Plagiarism in Online Learning

Detecting and combating plagiarism from Web-based sources is a concern for administrators and instructors involved in online distance education (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). Many educators use various software to ensure that students are writing scholarly papers, using their own ideas. Also, when students use the ideas of others, it is important that they are giving credit to their sources. One of the biggest issues I’ve heard students have is that they aren’t taught the proper way to site their sources, which even if a plagiarism software is used, it may detect sources that were used inappropriately. Educators have always been concerned with upholding standards of academic integrity among individuals engaged in scholarly pursuit (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).

Two of the plagiarism detection software that are available to online instructors are, Turnitin, and Plagium. Both software are great tools for instructors to use, however it is important to let students know that using the software should be seen as more of a tool for them as well. Through the use of Turnitin, I learned how to better construct my papers, and site my sources in text as well as in my reference list. As a student, I like how it shows exactly what passage is being flagged, and gives a list of places where it was used before. Plagium is more of a tool that instructors will use to detect plagiarism. Instructors can copy and paste up to 250 characters to see if there are any matches, and the service is free of charge. While recognizing the importance of plagiarism detection, we are also interested in prevention (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).

As a future online instructor I believe that in order to reduce to opportunity for students to cheat or plagiarize, I have to make sure they understand the effects that it could have on their academic progression. Students need to know that there will be consequences for their actions. Because academic integrity involves the development of behavior that reflects moral values, educators’ responsibility for addressing plagiarism may go beyond shielding students from copyright infringement (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). There could also be grounds for expulsion from the University, with a derogatory plagiarism make on the student’s transcript that will follow them. As a professor, I would want to make sure my students understand what is at stake, as well as share with them the many tools that can help them with their scholarly writing, such as the writing center, various websites, and technology.

Reference

Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1–15.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. 

Online Teaching and Technology.

In today’s classroom’s, technology is a very important tool to use. Many students bring laptops, tablets, cell phones, and other device to class and instructors are now tapping into those devices many various functions to enhance the learning environment. There are also hundreds and even thousands of websites, blogs, open classrooms, videos, social network sites and etc. that can be used in the classroom as well. Technology can be very useful for first time for people like myself, who are new to teaching, especially in the online realm. Entering into the world of online teaching and learning can create uncertainty and trepidation, and even a feeling of being overwhelmed as you venture into a world of unfamiliar tools and students at a distance (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).

The impact that technology can have on adult learning could be huge. Many adults have been out of the classroom for some time, and getting back into the swing of things can be a huge task. However, with technology at their fingertips, it will make learning much easier, and manageable, especially for those with hectic lives and schedules. Remember too, that tools are constantly changing, but usually they are also getting much easier and many of them are free (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). To an adult learner, easy and free and like magic words. We already have a lot to juggle in our personal and professional lives, the last thing we want or need is complicated in our school lives.

Before incorporating technology into the classroom, instructors need to be aware of the different types of learners you have and their unique individual learning styles. I don’t think it would be appropriate to introduce advanced technology into the classroom if the students may not be prepared. Boettcher & Conrad (2010) state that “just as in the classroom, you will develop a sense of what is right for a particular group of learners.” Usability and accessibility are intrinsically linked; the lower the level of accessibility of the resource for an individual, the less usable it will be for them (Cooper, 2007). These two are especially important for adult learners. We are impatient learners, and if something if not user friendly and difficult to access, we will clam up and give up. I have also experienced that with students who are disabled, this can be an issue. The main challenge in accessibility is responding to the diversity of the ways different users interact with a computer environment (Cooper, 2007).

As a future online educator, I like the idea of having hundreds of technologies to turn to for teaching. This also scares the living crap out of me. With basically a smogashboard of technology out there, where do you begin, and how do you know what your students will like and be receptive to? According to Boettcher and Conrad (2010), the best approach for teaching a first online course is to keep it simple. I like the idea of students using a blog. One of the reasons for this, is that it will be something they can always come back. They will be able to look to their peers for insight, and even years later it will still be there. I also would use open classrooms, because it allows students to gage exactly what other universities may be teaching their students, and if they see something from a different perspective they may understand it better.

References

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cooper, M., Colwell, C., & Jelfs, A. (2007). Embedding accessibility and usability: Considerations for e-learning research and development projectsALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 15(3), 231–245.

Multimedia in the Classroom

Using multimedia resources in the classroom has pretty much become a staple. Many students are efficient in using the resources, and they are a very effective teaching tool. I think that anything that will enhance the learning experience is necessary. We are teaching more forward thinking, innovating, and technologically savvy individuals, and to stay ahead of the learning curve, instructors must come out of the dark ages. Long gone are trips to a physical library to research, many students have a mass of resources right at their finger-tips.

TeacherTube.com

TeacherTube is an online community for sharing instructional resources for teaching, including videos, audios, docs, photos.

I think resources such as TeacherTube are vastly benefical for instructors and their students. Being able to share with instructors around the world different lesson plans to enhance the learning experience is great. I’ve always wanted to know what other states are teaching their students who are on the same level. This type of resource allows for that, and not only just other states, but other countries around the globe. Watching videos, listening to audio lectures, everything is all there for you to learn from and bring back into the classroom for your own learners.

iTunes U -Over 800 universities have active iTunes U sites, and nearly half of these institutions — including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and UC Berkeley — distribute their content publicly on the iTunes Store. In addition, cultural and education institutions, such as the Library of Congress, public broadcasting organizations, and state departments of education, also contribute to this growing educational content repository. iTunes U is the ideal resource for educators who want to gain insight into curriculum being taught worldwide, get access to primary resources, and find inspiration for enhancing teaching and learning with technology.

Overall I think that having multimedia resources are great, however as I mentioned before, they are just a tool. One of my concerns is that instructors may become to dependent on these resources, and much of the personalized instruction will go out the window. There has to be balance. Yes, take advantage of each resource, but make them your own, and make sure the interaction amongst students doesn’t suffer.

Setting up Effective Online Learning Experiences

When setting up an online effective learning experience, there are several approaches that can be helpful. One thing that is extremely important is to demonstrate patience. Boettcher and Conrad (2010) suggest, be patient with yourself as you develop online teaching skills. Also be patient with your students as they develop online learning skills that often mean that they must become more active learners and take more responsibility for what they know and the skills and values they want to develop.

I would also want to get to know my students by asking them to do introductory bios. I believe getting to know your students will also give insight on their learning styles and abilities. Every student will learn differently, so tailoring a teaching style that is most beneficial to each learner can be very critical. Many adult learners have been out of school for several years, and getting back into a structured learning environment could prove difficult. This is why I feel it is important to get to know your students and tailor your approach to them. Also it helps to refer to those bios throughout the course and start using students’ names in your responses; it makes a difference, and gives them a sense that you know them and are reaching out and touching them personally (Laureate, 2012).

Clear and ambiguous guidelines about what is expected of learners and what they should expect from an instructor make a significant contribution to ensuring understanding and satisfaction in an online course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Whenever I begin a new course I always read everything the instructor has posted, and familiarize myself with the syllabus. This way I understand what I am expected to complete, and what their policies are as it effects things that concern me. These things are important because it makes for a cohesive learning environment, and ensures there aren’t any gray areas.

As stated before, I think the major consideration that instructors should take into account when dealing with adult learners is the learning curve. You may have students who are young, very tech savvy and already know how online learning works. Then there will be students who are older, may have been out of school for a while, so not only are they new to online learning, they may need help readjusting to structured learning as a whole. There has to be balance when dealing with these separate learning abilities, and it will take a great educator to make sure they can handle it all.

References

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Launching the online learning experience.Baltimore, MD: Author.

Essential elements for online learning communities

Throughout my college days I have had many situations that were great experiences. However there has been a few that make it hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and as an online learner it can become difficult if there isn’t good communication within your online community. Each course I’ve taken has been different, but I can’t help but get the feeling that some professors are allowing students to mostly “teach themselves” instead of being a visible and helpful tool throughout. Instructor presence is vital to create in an online course, because without it, the class becomes an impersonal experience guided only by text and the other electronic medium (Hathcock, 2012). I want my online community to be one filled with students who are eager to learn from each other, as well as professors who care to make sure their students are well equipped once they are finished in that course.

An online course is like walking into a foreign land with an entire map laid out, but having no sense of the land’s origin or how to navigate the terrain (Hathcock, 2012). In an online community it is important that those involved are open to learning new things, and also willing to keep in mind that there is always more than one way to learn the material. A good online instructor works to ensure that each element of the course builds upon the course objectives and works in conjunction with one another, rather than as separate pieces (Hathcock, 2012). However an online course doesn’t stop at what the professor can offer the students, it’s also about what each individual can add to the class as a whole.

Online communities can be sustained by making sure they offer a multitude of information that is relevant, up to date, and interesting. Also the interaction amongst those involved has to stay high. If there are always fresh and new topics, people will remain interested. I also think that there has to be a level of respect for everyone so that no one’s opinion will be shunned, or discredited. You don’t always have to agree with what someone is saying, however respect that there are people whose thoughts and feelings are different from your own, and instead of being rude about it, try to see what you can learn from someone else’s different perspective.

Effective online instruction is the heart and soul of community building. In order to engage students, professors have to keep their approach fresh and make themselves available. I wouldn’t want to be a part of an online community where I am not able to talk with my instructor, it makes me feel like I am not a priority, which in turn will reduce the effort I put forth in the end. All in all, building a great online community first starts with a roadmap for success. We all contribute to the navigation, but the professor creates the direction.

Reference

Hathcock, D. (2012). Mapping Success: Essential Elements of an Effective Online Learning Community. Online Education. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/mapping-success-essential-elements-of-an-effective-online-learning-experience/

Games: How to make learning fun!

Introduced as a formal teaching strategy more than 75 years ago, gaming offers many advantages over more traditional teaching methods. “Games connect theory more closely to real life situation and add innovation, diversity, and the opportunity for immediate feedback (Henry, 1997).” As a future adult educator I feel that using games in the classroom as a tool to enhance the learning environment will be great for the students. Learning can sometimes seem complicated and forced. I feel that if I bring games into my curriculum it will allow for a much more pleasant learning environment and increase the overall success of my students.

One of the games I would want to incorporate in the classroom is Ruzzle. This is a word game that is fast-paced, and the player must find different word combinations based off a board of seemingly random letter. Ruzzle keeps the mind moving, and adults can learn how to quickly create words which helps in overall vocabulary enhancement. I think one of the challenges is that once someone begins to play the game, it can get boring quickly. As an educator, I would want to implement challenges among students so that they are staying stimulated and the game remains fun and they continue to learn from it.

Gaming as whole in the classroom will benefit the student’s and make for a fun-filled learning environment. Games provide a fresh, enjoyable learning experience for content often viewed as relatively dry, boring material (Henry, 1996).

References

Henry, J. (1997). Gaming: a teaching theory to enhance adult learning. J Contin Educ Nurs, 28(5).

Henry, M., Johnson, B., Ziemba, J. (1996). Encore performance. Discovering new directions in gaming. J Contin Educ Nurs,12 (6).

Mobile Learning in the Classroom

Mobile Learning in the Classroom

There is a sense of anticipation in higher education technology circles these days, a feeling of prickly excitement that hasn’t been experienced since the heady days of the dot-com boom (Wagner, 2005). Mobile learning concepts have taken over the classrooms. Most teachers are merely trying to keep up with the ever-changing technology in order to stay relevant with what students want and need to learn. Long gone are they days where books and videos are our only source of educational tools. Now we have so many outlets to choose from, it can get a bit over-whelming. Stream-lining a process and choosing mobile technologies that work best for your curriculum is the best way a teacher can be proficient in what they aim to offer their students.

Tablets in the Classroom

The growing use of mobile technology on college campuses suggests the future of the classroom, including learning activities, research, and even student faculty communications, will rely heavily on mobile technology (Rossing, 2012). Tablets are becoming more acceptable in the classroom. Tablet such as the Apple IPad, or the Samsung Galaxy not only give students the ability to stay ahead of the curve of innovating technologies, but it really allows them to learn interactively. IPads have been used for in-class learning activities and assessment, for communication, for research support, and much more (Rossing, 2012). As a future adult educator I plan to incorporate tablets into my classrooms. Learning with mobile technology allows students, to expand discussion and investigation beyond the walls of the classroom; it enables students to collaborate and create knowledge and to interact with a larger range of content (Rossing, 2012).

Podcast time

Podcast can possibly be one of the best mobile learning technologies for students. I believe that in the classroom they will enhance the learning experience because not only can students listen to the podcast for the current class, they are also able to listen anytime they need to. This helps with studying for exams as well. Students have the ability to listen to the podcast on their own time to refresh their selves of material. A great example of a podcast that could help students is, ITunes University, a website with downloadable educational podcasts, can provide students the opportunity to obtain professors’ lectures when students are unable to attend class (McKinney, 2009). As a future adult educator I would like to be able to use podcast for those reasons. Also, using podcast as an online professor will be great as well. I know that sometimes students in online courses can feel disconnected from their professors and classmates. Using podcast will help make learners feel more connected overall.

References

McKinney, D., Dyck, J., Luber, E. (2009). ITunes University and the Classroom: Can Podcasts replaces Professors? Computer & Education, 52 (3).

Rossing, J., Miller, W., Cecil, A., Stamper, S. (2012). iLearning: The future of higher education? Student perceptions on learning with mobile tablets. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 12 (2).

Wagner, E. (2005). Enabling Mobile Learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 40, (3)