USG Students Work with University Members to Create an Improved Online Learning Experience with Carmen

Todd and Adler presented the list to staff and faculty from Ohio State and beyond at Innovate in May 2019.

Students have so much power at Ohio State. Their voices can be heard by faculty, staff, instructors and deans all over the university, and all it takes is one unified cause. What’s a common denominator among all students? They use CarmenCanvas for their classes. 

However, Adler Pierce and Todd Borgerson, two students involved in Undergraduate Student Government (USG), explained that Carmen pages almost never look the same despite the same platform; files can be found in different sections, due dates may or may not be included or a document might be named improperly, among many other patterns. 

“When Carmen pages aren’t set up intuitively or aren’t there at all, this can cause a lot of stress for students. We spend so much time outside the classroom on Carmen, so if it’s causing stress, it’s making it harder for us to learn,” said Adler. 

After USG students realized there was a massive inconsistency in Carmen usage, they wanted to create a baseline. After meeting with groups of students, Carmen Common Sense was created. 

This list contains 10 actionable suggestions for instructors to reference when building Carmen pages. For example, USG strongly suggests instructors use a consistent mode of communication, upload their syllabus to the “Syllabus” tab and remove any unused tabs. These students brainstormed the ideas, but they met with faculty and staff to refine the list and make it an easy-to-use resource. 

Valerie Rake, Associate Director for eLearning Support was just one of many that provided guidance to the USG team.  

“What I like about this is that this message is coming from students. Instead of IT telling faculty how to create a page, it’s students saying what they need,” said Valerie. 

Once the Carmen Common Sense list was shared online, the main goal was to share it across the university. 

Todd and Adler presented their work at Innovate, which can be viewed onlineAfter presenting the list and why it’s important for students to have consistency, Innovate attendees assured USG that this list was a great start to improve the student experience with technology.  

“Feedback is so crucial in continuing to develop this list. If faculty give us feedback, we can change the list to be more specific or create a standardized form of communication,” Adler said. 

Todd and Adler both agreed that the university has been very supportive.  

“Everyone is enthusiastic and willing to share it online and in newsletters,” Adler mentioned. 

Moving forward, students faculty and staff can all use this list to interact with one another and make learning with technology even more beneficial.  

As Todd and Adler have demonstrated, students can make a difference in teaching and learning practices at Ohio State. Every bit of feedback is incredibly valuable. Valerie reminds students that if they ever have problems with Carmen, they should go to both their instructor and the IT Service Desk. If there are bigger or recurring issues, the Carmen Support Team will reach out to the instructor directly to review best practices to improve student learning.