(From the Teaching and Learning Resource Center )
In 2017, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) asked students to share their experiences with Ohio State’s learning management system CarmenCanvas. Overwhelmingly, students said consistency is key. It’s important that all their classes have a corresponding Carmen course, and that all necessary information to succeed in each class—syllabus, assignments, grades, and so on—is easily located within Carmen)
10 Best Practices: Carmen Common Sense
- Upload course syllabus to the Syllabus tab and provide it as a downloadable file
Easy access to course policies makes navigating courses much easier. Instead of scrambling for upcoming assignments, students will have access to a comprehensive resource in a reliable location that provides them with answers to many of the questions they might have regarding their class responsibilities.
- Upload assignments to the Assignments tab with instructions and clear due dates
Uploading assignments to Carmen allows students 24/7 access to their schoolwork and gives them the opportunity to be proactive with their class responsibilities. Additionally, providing clear due dates on the assignments makes it easy for students to keep track of their work outside of the classroom. As an added benefit, when due dates are uploaded, the assignments are automatically loaded into the Carmen calendar which helps students keep track of their assignments on a weekly and monthly basis.
- Enter grades into the Grades tab when grading is complete
Providing grades for students online reduces anxiety and increases classroom transparency. It also allows students to gauge their performance within a class and adjust their habits accordingly.”
- Use a consistent mode of communication and mention it in class.
Using a consistent form of communication (e.g., emails, announcements) makes it easier for students to know exactly where to look when questions arise. Students are not notified regarding Announcements in Carmen unless email notifications are activated and functioning. Even then, many email notifications will be filtered as spam. It is important to let students know which form of communication will be used so that they can make the necessary adjustments.”
- Organize course materials into modules according to content matter.
Modules make it easy for students to follow along with course material. This organization will increase students’ ability to access and utilize necessary course files and decrease the chance that assignments get lost amongst other files.
- Remove unused sidebar tabs.
An overabundance of pages within a course on Carmen may lead to unnecessary confusion for students. Simple removal of unused pages from the course navigation can help students find files quickly with less stress.
- Organize homepage with instructor contact information.
Instructor contact information is universally required by students. An organized home page with this essential information makes it easy for students to initiate conversations with their instructors and increases classroom transparency.
- Utilize clear and consistent naming conventions for assignments and files.
Students are often confused by file and assignment names that are titled according to the week or unnamed entirely. In order to provide clarity, instructors should be mindful of the file name when uploading content to Carmen. For example, instead of naming a file “Week 1,” state what the content of the file is and put it in the Week 1 module.
- Use Open Education Resources (OER) when feasible.
Students often pay hundreds of dollars every semester to acquire necessary learning resources for coursework. This reduces educational accessibility and places limitations on students with lesser financial resources. Instead of using costly learning materials, instructors should make a reasonable effort to provide affordable, open access learning resources. Examples of open access resources include links to lectures on YouTube and library resources.
- Leverage your resources.
Ohio State provides instructors with a wide variety of resources to supplement their courses. For additional information regarding instructional reform and proper usage of Carmen, please consult the below university resources.
The goal of these ten guidelines is to provide students a consistent, predictable experience using Carmen, no matter who is teaching the class or in what modality it is being taught.
For more information and directions on how to implement these practices, see the Carmen Common Sense: Best Practices from the Teaching & Learning Resource Center (TLRC).