Various uses of the term, “Assessment”

Q: I keep on hearing about assessment. Assessment as in a test, assessment as in learning outcomes, assessment as in course assessment, assessment as in program assessment. What’s up?

A: The term, “assessment,” when commonly used at the college refers to a midterm or final exam, or another assignment designed to test for student acquisition of foundational knowledge or ability to clinically reason. In this sense, “assessment” serves as another word for examination.

Assessment can also refer to a plan or structure established for constant course and program improvement, and a way to ensure a college is collectively doing what it says it does — that students learn what we say they will during their time with us.

Because examinations are designed to test student knowledge, it would seem reasonable to equate the exam with learning outcomes achievement. This assumes that questions on examinations are aligned (directly related to) stated outcomes for a lecture or course or program.

“There is often confusion over the difference between grades and learning assessment, with some believing that they are totally unrelated and others thinking they are one and the same. The truth is, it depends. Grades are often based on more than learning outcomes. Instructors’ grading criteria often include behaviors or activities that are not measures of learning outcomes, such as attendance, participation, improvement, or effort. Although these may be correlated with learning outcomes, and can be valued aspects of the course, typically they are not measures of learning outcomes themselves.

“However, assessment of learning can and should rely on or relate to grades, and so far as they do, grades can be a major source of data for assessment.” (

When deciding on what kind of assessment activities to use, it is helpful to keep in mind the following questions:

  • What will the student’s work on the activity (multiple choice answers, essays, project, presentation, etc.) say about their level of competence on the targeted learning objectives?
  • How will the instructor’s assessment of their work help guide students’ practice and improve the quality of their work?
  • How will the assessment outcomes for the class guide teaching practice?

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Ed Tech Q&A for Students (9/8/2017)

Q: I am not seeing a course that I’m enrolled in on the Carmen landing page.

A: Some individuals’ Carmen landing page may be experiencing issues synchronizing enrollments from the Student Information System (SIS). If you are not seeing courses that you are enrolled in, please try the following:

  • Click the “CarmenCanvas Dashboard” link at the right side of the Carmen landing page. This will take you directly into CarmenCanvas to the Dashboard page, on which you can access the courses that you are currently enrolled in.
  • To fix the issue, please contact the main campus IT help desk via 8-HELP (688-4357) or

Q: In Carmen, how do I submit an online assignment?

A: Canvas Guides provides a series of excellent resources:

As always, it is your responsibility to confirm that your assignment has been successfully submitted prior to the deadline.

Q: How do I turn off auto-correct/auto-capitalization/etc. on my iPad for an ExamSoft exam?

A: You can adjust keyboard settings under Settings –> General –> Keyboard. (More Information)

Q: How can I tell how well I need to do in my course in order to get a/an [letter grade]?

A: On the Grades page, you are able to not only view your current grades, but also enter “What-If Grades” to approximate your final grades. Please also be mindful of the “Calculate based only on graded assignments” checkbox, as the final grades shown with this particular feature enabled may be inflated.

For more information:

Q: Lecture captures are not playing on some computers!

A: Currently, lecture capture videos are served to PCs/Laptops in Adobe Flash format. Since Adobe Flash is set to be retired in 2020, major browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have begun to disable Flash by default. Due to security concerns related to the plugin, we recommend that you enable Flash on a site-by-site basis, and only if absolutely needed:

Ed Tech Q&A for Students (9/1/2017)

Q: I’m new to OSU! Where can I get additional training for Carmen?

A: The Office of Distance Education and eLearning provides a wonderful Start of Term Checklist, which lists various resources from which you can get more information regarding using Carmen. You are also welcome to email us at and/or stop by VMC 0076A for help.

Q: In Carmen, how can I check to see that I have answered all quiz questions before I submit?

A: In both the web and the mobile versions, Carmen provides you with a list of quiz questions which indicates which questions you have answered, and which you have not. You can also use this list of flag any questions that you would like to skip for now and revisit later. (More information for web, mobile app). Carmen also seeks additional confirmation if you try to submit a quiz with unanswered questions. Please note your unfinished attempts will be automatically submitted when the time is up in a timed quiz, or when the quiz is closed. It is always a good practice and your responsibility to check whether you have answered all questions before submission.

Q: Lecture captures are not playing on some computers

A: Currently, lecture capture videos are served to PCs/Laptops in Adobe Flash format. Since Adobe Flash is set to be retired in 2020, major browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have begun to disable Flash by default. Due to security concerns related to the plugin, we recommend that you enable Flash on a site-by-site basis, and only if absolutely needed:

Advice to Students for Start of Semester

  • Use class time as study time and what was formerly study time as self-testing time. At the end of the day, test yourself over content that was presented in lecture. On weekends, review the previous week’s content. 20 to 30 minutes of self-testing time is optimum, then break.
  • Use targeted lecture capture review that involves conscientiously documenting the time into a lecture and the material that may be challenging/important/unclear.
  • Don’t rewrite notes verbatim. Think about “generative” note taking, or taking notes using your own words and methods of summarizing material. Want to really know more about note taking? Check out this document from the Harvard Initiative for Teaching and Learning.
  • Practice writing test questions for each lecture. (Do them in multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank form, depending on instructor.) Work in a group to share different questions.
  • Review notes or notecards then put them away and attempt to recall material on your own. (Research shows this to be highly effective.)
  • When reviewing notes, “chunk” the material, read through it, put it away and tell yourself a story about how that might affect/be relevant to a case or patient.
  • Use a learning journal before you go to bed to think about how to solve particular problems and what went well during the day’s lectures.

Ed Tech Q&A for Instructors (9/1/2017)

Q: Why is the CVM CarmenCanvas template (and workflow) the way it is?

A: We believe that students’ time and energy should be spent on learning, and not on trying to navigate the Carmen course, so the template was designed and is continually improved based on best practices in accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), as well as established evaluation tools such as Quality Matters. The intent is to also allow instructors’ time tp be better spent on providing excellent content and learning experiences. We hope that we have been diligent in striking a balance through our consultations, resources, training, and on-site supports. Please be assured that we are listening to your feedback regarding working in CarmenCanvas. This year’s revised master workflow may serve as an example of that.

Q: How do I send a message to all individuals in my course? What if I don’t want to receive those messages as an instructor?

A: CarmenCanvas provides a convenient Announcement Tool that lets you easily make announcements to all individuals in your course, including instructors. The announcements are all archived in your course for easy access. If your want to send a message to a more specific group, such as all students, all instructors, or specific course sections/student groups/students, the Inbox tool gives you more control over specifying your recipients. If CarmenCanvas’ messaging capabilities do not meet your needs, emails through either Faculty Center or Outlook are still valid options!

Because of the way messaging works in CarmenCanvas, your messages do not go directly to the recipients as emails; rather, CarmenCanvas forwards your messages on to additional destinations specified by each user, which may include the built-in Inbox tool, email, text message, and mobile app push notification. Notification settings are adjustable by individual users; for example, we recommend students adjust their settings to receive emails for Announcements and new Inbox conversations.

Q: I am using BuckeyeBox to host my course files, and I’m inserting links into my CarmenCanvas courses. Why can’t students access them?

A: If your course storage is outgrowing the default CarmenCanvas quota, BuckeyeBox is a great solution for storing your larger course files. There are multiple ways to link to files hosted on BuckeyeBox within CarmenCanvas. There are two common issues to be mindful of, both of which are addressed in the link above:

  • By default, a shared link is set to expire half a year from its creation.
  • For the link to accessible by anyone you share it with, you must manually adjust its availability setting to “People with the link.”

Q: Lecture captures are not playing on some computers. Why?

A: Currently, lecture capture videos are served to PCs/Laptops in Adobe Flash format. Since Adobe Flash is set to be retired in 2020, major browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have begun to disable Flash by default. Due to security concerns related to the plugin, we recommend that you enable Flash on a site-by-site basis, and only if absolutely needed:

Working with PDF Course Materials

The Office of Teaching and Learning recommends to instructors that they provide their lecture slides in the following format: PDF, 1 slide/page, color. This supports the college’s effort to move toward electronic notes. This recommendation is also meant to help reduce time and effort that instructors often spend on preparing lecture materials in multiple formats. It’s important for students to understand that faculty receive multiple requests asking for slides and notes in very particular formats. They simply cannot accommodate all of the requests.

We want you, the students, to know that you often have control over how you see and print PDFs. It is part of self-directed learning and allows you to control the way you use course materials to study.

This particular format has several advantages to you as students:

  • PDFs can be viewed on modern devices without needing to install additional applications.
  • PDFs are designed to be portable and are often smaller in file size than PowerPoint files. This is great for individuals with slower home internet and/or metered mobile internet.
  • PDFs are more versatile in terms of accommodating both typed and written notes. Based on research findings, we recommend experimenting with taking electronic notes by hand (using a stylus on your iPad, for example).
  • The 1 slide/page, color format allows for easier modifications and/or printing options if necessary.

Based on some common requests, we have put together a list of tips:

  • For printing: The Print dialogue in Adobe Reader, which is a free download, allows you to adjust printing preference such as color, front-and-back, and multiple pages/slides per sheet. Depending on the system you are using, such as MacOS, you may also be able to export a new PDF files with the desired changes mentioned above.
  • For taking electronic notes: Annotation apps often allow you to adjust the color of your written or typed annotations, create (text) boxes with specified background color, and so on. You may also be able to add comments on the PDF, which creates markers at your desired locations that you can expand or collapse.
  • If you absolutely need to edit the PDF itself, you might find some success with Microsoft Word 2013/2016 for Windows (instructions). Alternatively, you may need to purchase a PDF editing application, such as Adobe Acrobat for PC/laptop (contact TechHub for more information).

The most important advice we can offer is to be flexible, experiment a bit, and find what works best for you. The only way to master your technology is to use/play with it.

Start-of-Semester Ed Tech Tips for Students

  • Double-check your assignment and quiz submissions to make sure that they actually went through! You can also check for this on the Grades page.
  • Quizzes are resumable as long as the time set for taking the quiz is not up. The timer continues when you navigate away from a timed quiz. As soon as the timer is up or it’s past the due time, your attempt will be automatically submitted.
  • While you should always do your best, you can use the What-If Grades functionality to get a sense of how well you need to do for the rest of the semester in order to achieve the final grade that you want.
  • Unless you know what you’re doing, don’t turn off all email notifications from CarmenCanvas! For many of your instructors, this will be the only method they will use to communicate with you regarding your courses. We recommend enabling at least the Announcements and the Conversations notifications. For more information, review this support article by the main campus Carmen team.
  • Download the Canvas app (iOS, Android) to stay connected and to maximize your learning activities on-the-go.
  • If you do not yet have unlimited storage on BuckeyeBox, you may need to activate your account on first.

Optimize Your Learning Workflow With the iPad

The iPad is a wonderful tool for learning in the classroom and on-the-go. There are plenty of free and paid apps, often used together in a workflow, that can potentially greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your learning.

For more information, check out this presentation we gave to the VME-I students as part of their orientation.

Join the Community of Canvas Users

You may already know about Ohio State’s homegrown resource center on everything CarmenCanvas, the ODEE Resource Center. But did you know that there is a worldwide community of Canvas users that is a treasure trove of tips, ideas, and shared resources?

The Canvas Community is an online resource where you can get help, ask questions, share ideas, learn about upcoming changes to Canvas, collaborate with other educators, and so on. Wondering how we know so much about (Carmen)Canvas? We get many of our answers from the wonderful Canvas Guides, lively community discussions, specialized user groups, and/or the frequent CanvasLIVE webinars.

Have an idea or a feature request for the Canvas development team? You can search and vote for feature ideas that others have put forward, or even submit your own. Here is a list of feature requests open for voting that the developers will consider if they receive enough votes!

There are lots more to Canvas Community waiting for you to discover – for example, its game elements such as points and badges, the release notes (which we summarize for you once a month), and much more. We can’t wait to see you on Canvas Community!

What is New in CarmenCanvas (August 2017)

You may have already noticed a plethora of new and/or improved functionalities in CarmenCanvas since  July. Below is a curated list. For more information, check out the release notes from August 5th and August 26th.

For Instructors:

  • Late and missing assignments are now clearly indicated with labels in SpeedGrader.
  • The SpeedGrader should now perform better, especially with large enrollment courses.
For Students:
  • Late and missing assignments are now clearly indicated with labels on the Grades page.
For Everyone:
  • The Discussions index page now shows the until/close date.
  • DocViewer now supports documents with both vertical and horizontal pages.
  • DocViewer now wraps text properly with PowerPoint previews.
  • DocViewer no longer requires comment for point and area annotations.
  • Media previews are no longer available for locked files.
  • The Rich Content Editor now has an “Insert/Edit Media” button that let’s you easily add and edit (embedded) media, instead of having to use the source code editor.