events

ADM-HEA Creative Learning and Teaching Day

Back in November, I attended the Art, Design, and Media Creative Learning and Teaching Day organised by the Higher Education Academy’s Art, Design, and Media Subject Centre which was held at Ravensbourne. In the morning session, I gave a joint presentation with UCA‘s Digitisation Services Manager, Polly Christie, on the UCA Library‘s recent digital projects including some recent projects by VADS, such as the JISC-funded Spot the Difference project:

There were some interesting discussions after the session about remix culture and the recent web video series Everything is a Remix. One of the attendees also pointed me to an interesting copyright case – the Lenz vs Universal Music case in the US. In 2007, Lenz posted a home video of her baby dancing to Prince’s song ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ on YouTube, and Universal Music issued a takedown notice, which was followed by a counter claim by Lenz for ‘fair use’ under US law. The case has been used as the basis of an assignment for communications students at California State University (see: Let’s go crazy: teaching media literacy with remix practice). For the assignment, students are asked to create their own parody video or remix of the original ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ video.

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JISC Innovating e-Learning Online Conference

Last week I attended the JISC Innovating e-Learning Online Conference and as part of the pre-conference Activity Week, I also gave a Prezi presentation on the Spot the Difference project:

During the conference several attendees have contacted us who are interested in testing and giving feedback on the project’s pilot visual search tool when it is available in early 2012. During the event we also had some interesting questions and discussion about copyright issues and the lack of a digital equivalent of the DACS blanket slide licensing scheme for Higher Education; the difficulty with using Creative Commons images from Flickr because the person who uploaded the images may not always have the right to grant those rights; as well as applications of visual search technology such as the reverse image search engine by Tineye.

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Workshop on Turnitin and academic integrity

In June I signed up to attend staff training on Turnitin and academic integrity run by the Learning and Teaching Department at UCA. This was my first experience of using the Turnitin software which is utilised in a number of universities to check written work for text-based plagiarism.

The workshop was really useful for gaining some initial insights into the issues that are faced surrounding text-based plagiarism. This included:

Text-based plagiarism detection software is effective but not perfect

Turnitin compares student work against an extensive index of websites, articles, and previous student papers. It proved easy to use and effective at finding copied text, but as with all technology, there were some foibles to look out for. For example, any text that is given in double quotes will be disregarded, whilst any text in single quotes will be highlighted by the software as plagiarism. The software also doesn’t detect content taken from very recent publications, for example, we found that it couldn’t detect a ‘copied and pasted’ newspaper article that had been published online in the last few days. The workshop leader therefore confirmed that Turnitin is an additional technical aid to assist staff rather than a replacement for human judgement and appraisal.

Balance between formative and punitive

This leads on to another point made by the workshop leader about the potential use of the software as a formative learning tool for students and not simply as a detection tool for staff once students’ work has been submitted. We were shown how students can check draft essays using the software before their work is handed in for marking. We were also introduced to the new academic integrity web pages on the university website which provide information and advice to staff and students on referencing and plagiarism. UCA Library has also developed In-Cite, a series of four online tutorials to explain why, how, and when students should reference sources.

In-Cite online tutorials
In-Cite online tutorials by UCA Library and web design by WildSide Web Design.

Time is of the essence

The issue of staff time and busy teaching schedules was also raised. It was noted that the university’s Study Advisory Service can also provide help and support in this area and offers bookable tutorials for students to develop their research skills and academic writing skills.

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Forthcoming 2012 conference on plagiarism

The dates for the 5th international plagiarism conference have been announced this week. The conference is organised by plagiarismadvice.org, and will take place at the Sage Gateshead live music venue from 16-18 July 2012.

Sage at Gateshead
Photo of Sage Gateshead by Glen Bowman on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

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