Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Labour-saving Devices?

Particularly in large organisations, IT applications have become a required part of our daily routine.

Many educators have noted that the ease of finding information on the internet has resulted in many students taking the easy way out of research, even when they know better, and copying and pasting large sections of other people's work into their own, rather than expressing the ideas in their own way and acknowledging the contribution made by others to their understanding, as is the norm in the academic world. Because of this tendency, applications such as "turnitin", a web-based service that compares the submitted piece of work with previously published and submitted work, was designed to make it fairly quick and simple for a teacher to identify plagiarised work.
Predictably, when large organisations discover, and pay for, such a service the practice of checking students' work for suspected plagiarism becomes a required practice for ALL students rather than a quick check for the minority who have clearly cheated.

When we add another routine, such as using a web-based hosting service (like Moodle) which organises and displays course material, as well as allowing students to submit assignments, we almost inevitably come across issues of incompatibility between the two systems.

With this in mind I recently prepared a Prezi that shows how to take the assignments handed in by students into Moodle, and quickly & easily submit them to turnitin.com.

What took no time at all before we had these great labour-saving devices called computers now takes a good 15 minutes per assignment. Of course, none of this would be necessary if we could just trust that the majority of students are doing what they are supposed to do. We don't, because of organisation-think.

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