I want to make good on my promise from May 6th to share more information from the Hybrid Workshop we hosted this term. Specifically, the topic of content mapping, or “backward course design” is one that at best, may completely revolutionize your course, and at worst, may validate what you’re already doing well.

Think of the components of your course like wheels on a car. If they’re not all pointing in the same direction, the car, like your course, will shake wildly and the passengers (your students) will wonder what on earth is going on. Similarly, if we don’t align our learning activities with our learning outcomes, students will question the purpose of the assignments and you may end up wasting valuable time assessing something that isn’t important to the course.

To avoid this misalignment and keep your course tracking, use this template, which guides you to: Continue reading

Last week I wrote about some of the online resources that students sometimes use to cheat or otherwise “assist” themselves in university classes, without your permission. I heard from a few of you who lamented, along with me, that these resources even exist. Our best course of action as educators is to use “cheat proof” best practices in the design of our courses and assignments to keep our students accountable.

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. It starts with your syllabus. Including the Student Conduct Expectations link is required, but consider taking it a step further. Spell out what is allowed and not allowed in your class, and discuss this on DAY 1. Some of our faculty include statements such as: “Use of online resources or prior students’ work that provide answers to homework or exam questions is cheating and will result in an F in the course.” Can’t get much clearer than that. Continue reading

I spent most of Friday at an Academic Integrity Symposium in Corvallis and what I learned was eye-opening, if not depressing. I posted about this topic once already but the number of academic misconduct cases I’m seeing is definitely on the rise and I learned a little bit about why that might be. I also learned about (more) strategies that we as instructors can use to discourage or prevent cheating and plagiarism in our classes. This is a big topic, so I will break this up into two posts.

There is no question that this generation of students has grown up in a culture where they have witnessed powerful, influential people “cheat” with little to no consequence. There are many companies who market opportunities to cheat directly to students, not to mention the fact that this generation of students has ALWAYS used the internet to “find” an answer to a question…just ask Google. In some countries, it is perfectly acceptable to not cite your online sources, because you are the one who “did the research” to locate them. It’s no wonder that America’s universities are experiencing erosion in academic conduct.

Here are some online cheating resources that I’m sure our students know about, and we should to: Continue reading

For those of you who missed the Hybrid Workshop on Friday with Cub Kahn, all is not lost. I’m going to talk about some of the most important topics that we covered over the next few weeks. The workshop was as much about hybrid course design as it was about GOOD course design, which means whether we teach in a hybrid format or not, we can all learn something. For the workshop notes with links to many of the handouts we used in the class, click here! I can answer questions or chat over a cup of coffee with anyone who is interested.

One of the topics that came up is how to make the most of ONLINE DISCUSSIONS. Canvas has an excellent interface for online discussions and they’re really easy to set up. So why would you want to include online discussions in your face-to-face class? Because they’re powerful! You will find that students engage with each other in ways they don’t in class. The quiet students will burst forth with the most insightful posts and comments, and in my experience, students are very encouraging towards each other. Our students are very used to this type of digital communication. We may not be, but it’s very natural to them so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
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