Link

Or, you know, almost organized, digitally.

New year, new semester, new resolution to get organized and keep on top of things? Or perhaps you’re ready to make just one technological change that would help you in one area? I have a couple of goodies that I think are worth considering when it comes to getting and staying organized.

First, here’s a lovely round-up of data storage options, nicely broken down by media type. I’m wondering if people have used – and have feedback on – Diigo, SlideShare, Authorstream, or SoundCloud?  Also, keep in mind that if you are here at TCU, you have the option of using your personal network space (the M: drive).

Second, how about when you find a great link using the browser on your smartphone or tablet, but want to review the site more thoroughly when you’re at your computer? What do you do? Bookmark it on said device and then look at that device while manually typing in the address when you’re back at your computer? This might work, but it’s more complicated if you find something on your computer want to review it later on the go on another device. Do you then email the address to yourself? I confess I’m guilty of this on occasion. You can share links through Diigo (mentioned above), but our friends at Profhacker have reviewed SendTab, a way to send links to different devices without the cumbersome email step and without making some kind of permanent comittment to saving the link (via bookmarking, pinning, or favorite-ing). SendTab works via free browser plugins and an iOS app that is $0.99. (Note that there are some syncing issues if you’re using FireFox as your browser.)

Third, if you are using LearningStudio dropbox, this next tip may not be as relevant, since LearningStudio automatically attaches the student’s name + the name of the file to all documents you download from dropbox. However, if you’re using the TurnItIn website, doc sharing, or distributing or saving student files in some other way (say, drafts over email), teaching your students (and yourself!) to use a standard file-naming convention may save you many organizational headaches. After all, sorting out numerous files all named “sociology paper” or “Analysis Review” is no fun – and is even worse if the student hasn’t actually written his or her name in the document itself. One professor noted:

The difference between grading forty files named “paper1.doc” and those same forty files named “StudentName Course PaperTopic.rtf” really adds up over the course of the semester. (Of course, you have to be very specific in your instructions, else you will literally get files named “StudentName Course PaperTopic.rtf,” quotation marks and all!)

I’d also add that some great ideas come out in the comments to this post, in particular the tension between starting your file names more generally with the course and the semester (easier for sorting when one is front of one’s computer, and best for comparing different version of your own files from year to year) and starting your file names more specifically with the particular content “week4labslides” (best for mobile devices whose small screens don’t make viewing long file names easy).

Last, if you have a quick tech organization tip, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Plagiarism

Why do students plagiarize? Is that they are lazy, don’t understand the assignment, don’t understand proper citation format, are overwhelmed with balancing school work and life, or a myriad of other reasons?

At TCU, we promote TurnItIn as a teaching tool, something that helps students and faculty discover and correct citation errors. We hope this starts a conversation about academic integrity, paraphrasing, and citation conventions.

I find it interesting that the issue of plagiarism in general and the use of TurnItIn in particular seems to be a ripe field for scholarly research. It’s as if some individuals not fully doing their work provides all this fodder for the work of others.

In a pretty robust recent study, a researcher in New Zealand examined academic integrity in a business class of 569 students. He finds that “five student variables had no significant influence on whether or not students plagiarized: gender, nationality, study mode (on-site or distance), age, and year of enrollment.” So now we know, at least in this data set, what isn’t associated with plagiarism!

After massive education about plagiarism and plagiarism detection tools, the incidence of plagiarism declined from the first paper to the second – but not as much as the professor/researcher had hoped. It seems we are still left with the “why” question, after all.