eLearning Technology Blog

Academic Integrity and Plagarism concerns

by Rebecca 27. October 2011 09:33

 I received a call this morning regarding a student who has been, allegedly, plagiarizing his way through his courses. Coincidentally, this is Academic Integrity Week! So it seemed an appropriate time to blog about Academic Integrity, or lack thereof, most specifically about plagiarism.

Academic integrity is critical to the integrity of the University, and Academy as a whole. And yet, all indicators suggest that plagiarism, and other forms of cheating, are on the rise in colleges and universities across the country, on campus as well as online. It is important to note here, there is no evidence suggesting that plagiarism is a greater problem online than in the traditional classroom, but that the problem is growing in both environments. It is critical, then, that we look to ways to stem this tide. Decreasing the incidence of cheating requires changing the culture so that it is not overlooked or accepted as the new normal. 

We can start by changing the culture in our classrooms (on campus and online). Ask your students to sign, or commit to, an Academic Honesty policy. Research suggests this really does make a difference. 

There are free plagiarism checkers, but as with all things online, you’ll need to be a critical consumer. I tried "Grammarly"

http://www.grammarly.com/ with a slice of text directly copied and pasted from a Website, but Grammarly found the text to be original. On the other hand, "The Plagiarism Checker" http://www.dustball.com/cs/plagiarism.checker/ found the original source immediately. There are several others you can try. I have heard that some departments have purchased tools for their instructors to use.

There are also a number of ideas for instructors to build assignments which are difficult to plagiarize, that build on personal experience and individual perceptions. A recent edition of Faculty Focus, a free online resource we find extremely helpful, provides a number of tips for preventing, or reducing the opportunity for plagiarism and cheating in the classroom (both online and face to face).

http://www.facultyfocus.com/free-reports/promoting-academic-integrity-in-online-education/ .

Really Simple Rubric Based Scoring for Large Classes

by theron 10. October 2011 09:24

Recently, a faculty member teaching a large class asked for a simple way to give students rubric based feedback that would automatically convert to a score in the grade book. The Rubric tool in Angel provides an effective way to do this.

So how do you do it?

First, using the rubric wizard, create a rubric with detailed weighting for each dimension (see the partial rubric below).

Then, while grading, the TA or instructor simply clicks on the cells containing the language that best describes the student’s work.

What the student sees:
The student sees the rubric and can refer to it as they work on the assignment. After the assignment is graded, the student sees the criteria that are selected by the Instructor highlighted in blue along with their score (see below).

Click here for an expanded version of the rubric, or click on this icon  in the bottom right-hand corner of the window below.

Finally, the score is automatically added to the grade book.

A big challenge in large classes is the consistency of scoring and feedback among multiple TAs. This method provides a constant reference point for TAs and Instructors to consult repeatedly as they monitor student learning.  Moreover, students are able to reference the criteria and reflect on their own learning as they become better judges of quality in their own and others’ work. As Richard Stiggins says, we have an obligation to “Provide students with continuous access to descriptive (versus evaluative or judgmental) feedback; that is, information that helps them to see how to improve the quality of their work. This requires student engagement in repeated self assessments so they can watch themselves successfully negotiating the road to competence.” 1  The Large class presents a unique challenge in providing frequent and rich feedback to students. This method of assessment is easy to use, scalable and provides evidence of student learning that is relevant and actionable for the instructor, TAs and students. One of the TA’s recently commented, “I love the ease of the rubric, it makes grading very swift.”

Please visit the eLearning Services website for more ideas.

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