Plagiarism and the Adult Learner

Using another’s written work either by blatant copy-and-paste or by poor paraphrasing amounts to the same thing :  plagiarism.  When I taught high school mathematics, I assigned a report on a famous mathematician and I was pleased with the results.  As I tapped the set of papers on my desk to straighten them out, I noticed one report was shorter than the others – the bottom of each page had been cut off.  I quickly did a search for a sentence in the report and discovered the entire paper online.  This student had simply cut off the reference information that was printed at the bottom of each page.  Needless to say I checked the rest of the papers as well and thankfully, found no further plagiarism.

When I started to do some research into adult online learners and plagiarism, I was hoping that being an adult implied a higher sense of integrity.  However, plagiarism was still an issue and it really does not matter if they are online or not.  Detection software is the key to deterring it.  All written work is available electronically and can be subjected to an online plagiarism checker, such as TurnItIn.  An interesting article about a study at Penn State’s World Campus in the Geographic Information Systems certificate program discusses Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A case study in detection and remediation. Well worth reading!

How do you handle plagiarism in your courses, online or face-to-face?


Workstation Ergonomics and a Heating Pad

I am sitting here with a heating pad on my back from pulling out tacks from my now carpetless bedroom floor.  When I sat down at my desk with this aching back, I was not comfortable in my chair at all.  I am short (5’2″) and my desk is not :).  I adjusted my chair the best I could and added a stool for my dangling feet.  It struck me that with all this online learning, we need to address the comfort factor of the workstation at which students and teachers are sitting.  It can be very difficult to focus when your body is not comfortable.  I found an informative OSHA site at the Department of Labor that explains all the ins and outs of the ergonomics of the workstation.  Make sure you hover your mouse over the phrases to the right of the picture of the woman sitting at her desk to see how the alignment works.  Btw, I am seriously considering sawing down the legs of my desk this weekend!

What is it about your working area that gives/gave you the most trouble?

How Higher Education Uses Social Media – Infographic

Here is an easy-to-understand infographic on how colleges can and do use social media.  Teachers need to get on board with these tools to expand the classroom outside of the physical or virtual boundaries of the class.  This is a great way to add current content that builds upon what is being studied in class and to continue to engage students with the teacher, each other, and the topics.

Writing that Bio

It can be difficult to write a short elevator-speech type bio.  I found How to Write Your Bio for a Byline or Query by Suzannah Windsor Freeman in her blog Write It Sideways.  In my search, this was the best one that explained what to include and what not to include as well as providing several good examples.  So when you are asked to give that short bio online, this is a good place to start.