usg, undergrad student government

Kate Greer, USG President Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Managing Editor for Multimedia

An initiative to motivate Ohio State faculty to make CarmenCanvas a more useful and intuitive resource for students has been forged through a partnership between Undergraduate Student Government and University Senate.

In May, USG launched the Carmen Common Sense initiative in partnership with University Senate’s Distance Education, Libraries and Information Technology Committee, which provides Carmen tips and criteria for Ohio State faculty to consider in hopes of making the course management system more useful and less stressful for students. 

Carmen Common Sense provides 10 tips including how to upload a syllabus in the preferred format and delete unused tabs.

The criteria for the tips were developed in part from a USG survey of more than 200 students. Students said Carmen would be more useful to them if professors posted the class syllabus online, incorporated due dates for all assignments and released grades in a timely manner, USG President Kate Greer said. 

Although every class has the ability to have a Carmen page, not all professors personalize or add files to the site, associate professor of clinical communication and chair of the DELIT Committee Nicole Kraft said. 

Greer and Kraft said they hope the implementation of Carmen Common Sense will help faculty better engage with students through their Carmen pages. 

“It makes us frustrated,” Greer said. “If there is zero Carmen presence from a professor … It’s stressful and it’s disengaging.”  

Students will be the main beneficiaries of the Carmen Common Sense initiative, but professors and faculty will also have something to gain from it, too, Kraft said, as incoming professors currently receive little training on how to effectively use Carmen. 

“[New professors] come in three weeks before the semester and they have to put [a course] together,” Kraft said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. You don’t know how to do it and it takes a lot of time to do it well.” 

Carmen Common Sense will help familiarize professors and teach them how to use the digital tools afforded by Carmen, Kraft said.  

Later this month, an award for professors who have the most effective Carmen pages will be created, Greer and Kraft said. Students will be able to nominate their professors for the award, and professors will be able to self-nominate.  

Greer and Kraft said they hope the award will encourage more professors to follow the 10 criteria presented in Carmen Common Sense and students to provide meaningful feedback on their professors’ online presence.