Cheating is Natural
How’s that for a sensationalist title?
This post is spurred on by a trend resulting from remote teaching. Students and faculty that are not familiar with remote teaching can fall into some common issues not seen with face-to-face instruction. Many of these issues are salient in our student’s (lack of) understanding material, and we have taken great pains to facilitate learning on their terms.
Yes, you can make an argument for a change in academic rigor, but being flexible can mean the difference between a graduate and a dropout.
But this isn’t my primary point. Incidence rates of academic misconduct have been on the rise. But before we leap to conclusion about the crumbling moral infrastructure of society, I’d like to point some things out.
When developing a new course there are many different components that we must piece together, from writing lectures and filming videos to conjuring homework assignments and debugging exam questions. Self-check exercises are an important tool for student retention that can be easily overlooked in the tedious process of new course development.
Benefits for Students
The benefits of self-check opportunities for students are numerous. These exercises can be given in small quantities in a low pressure environment. This makes it easier for students to initially engage with new material as opposed to, for example, procrastinating an ominous heavily-weighted homework assignment.
Ok, everyone, raise your hand if you have your hands full. (get it? …sorry)
We are all jugglers in life; trying to keep a number of things in the air without letting them drop, but never having enough hands to guide each thing through its entire journey. We decide when an item needs our attention and which we can let fly for a little longer. Hopefully, the time you do get with each will set it up for a long, true flight and not need your constant support and guidance.
Just like the expert jugglers, our tasks aren’t all created equal, and that medicine ball that’s in the mix is always taking more time to control than we want. So what can we do? Not to wax nihilistic, but Sisyphus may suggest to sing “Don’t worry, Be happy” by Bobby McFerrin. OR, we could take a more comfortable, controlling approach to how we handle these tasks. Continue reading
The OSU Instructional Support teams have really stepped up and used this opportunity to strengthen the cadre of resources available to faculty to support teaching excellence. They are now putting out bi-weekly “Timely Teaching Tips” with new ideas for you to consider implementing in your classes and timely reminders to help keep both faculty and students as engaged as possible while we’re remote. Here is a list of recorded training sessions as well as the Timely Teaching Tips for weeks 4 & 5! I especially like the reminder to solicit mid-term teaching feedback (you can set up a non-grading, anonymous survey using the “quiz” feature in Canvas), how students can set up remote study groups, and the instructions for creating rubrics to grade work submitted through Canvas. Rubrics are extremely helpful for students to understand how they will be assessed and make your grading work much easier and more objective.
I have been reflecting on the types of students we have in our classrooms this term, especially as it relates to their level of “comfort” with technology as their primary tool for learning. “Comfort” is a tricky word in this context. For most of us as instructors, we learned in an environment completely or mostly devoid of technology as we know it today. In middle school, the first PET computer I learned on required me to insert a cassette tape and wait up to an eternity for the program to load. Then came the first Apple computer, dot matrix printers, and the rest is history.
The difference between “then” and “now” is pretty obvious when it comes to technology. Think about the difference though, between Gen Z students and millennial students. The last birth year for millennials is 1996, with Gen Z-ers born in 1997 and beyond. (I’ve heard that those born today may be called “Gen C.” I can’t even imagine what life will be like for them yet). Continue reading