In-Person Planning Strategies
Remember, as we gradually return to our campuses, every Buckeye plays an important part in taking care of each other. Be sure to review the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes site for the latest information and safety guidelines.
You can also search the classroom directory to find out what technology and other features are available in your classroom. You may need to work with your college or department if you require additional equipment or accommodations.
In-Person Instruction with Key Carmen Functions
For an in-person class, instructors use Carmen as a hub for the syllabus, class announcements, course materials, and grades, and this robust Carmen course will be valuable for a number of emergency contingencies.
Most or all direct instruction takes place in the classroom through a huge range of teaching methods. Outside of class, students spend time completing homework, studying and working on assignments and group activities.
Carmen as a hub
An overwhelming majority of Ohio State students already use Carmen as their communication hub to access course materials, submit assignments, and check grades and upcoming due dates. Adding your core course materials to Carmen and using announcements for up-to-date communications puts them in a space students are likely to encounter frequently.
Establishing Carmen as the hub for course communication and materials makes adjusting modalities due to illness or emergencies much easier.
Access and inclusion
Having multiple formats and longer intervals to access and engage the course materials (such as recorded lectures, discussion prompts, or videos) improves access and inclusion for students and particularly helps to support students with disabilities, non-native English speakers, and novice learners who may need to view or experience something more than once.
Creating online spaces to practice or compose their thoughts before contributing to an in-person activity or discussion also benefits introverts, non-native English speakers, first generation college students and underrepresented minorities and produces more equitable learning outcomes. This can be accomplished in Carmen before class, or even during class if students are prepared to bring devices.
Asking students to work in Carmen outside of class (with practice quizzes, discussions, homework, etc.) opens opportunities to give feedback to students who may not speak up in class or when your course is too large to personally engage with everyone.
Routinely duplicating the same experience online and in person may lead to decreased attendance and engagement. If you plan to post materials online, use class time for active learning or exploring those materials in a way that adds value to the materials themselves.
Preparing and maintaining an organized presence in Carmen takes time and energy throughout the term. Identifying and focusing on specific core materials you want students to spend extra time with outside of class can make this process more efficient.
Sharing materials or practice opportunities in Carmen only works if students know where and why they should access them. Include your plan for using Carmen in your syllabus and remind students in person early and often about how they should use the Carmen space.
Students may not approach the use of Carmen space and file types as instructors would. Even if the majority of materials will be shared in person, use modules and headers as well as clear files names and organization. This ensures students spend more time using the materials and less time finding them.
In-Person Planning Considerations
At minimum, the expectation at Ohio State is that all courses have a published CarmenCanvas course with the Carmen Key Four in place online:
- Organized course materials in modules
- Gradebook with all course assignments and due dates listed
- Announcements as the main form of communication outside of class
Some or all of the materials shared in class can be posted online for students to access beyond the scheduled class time. Other materials may appear only online or only in person.
Students may not expect to use Carmen substantively in an in-person course—plan to have the space set up before the first day and spend time explaining how you want them to use it, and why.
Pre-work or other online activities can deepen student engagement and help instructors make the most of the in-class time together, but these activities need to be planned ahead of time.
Review the core teaching strategies below to learn how to adapt to a physically distanced classroom setting.
Choose your core teaching strategies
Sharing materials with students
Remember that even with scheduled face-to-face meetings, many students will need to miss portions of class time due to health limitations and other schedule conflicts. Posting your materials online in Carmen allows students to easily find what was missed and stay on track.
- Students report a preference for instructors to use Modules for course materials, as it allows for easy organization (say, by week or class session). You can share materials such as readings, videos, URL links, and lecture/classroom session recordings with students.
- Establishing Carmen modules as your hub for materials early makes it easy to pivot online if needed.
- Consider updating the file names to make it clear what each file will be and to allow ease of retrieval later in the semester.
- Use text headers or pages to clarify what is required before, during, or after your classroom session.
- For materials you will not personally create, such as readings, films, videos created by others, and external websites, create a page in the weekly module to group like things together. You may have a Read page of all the readings from different sources and another Watch page with all the videos, or instead choose to group a series of readings and videos about the same case study together, for example. Wherever possible, link directly to the required materials and provide some context for how and why you would like students to engage with them.
In a physically distanced classroom, you will need to stay in the instructor designated area near the podium and wear a mask during the full class session, including while lecturing.
- For larger classroom spaces, this may require a microphone for students to hear your voice. Check with your department to make sure there is a microphone available. You may need to provide your own. You may want to practice setting up and using your microphone before the first day and familiarize yourself with the space, if possible.
- Consider whether some or all of your lecture material could be recorded and viewed before class so students can see and hear you without a mask. This also allows classroom time to be used for more active learning. For example, you may choose to have students watch a pre-recorded lecture before class. Then in class, you could review the main points of the lecture and allow students to practice with lecture concepts.
Providing students with practice and application
Learners need opportunities to engage with content in an active way in order to practice applying what they've learned. Feedback from the instructor and peers, as well as through self-reflection, is key to helping students identify the flaws in their thinking. Active learning strategies provide those opportunities for practice and feedback in low-stakes yet high-impact ways.
The physical limitations that you will likely face will create challenges for doing the active learning strategies you may have traditionally included in your courses.
- Use time and space beyond the classroom when possible—ask students to do the collaboration aspects of the activity as homework or devote class time for students to meet outdoors or via Zoom.
- Use time together in the classroom to debrief, report out, show work on the collaborative document, role-play, or screenshare results. You may need to ask students to raise their voices more than usual. Acknowledge that this may feel uncomfortable, and be supportive as your class adjusts.
- If group work must take place in the classroom, the distance between students may make the volume in the room challenging. For group-generated problem-solving, concept mapping, case studies, or similar activities, have students collaborate through text in a shared document or Carmen group discussion.
Engaging students in conversation and reflection
Students need opportunities to interact with peers. Discussing content with peers not only helps students feel like they belong in a community of their learners, but the social aspect of the learning process also helps students make sense of the material, surface misunderstandings, problem solve, and develop ideas together. Making space for students to ask questions is also important as it allows you to assess whether you need to review a concept, go slower, go into more depth, or move through content faster. Getting feedback early on allows you and your students to adapt to changing needs and conditions. It also helps students feel like an important member of the classroom community.
- If you are in a space where students cannot pragmatically talk to and hear each other, consider having them use a collaborative document (Word 365 for example) where they can capture their ideas and discussion points.
- As the students work, the collaborative document allows you to keep an eye on their work so you can monitor their progress and see themes across the small group discussions.
- In a physically distanced room, you can still ask students to raise their hands or simply interject their questions throughout the class session.
- To collect feedback from your students, you can ask them to complete an anonymous survey in an ungraded Carmen quiz.
- Consider getting feedback several times in the term, with particular emphasis on the first few weeks or no later than the middle of the term. Ask about struggles they may be having with learning in this course, aspects of the course that are helping them learn, and about suggestions they have.
- Alternatively, ask them about specific components of the course (Carmen organization, content, lectures, group project, etc.) if you are looking for feedback on certain parts of the course. Keep the focus on learning, not on what they like or dislike.
Regardless of modality, all courses are required to use a Carmen Gradebook as part of the Carmen Key Four. The Gradebook is created by publishing Carmen Assignments for each graded assignment, discussion, quiz, or exam students will complete.
- Include the due date for each assignment item to populate the course calendar within Carmen.
- Whenever possible, give students realistic timelines for when they can expect work to be graded and what type of feedback will be given.
- Be flexible and aware of student needs and access. Allow multiple formats for assignments when possible, such as allowing a discussion post to be video or text, or a problem set to be typed or photographed from handwritten paper.
- Have a flexible plan for how you will accept late work if students become ill or are otherwise disrupted.
- Remember that even with scheduled face-to-face meetings, you will need to have assignment information readily available both in person and online. Many students will need to miss portions of class time due to health and other limitations.
- Giving clear, explicit directions for the steps in the assignment, what should be included, academic integrity guidelines and links to any needed student supports will help students meet your expectations and reduce time spent clarifying via email. Using the Keep Teaching template provides a quick start for what to include in an online assignment.
- Repeat any reminders or updates about assignments made in class using Carmen announcements.
- Even if you have accepted physical paper assignment submissions in the past, in the interest of safety, we strongly recommend using online submissions through Carmen for all student work whenever possible. Many math equations can be created in Carmen quizzes using LaTeX symbols. For some assignments, such as complex formulas, sketches, or diagrams, there are creative solutions and software resources to reduce the barrier for online creation and submissions.
- For work that must be submitted using physical materials, make a plan for procedures to ensure that materials aren't handled by multiple people in the classroom or shared or reviewed without adequate safety precautions. For example, leave a collection box by the door for them to deposit papers as they enter or leave.
- Plan to give student grades and feedback in Carmen and try to avoid returning student work in class. It will be difficult to quarantine materials you have handled.