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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Welcoming Our New Instructional Designer – Sean McCready

Earlier this week, the Office of Teaching and Learning welcomed our new instructional designer, Sean McCready. Sean will be working closely with our faculty and staff on creating curriculum and learning modules for the new Clinical and Professional Skills Lab (CPSL), which is slated to open in August of 2018.

Before coming to the CVM, Sean served as a teacher and curriculum specialist at the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). At ECOT, Sean implemented backwards design principles in multiple curriculum development projects throughout the school. He also created content for courses that followed Universal Design Learning principles, ensuring that all students, regardless of disability or learning preferences, had an opportunity to learn; his work involved the use of web content, video and interactive learning modules built in Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate.

Sean has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the Ohio Dominican University; he also received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ohio Dominican University.

Welcome, Sean!

Class of 2021 Students Evaluate iPads in the Classroom

The Office of Teaching and Learning surveyed Class of 2021 students regarding their usage, thoughts and opinions of the iPad in and outside of the classroom. As a reminder, the class of 2020 was the first cohort of students equipped with iPads, and we surveyed them earlier last year.

From the survey results, OTL has identified concrete action steps to help resolve the issues reported, as well as to better take advantage of the technology.

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What’s New In CarmenCanvas (As of Mar 31, 2018)

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

For Everyone:

  • Announcements have been updated to have a cleaner and more accessible design.
  • Comment replies in DocViewer are now included in annotated PDF downloads.
  • Individual comments in DocViewer now include an icon that displays the type and color of the annotation.
  • Starting with the 3/31 release, Internet Explorer 11 is now supported at a functional support level – while all features will continue to be supported, there may begin to be visual differences from other browsers.

For Teachers:

  • New features have been added to the Announcements page, including  clearer indication of delayed posting, quick toggle to allow/disallow comments, and section-specific course announcements.
  • The Outcomes functionality in Canvas allows for tracking of student competencies throughout a course and across different activities (assignments, quizzes, etc..) While there isn’t currently a curriculum-wide implementation of Canvas Outcomes, please contact us if you want to learn more. The Outcomes tool now supports bulk import from CSV.

How to become “test wise”

Texas A&M’s College of Medicine has a great website filled with test-taking tips. “What is Test Wiseness? It is a subject’s capacity to utilize the characteristics and formats of test and/or test-taking situations to receive a high score (Hyde 1981, 3). These are skills that can allow you to perform well in any testing situation and to know what to do before, during and after the test. Research tells us test-wise people have improved attitudes toward testing, have less test anxiety and achieve better grades (Vattanapath and Jaiprayoon 1999). Sweetnam (2003) found that even students familiar with the content may do poorly because they lack test-taking skills.”

We encourage you to take a look!