The Office of the Chief Information Officer recently launched a major update to Carmen, Ohio State’s online learning management system. The update, which expands on OCIO's Year of eLearning efforts, includes significantly redesigned user tools, which presents a great opportunity for instructors to learn more about these new and enhanced tools and broaden their use of Carmen.
For instructors, the updated system includes new tools and improvements to existing tools that increase efficiency in designing new courses and re-using existing courses. A Course Builder tool and an Instructional Design wizard should be useful as faculty develop supplemental online materials or move quarter-based or new semester-based courses online. Another new tool allows instructors and course coordinators to easily manage dates associated with material that has been copied from one term’s course site to another’s.
"I am really excited to see the potential that a mobile interface to Carmen can provide. It has been something that has been a desired change to the system on many students' lists, and gives the ability to interact with a course and materials in a way that represents how they use technology. I am also extremely pleased to see the inclusion of an eportfolio option," said Wayne Carlson, vice provost of Undergraduate Studies and dean of Undergraduate Education, adding, "This has a lot of implications to academic assessment as well as to a student's ability to present the impact of the educational process."
Updates to Carmen include:
- Revised navigation bars. The entire banner area, including the navigation bars, are now resizable as users add additional tools, adjust font sizes or browser windows.
- New course building tools. Features include a new drag-and-drop interface for course materials, an instructional design wizard, and a course design accelerator that streamlines the process of course creation.
- Improved support for mobile devices. This feature allows students to view Carmen content, news, schedule, and grades from mobile devices. The interface is not device dependent; it’s compatible with most smartphones, including iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. The improved support for mobile devices allows us to fulfill a much-requested functionality from recent Undergraduate Student Government poll results.
- Accessibility improvements. The system is now more accessible to people who use adaptive technologies such as screen readers. The National Federation of the Blind has awarded these improvements a "Gold Level" of recognition.
- Improvements to other existing tools. The ability to manage files more efficiently, the option to set multiple conditions for release of items and then choose whether students must meet all or any of the listed conditions, improvements to the HTML editor, and time zone support.
- Numerous other minor fixes and interface updates to existing tools are listed on the Carmen update page at elearning.osu.edu/carmen-help/common/dec2010update.htm.
"We continually work to improve our services, responding to feedback and working with the vendor to improve the Ohio State online learning management system," said Travis Ritter, associate director for Learning Technology. "This update includes a range of new features for faculty and students."
For more information about the update, visit elearning.osu.edu/carmen-help/common/dec2010update.htm.