What’s New in Top Hat (JUNE 2018)

Release Notes: June 2018

  • The pages editor has been redesigned to surface frequency-used functionality
  • You can now use Top Hat to keep track of attendance that you take outside of Top Hat
  • Newly available in beta and can be enabled by Top Hat support:
    • Long answer question type
    • Significant figures in the numeric answer question type on iOS

A reminder for additional beta features:

  • Secure Attendance (beta): This feature is available on web, iOS, and Android – it uses the students’ devices to help determine where they are and if they are in proximity with each other. This feature can be enabled under Settings – Secure Attendance Options.
  • Group Questions (beta): This feature can be enabled by Top Hat support. Once enabled, you can put students into groups and assign questions to groups – each student can submit a response, with the final submission of a group being locked in as the group’s submission.

What’s New in CarmenCanvas (JUNE/JULY 2018)

The annual Canvas conference, InstructureCon, takes place from July 24th to 26th. We’re excited for new features and enhancements that will be announced at the conference – stay tuned!


Release Notes: 6/23, 7/14

For Everyone:

  • You can now create recurring “duplicate” events in the Calendar
  • The Discussions page has been updated with a new design
  • Canvas now displays an error if you try to upload a file exceeding available quota using the Rich Content Editor Content Selector
  • In SpeedGrader, comments now remain on the same page as the annotation
  • Language referring to “wiki” has been updated to “page(s)” for consistency

For Instructors:

  • You can now duplicate entire modules
    • A duplicated module and its contents are set to an unpublished status
    • Classic quizzes (indicated by a rocket icon) cannot be duplicated; a module containing a classic quiz cannot be duplicated until it is removed from the module
  • (This is not a new feature, but did you know that you can do moderated grading in Canvas, in which you can assign multiple graders as well as the grader who can determine the final grade?)
  • You can now create rubrics without point values; previously while you have had the ability to attach a rubric and not use it for grading, the rubric creation process required that you attach point values to the ratings.
  • The menu icon in SpeedGrader has been updated to include “Keyboard Shortcuts” and “Help”.


Canvas Student

Release Notes: 1.6 (Android)

  • The app now displays an error message when uploading a file that would exceed the file quota
  • The Pages tool now supports editing page content if a student has been given edit access
  • The Pages tool has been redesigned


OTL and Skills Lab Partners Working on Learning Units

Over the past few weeks, you may have witnessed the strange sight of third-year students carrying around stuffed IKEA dogs, silicone bladders, Wubble Bubble dog abdomens, and other oddities. Please be reassured that this is not a part of an elaborate student prank; rather, what you’ve seen is just a small selection of learning aids being developed for the new Clinical and Professional Skills Lab (CPSL)!

Summer Assistant Marshall Aanestad holding two prototype silicone bladders being developed for the Clinical and Professional Skills Lab.

Summer Assistant Marshall Aanestad holding two prototype silicone bladders being developed for the Clinical and Professional Skills Lab.

While the students have been busy working on the learning aids, over the past month Teaching and Learning has been working with our CPSL partners (i.e. the STRIVE groups) on the overall design of the learning modules, which will support the eight skills identified for Autumn 2018. Specifically, the first step of the design process involved discussion of the “Big Rocks”, such as why it is important for our students to master a skill, its real-life relevance, as well as common mistakes and misconceptions that have been observed in our students. The “Big Rocks” are summarized into unit learning outcomes that reflect the skills needed to be a day-one veterinarian, and will guide the creation of the CPSL learning modules, starting with checkpoint assessments that will provide opportunities to ensure that the students are on-track.

Example of the CPSL Blueprint Document

Example of the CPSL Blueprint Document

Building on our work in May, June’s focus will be on the development of the CPSL module lessons, as well as the creation of a variety of learning materials, activities, and aids for them. Coming from Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, we will work with our CPSL partners to provide students options in how the content is presented to them (“Representation”), how they can approach their own progression toward the learning outcomes (“Engagement”), and how they can demonstrate their achievement of such (“Expression”).

e-book lesson example

Shown above is an example of an e-book lesson with h5p interactive widget

During the summer, don’t be surprised to see OTL staff, CVM faculty, and DVM students popping up in different places around the campus shooting videos, drawing models for 3D printing, and piloting their lessons and learning aids with medical center staff! We continue to be very excited about the impact the CSPL can have on how our students learn and how our curriculum can be re-imagined.

Work on AU18 Courses Begins! Some Easy Places to Start with Great Impact (Part 2)

All masters for AU18 core and elective courses are ready for your edits! As a reminder, masters shells are used for getting your courses ready between offerings; currently, OTL refreshes the masters before each offering so they have the latest template, as well as content from the most recent offering of your courses for you to work from. Do let us know as soon as possible if you would like to use Carmen for your graduate courses as well!

Here are some important dates that are coming up:

  • July 15th: Spring course Team Reports due
  • August 1st: Autumn syllabi due
  • August W1 – W2: Autumn masters finalized and loaded into semester shells

The summer is a great time to work on projects (with us)! We’ve offered some low-effort but potentially high-impact project ideas in Part 1 of this series … and we have even more for you in Part 2!

Back to the Basics: Start with the Team Report

The post-offering team report is a good opportunity for you and your team to reflect upon how your course went: what worked, what didn’t quite work, how did the students respond, what can be even better yet, and so on.

In terms of overall course design, the following questions may be relevant:

  • Are your course goals and objectives still accurate? One way to approach this question may be to consider how well they support the latest industry expectations of day one veterinarians? Some courses, especially those earlier in the sequence, may provide such support indirectly by targeting foundational knowledge, skills, and so on. Sometimes, your students may need a little bit of help seeing the relevance of your course or your class session – this may be a good place to start tackling this need.
  • How well do your contact hour outcomes support your courses goals and objectives? Adequate alignment of contact hours is essential for achieving the overall goals and objectives of your course, and often helps with the (sometimes difficult) decision of what should be specifically targeted, and what should be supplemental. Here are some tips for writing learning outcomes.
  • How well do your assessments evaluate your students’ achievement on your stated learning outcomes? The content and format of your assessments should be aligned with your outcomes. For example, a multiple-choice question on what is considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may not be appropriate for “explain the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”, but would certainly be for “list common PPEs in veterinary practice.” Here’s our collection of resources on developing assessments.

As you review your student evaluations as part of the team report project, you may come across additional themes or ideas that you may want to explore or discuss further. Feel free to reach out to OTL for a conversation!

Examine Your Existing Assessments

Depending on your course design plans, you may decide to reuse your existing assessments and exam questions – but there is always room for improvement! In addition to alignment, some other suggestions include:

  • Rubrics that are well-constructed make it clear to all of your students what your assignments and/or assessments expect of them, and can make grading exponentially easier for you. For example, we have worked with instructors on constructing analytic rubrics for writing assignments, and the Spring 2018 Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) were graded on rubrics as well. We have a section on our website regarding rubrics in terms of transparency, reliability, and efficiency, including a recent blog post.
  • The summer is also a great opportunity for you and your team to review/revise your test questions in Carmen and/or ExamSoft. Testing is most appropriate for foundational knowledge and lower-order thinking skills, but it is not impossible for a well-written question to target something more advanced, such as application. We recently hosted a faculty development session on writing test questions and item analysis, and we are currently brainstorming recommendations regarding the process of writing test questions, which we will share in a future update.

Re-imagine Your Contact Hour

Continuing the theme of alignment, the learning materials and activities in your course should support your students’ achievement on the assessments and, in turn, your learning outcomes. This is not to suggest “teaching to the test itself” – rather, the alignment helps to ensure that students are provided the information as well as experiences that they need.

In many cases, aligning materials and activities may present opportunities to re-imagine your contact hour; for example, you can assign review materials and knowledge check activities to be completed by students before each class session, and reserve class time for discussion, elaboration, and/or application:

  • Carmen and Top Hat are great tools to implement your out-of-class experiences. Options in Carmen include modules, assignments, quizzes, and discussions; options in Top Hat include file uploads, interactive pages, questions, and discussions that can either be assigned for review or for homework.
  • During a class session, Top Hat is a great tool for quick knowledge checks and discussions. In addition, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University provides a list of active learning strategies that you can implement to further engage your students in thinking and doing.
    • As we work with our Clinical and Professional Skills Lab (CSPL) partners to design and develop the learning units, we have also been brainstorming activity ideas that takes advantage of the new space.
    • In the meantime, the Wenger Lab is an existing space that is optimized for active learning, equipped with movable furniture and computers/screen for group work.
  • Lastly, the portability and versatility of the iPads presents opportunities for learning activities in terms of interactive / multimedia content, digital creation, as well as collaboration. We’d love to talk with you if you have ideas!

Work on AU18 Courses Begins! Some Easy Places to Start with Great Impact (Part 1)

While the summer break has just begun for (most of) our students, Teaching and Learning already has its sight set on the upcoming Autumn 2018 courses – in fact, we have just finished refreshing the Autumn core courses, and they are now ready for your edits, design/redesign work, and so on! We will do the same with electives in the next week or so.

With the students gone, the summer is not only a great time to slow down and recharge (as much as you are able to, that is), but also for projects (with us)! In fact, there are a couple projects that we think are relatively low-effort, but would have potentially large impact on your students learning experiences!

This is the first set of recommendations that we have – stay tuned for more in the following weeks.

When in Doubt, Start with your Syllabus

While a mere document, the syllabus is your students’ first look into the ins-and-outs of your course – who teach it, what are they expected to know and be able to do (i.e. outcomes), how would their learning be assessed (read: how are they graded), what are the academic integrity expectations (i.e. the honor code and assessment types), how can they get help (i.e. office hours), and so on. For this reason, the syllabus should be informative and accurate, while concise enough that it’s not an exercise in comprehension skills.

The Curriculum Management System (CMT) provides a great outline as well as templates for what should go in your syllabus.

One step further: While CMT-generated syllabi serve as official record, you may find it a fun exercise in creativity to transform your syllabi in something a little more designed, as long as the information is consistent – something like this, for instance. Read on for more ideas …

A Little “Incentive” to Read the Syllabus

Ever find yourself devoting most of your first class session reading through the syllabus verbatim? Answering students’ questions about the course when the answers are readily available on the syllabus? Well, you may need a syllabus quiz! The Office of Distance Education and eLearning recommends a required syllabus quiz at the beginning of the course, with the release of other course content contingent upon receiving a passing score on the quiz. For just a little bit more “incentive”, you can attach a point value to your syllabus quiz.

While you may continue to find it beneficial to engage in syllabus Q&A during your first class session, the syllabus quiz should help with filtering out the basic questions you might be asked otherwise. Contact Teaching and Learning if you are interested!

One step further: All DVM courses come with a “Course Q&A” discussion board that you can take advantage of – students may already have satisfactory answers to each others’ questions, and you can intervene / elaborate when and where needed. Many instructors have also used the Announcements functionality to share answers to individual students’ questions with the entire class.

“Face Time” with your Incoming Students can Start Before First Class Session

A short course introduction video can be an invaluable tool that serves multiple purposes: 1) it’s a great opportunity for you to talk briefly about your course, its purpose, why it is important, its structure, and so on; 2) it puts a face to your name; and 3) it can be your students’ first opportunity to get to know who you are as a professional, as an instructor, and/or even an individual from a personal perspective. This social presence can be especially in an online course, where “face time” with instructors can be limited if not non-existent.

Below is an example from the Online Master of Learning Technologies program – if you are interested, contact Teaching and Learning!

One step further: We have updated the Carmen template to include a course banner area – this provides even more opportunity for you to customize your course landing page! Below are some examples.

What’s New in Top Hat (APRIL/MAY 2018)

Release Notes: April 2018May 2018

  • A new Tournament mode is in beta – we can help you get in touch with Top Hat to have it enabled!
  • The course lobby received a visual and usability update.
  • There is now a new Page Editor with an enhanced toolset, including quick discussions and knowledge check questions! This makes Pages in Top Hat a good option for out-of-class practice opportunities and assignments. We’d love to work with you on ideas, implementations, etc..
  • Numeric questions receives a beta feature where you can specify the number of significant figures that’s accepted – we can help you get in touch with Top Hat to have it enabled!
  • Instructors can now see the Top Hat – Canvas gradebook sync history.
  • iOS App
    • An issue with submitting responses with the iOS app has been resolved – please update to the latest version in the App Store.
    • An issue with the app crashing for students when instructors assign / present multiple items at once has been resolved.

In addition to the updates, we want to bring you attention to the following features:

  • Secure Attendance (beta): This feature is available on web, iOS, and Android – it uses the students’ devices to help determine where they are and if they are in proximity with each other. This feature can be enabled under Settings – Secure Attendance Options.
  • Group Questions (beta): This feature can be enabled by Top Hat support. Once enabled, you can put students into groups and assign questions to groups – each student can submit a response, with the final submission of a group being locked in as the group’s submission.

What’s New in CarmenCanvas (MAY 2018)


Release Notes: 5/12, 6/2

For Everyone:

  • The Files tool now has the 3-dot settings menu icon.
  • In DocViewer …
    • You can now annotate image files (BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF).
    • Users who are not the author of an annotation can comment on it.
    • Long comments are not truncated after five lines, rather than one.
    • Comments are now aligned with their associated annotations
  • In the Rich Content Editor under the Links tab Course Navigation section, some links have been updated to reflect what’s in Course Navigation (left menu).

For Instructors:

  • In DocViewer, you can now delete any annotations or comments for any user; for example, for peer review assignments.
  • In Gradebook, comments are hidden if an assignment is muted.

For Students:

  • The assignment submission page now shows “Submitted” when you submit an assignment; previously the terminology was “Turned In”.

Canvas Student

Release Notes: 6.2 (Android), 6.2.6 (iOS)

  • Android 6.2
    • Students can now edit pages for which they have been given permission
    • Pages tool has been redesigned for improved usability and accessibility
  • iOS 6.2.6
    • A share button has been added to external URL module items

Canvas Teacher

Release Notes: 1.5 (Android, iOS), 1.6 (iOS)

  • If you have a multi-section course, you can now send section-specific announcements in the app
  • External tools can be opened in Mobile Safari by tapping the Launch External Tool button.
  • User Files
    • You can now access your personal user files via the user menu.
    • The Rich Content Editor now supports attachment from personal user files.
  • Speedgrader supports submitting a grade by tapping the Return key using a mobile keyboard.
  • Android: Discussions with multiple due dates are now labeled with “Multiple Due Dates”.
  • iOS: If you’re encountering issues with the app, you can now tell the app to reset temporary files (i.e. cache) upon next launch under the Settings app.

What’s New In CarmenCanvas (APR 2018)

For a full list of updates, please see the following release notes:


For Everyone:

  • Inline file preview box is now taller (400px to 800px)
  • The Rich Content Editor now sports a word counter
  • BUG FIX: Video controls for embedded video files now displays as expected in Firefox

For Students:

  • BUG FIX: Rubrics using criterion ranges now correctly highlights the range that corresponds with the score given

Canvas Student

  • You can now view and access concluded courses that still exist
  • (Android) External tools can be opened outside of the Student app by tapping the Open in Browser icon
  • Redesigned Login (iOS) Announcements, Discussions, Conversations/Inbox (Android), Files, Assignments (iOS), Pages (iOS), and Grades (iOS) pages
  • The Rich Content Editor can now be used to create or reply to announcements

Workshop opportunity: Kickstart Week by DELTA

The Distance Education Learning and Teaching Academy (DELTA) is once again offering the Kickstart Week, which is “a series of related workshops that will prepare you to design for and teach in online and hybrid settings. Each day focuses on a different set of skills and pedagogies.” Staff from the Office of Teaching and Learning have attended the workshops, and have found the experience to be useful for face-to-face offerings as well – our newest member, Sean McCready, plans to attend this upcoming offering!

If you are interested, feel free to follow the links below to register for the workshops:

  • Day 1: Course design process, (online) quality assurance
  • Day 2: Assessments and rubrics, writing in (online) courses, academic integrity
  • Day 3: Planning activities, making the most of Ohio State supported tools
  • Day 4: Recording media content (@ Denney Hall Digial Union), library materials, copyright in (online) courses

Some of Our Favorite Productivity Features in the Canvas Teacher App

We previewed the Canvas Teacher app last August – since then, the app has truly grown into an powerful tool for managing courses on-the-go. The Canvas Teacher app is available for both smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android, and it is regularly updated by the vendor with new features and bug fixes – the latest version is 1.5 on iOS, and 1.4 on Android (differences between the iOS and Android app).

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