignment.
  • Help students make dependable judgments about their own work that can inform improvement.


There are two types of rubrics – analytic and holistic. An analytic rubric is used to assess more than one content area at different levels of performance. A holistic rubric targets a single area and is used to assess a whole work or product considering multiple factors.


Rubrics contain three essential features: evaluation criteria, quality definitions, and a scoring strategy. They generally exist as tables comprising a description of the task being evaluated, row headings outlining the criteria being evaluated, column headings identifying the different levels of performance, and a description of the level of performance in the boxes of the table.

When writing a rubric, an instructor or teaching team should set the scale, define the ratings, and develop descriptions of what performance looks like at each level.


Examples of three scales:

  • Weak, Satisfactory, Strong
  • Beginning, Intermediate, High
  • Weak, Average, Excellent
  • Developing, Competent, Exemplary
  • Low Mastery, Average Mastery, High Mastery

Examples of four scales:

  • Unacceptable, Marginal, Proficient, Distinguished
  • Beginning, Developing, Accomplished, Exemplary
  • Needs Improvement, Satisfactory, Good, Accomplished
  • Emerging, Progressing, Partial Mastery, Mastery
  • Inadequate, Needs Improvement, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations
  • Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent

Examples of five scales:

  • Poor, Minimal, Sufficient, Above Average, Excellent
  • Novice, Intermediate, Proficient, Distinguished, Master
  • Unacceptable, Poor, Satisfactory, Good, Excellent

Student Perceptions of Rubrics

Studies of students’ responses to rubric use suggest that graduate and undergraduate students value rubrics because they clarify the targets for their work, allow them to regulate their progress, and make grades or marks transparent and fair.

Rubrics enable them to engage in important processes, including identifying critical issues in an assignment and, thereby, reducing uncertainty and doing more meaningful work, determining the amount of effort needed for an assignment, evaluating their own performances in order to get immediate feedback, especially on weaknesses, estimating their grades prior to the submission of assignments and focusing their efforts so as to improve performance on subsequent assignments.

Tip based on perceptions: Provide rubrics with the assignment description, as well as an example of a graded or evaluated work.

Faculty Perceptions on Rubrics

In a review of 20 studies on rubrics, three studies report positive instructor perceptions of rubrics as scoring guides. In these cases, rubrics provided an objective basis for evaluation.

One striking difference between students’ and instructors’ perceptions of rubric use is related to their perceptions of the purposes of rubrics. Students frequently referred to them as serving the purposes of learning and achievement, while instructors focused almost exclusively on the role of a rubric in quickly, objectively and accurately assigning grades. Instructors’ limited conception of the purpose of a rubric might contribute to their unwillingness to use them.

Rubrics require quite a bit of time on the part of the instructor or teaching team to develop.

Rubric Reliability

The types of reliability that are most often considered in classroom assessment and in rubric development involve rater reliability. Reliability refers to the consistency of scores that are assigned by two independent raters (inter‐rater reliability) and by the same rater at different points in time (intra‐rater reliability).

The literature most frequently recommends two approaches to inter‐rater reliability: consensus and consistency. While consensus (agreement) measures if raters assign the same score, consistency provides a measure of correlation between the scores of raters.

Several studies have shown that rubrics can allow instructors and students to reliably assess performance.

Of the four papers found that discuss the validity of the rubrics used in research, three focused on the appropriateness of the language and content of a rubric for the population of students being assessed. The language used in rubrics is considered to be one of the most challenging aspects of its design.

As with any form of assessment, the clarity of the language in a rubric is a matter of validity because an ambiguous rubric cannot be accurately or consistently interpreted by instructors, students or scorers.

Teaching tips from reliability research: Scorer training is the most important factor for achieving reliable and valid large scale assessments. Before using a rubric, a teaching team should practice grading assignments together to ensure rubric clarity.…/documents/rubric-template.docx

Reddy, Y. M., & Andrade, H. (July 01, 2010). A review of rubric use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35, 4, 435-448.

Top Hat Inside and Outside the Classroom

Having remote attendees during lectures makes it especially important for instructors to incorporate engaging, interactive activities. These activities allow you to check if your remote participants are attending and actively listening.

In fact, these are some of the same concerns that active learning strategies aim to address during face-to-face class meetings. If you hold in-person class sessions and expect students to attend, you may want to offer them experiences not available by watching lecture captures.

In particular, one of the active learning tools Teaching and Learning supports is Top Hat. By default, when you present a Top Hat question in class, all students who are enrolled in the Top Hat course can see and respond to it, regardless of their physical location. If it is important to you that students are participating in your Top Hat questions from approved locations only, please schedule a time to brainstorm with us.

Did you know that Top Hat also supports activities that can be completed outside of the classroom? For example, you can assign to your students slides that you have uploaded to Top Hat and questions you have asked during a class session for review purposes. You can also assign content that students complete out-of-class as homework. If you do assign graded content in Top Hat, please work with Teaching and Learning to transfer the scores back to Carmen.

For more information:

Competency-Based Medical Education an a Nutshell

Competency-based education in human medicine moves away from the idea that competence is related to time on a rotation. The fundamental premise is the Day 1 test. On Day 1, what can students do with no supervision?

This is an outcomes-based approach to the design, implementation, assessment and evaluation of an education program using competencies. It asks:

  • What are the abilities needed of grads?
  • How can we sequence from novice to expert?
  • How can we enhance teacher-trainee interaction?
  • What learning activities are really needed?
  • How can we use best practices in assessment?
Competency-based principles include:
  • A focus on outcomes: graduate abilities
  • Ensuring progression of competence
  • Viewing time as a resource, not a framework
  • Promoting leaner centerdness
  • Demanding greater transparency and utility in the program/curriculum

Using Zoom, CarmenConnect for Online Conferencing and Synchronous Learning Experiences

Did you know after 8 minutes of lecture, college students begin to fade out? If they are intensely focused, that increases to about 20 minutes.

Due to clinical skills lab construction, some lectures that currently take place in the VMC have been moved to the Goss auditorium. Goss’s smaller size has necessitated live streaming core lectures to the AT Lab overflow location, and VIS has worked to implement a solution with the Zoom conference tool. While Zoom is not currently among OSU’s officially-supported online conferencing tools, both VIS and OTL have found it to be a great alternative that can be easy to set up and use.

If you have used CarmenConnect before, you will be familiar with Zoom online conferencing features, including audio and video, text chat, screen share, breakout rooms, as well as ongoing and scheduled meeting rooms. In particular, breakout rooms are a great way to implement group work and discussions in a online, asynchronous setting, where students are expected to connect individually.

Compared to free Zoom accounts, CarmenConnect does have the following advantages:

  • Cleared by OCIO Cybersecurity for data element classifications up to S2 (Internal).
  • Supports session recordings directly stored in the cloud with a sharable link.
  • No time limit for meetings with 2+ participants.
  • No technical or arbitrary limit to the number of concurrent attendees allowed that we are aware of.

While Zoom is currently a temporary solution to the CVM classroom situation, you may find online conferencing tools appropriate for other synchronous education experiences, such as bringing outside expertise into your classrooms. For example, Professional Development 3-B invites an outside expert to speak about animal law via Zoom.

If you ever run into a situation where you cannot be physically present in class, or if you are interested in other educational applications of online conferencing tools, please feel free to contact for some ideas! For general business-related conferencing needs, please consult

For more information:

Competency-Based Veterinary Education Framework Introducted at AAVMC

A new Competency-Based Veterinary Education (CBVE) framework unveiled Saturday at the 2018 conference of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) represents three years of intensive work and lays the framework for schools to develop a competency-based curriculum.

It is probably the most significant work of the organization to date and facilitates the shift from faculty-centered teaching to student-centered learning, said Chief Executive Officer Andy Maccabe. “We don’t consider this product to be a perfect, final product,” he added. Instead, it will be updated and revised as educators implement it, and all schools are invited to adapt the framework.

The framework encompasses 9 Domains of Competence with corresponding competencies. These include:

  1. Clinical Reasoning and Decision-making
  2. Individual Animal Care and Management
  3. Animal Population Care and Management
  4. Public Health
  5. Communication
  6. Collaboration
  7. Professionalism and Professional Identity
  8. Financial and Practice Management
  9. Scholarship

In addition, the framework is accompanied by Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) or essential tasks that veterinary medical students can be trusted to perform with limited supervision in a given context and with regulatory requirements, once sufficient competence has been demonstrated. The 8 EPAs include:

  1. Gather a history, perform an examination, and create a prioritized differential diagnosis list
  2. Develop a diagnostic plan and interpret results
  3. Develop and implement a management/treatment plan
  4. Recognize a patient requiring urgent or emergent care and initiate evaluation and management
  5. Formulate relevant questions and retrieve evidence to advance care
  6. Perform a common surgical procedure on a stable patient, including pre-operative and post-operative management
  7. Perform general anesthesia and recovery of a stable patient, including monitoring and support
  8. Formulate recommendations for preventive healthcare

The EPAs are accompanied by descriptions of activities, relevant domains, and elements within the activity. AAVMC conference attendees from our college look forward to sharing more information upon their return.


CBE (competency-based education) has a “tyranny of utility.” … It has to be highly applicable. All learning activities are connected to “a golden thread” through the curriculum or they are “selective electives.”
– Jason GRank, CanMEDS, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Transforming PowerPoint into Standalone Learning Modules

Other posts in the series:

  • Creating Custom (Talking-Head) Videos with MediaSite

In this installment, we would like to show you how to turn your existing PowerPoint presentations into standalone learning modules.

(Before you start, please make sure that you have the latest versions of PowerPoint on your devices; CVM PCs should come with Office 2016, which is the latest release version.)

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Workaround for Buckeyebox Download Link Issues on iOS / iPad

What’s the Issue

  • If the Box Integration is used to insert a BuckeyeBox file link into a Module or a Content Page in Carmen, the resulting link opens up to preview page with a download button that is non-functional on the iPad.
  • This issue does not affect links that are generated manually on the BuckeyeBox website/in the Box app, and are then copied/pasted into Carmen.  

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