ODEE DELTA Webinar (7/18/2018): Academic Integrity Best Practices & Tools

Webinar recording: http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4nnxp5t4sz/ (recorded 7/18/2018)

Current research — such as it is* — suggests that students do not cheat more online than in traditional face-to-face courses.  However, that may not be the most useful information, no matter how reliable.  After all, 20 years ago, people did not commit identity theft all that often online; and then they did.  Bad behavior on the internet is a moving target.  At ODEE, we are working to stay ahead of it by providing tools and training that instructors can use to maintain the highest standards in courses before problems are able to take root.

In this webinar, we provide a general framework to promote academic integrity in your courses and then provide specific instructions how to configure Carmen, Turnitin, and Proctorio in your courses.

  • Avoid: Design your course to de-incentivize cheating and make it as easy to learn as to cheat, and to leverage students’ actual curiosity and interest.
  • Prevent: Configure the settings on whatever systems you use to make cheating as difficult as possible — and honest work as easy as possible.
  • Detect: Where appropriate, use tools to help identify illegitimate behavior, so that you can assess it and respond accordingly.

*This is not to impugn the skills of the researchers nor the integrity of their work.  Rather, it is to note that there has been little research published on this important question, and the research that has been published faces the same daunting challenge as any attempt to gauge social deviance: people doing it in the wild really don’t want to be measured, and the phenomenon is extremely difficult to replicate in the lab.  It thus needs to be acknowledged in discussions on this subject, that the empirical basis for opinions is weak.

Cool Ed Tech conferences in 2018-19!

Image of yearly calendar of ed tech conferencesSo here it is everyone!  One calendar to show them all – all the hot conferences in education technology that are coming up in the next year starting this summer. If you are curious about one or some that you haven’t been to, reply to this post with your question and we’ll be happy to give a description of what it’s like to attend as many of the folks here at ODEE have experienced many of the listed conferences.

Happy conferencing!

Click here to view/download the conference calendar.

Authoring Tool Comparison Project

Our team recently completed a multimedia authoring tool comparison project to identify which authoring tool would be best for our team’s needs and goals going forward.

For context, authoring tools are eLearning content creation tools that enable designers to combine media and navigation links to create engaging and interactive projects. If you’ve ever run through a click-through training project where you were asked to read text, consume videos/graphics, answer questions, interact with material in some way, click a series of “next,” “submit” or similar buttons and were able to see your progress along the way, you likely engaged with a project built with an authoring tool.

We decided to compare and contrast Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire and Adobe Captivate. These three tools were specifically chosen as the leaders among eLearning authoring software and the “blank canvas” tools most capable of producing rich, interactive content. When we started this project, our team had been using Storyline for our authoring tool needs.

To begin testing, I took a close, hands-on look at the features, capabilities and limitations of all three tools. This included creating identical test projects in each tool that covered the areas I saw as being the biggest advantages for eLearning authoring software: Quizzing, simulations and variables. The projects were then evaluated for accessibility and end-user experience.

To complete a full and honest review, I collaborated with several teams to make sure we were properly evaluating each area of interest. To test end-user experience, I brought in eight of my team members to conduct informal usability tests on each test project. I had them evaluate things like the flow of each tool (smooth transitions and media loading correctly, for example), access issues, gradebook reporting, quiz behaviors and other general usability considerations.

Knowing that I wasn’t well-versed in the complexities of digital accessibility, I also collaborated with several accessibility analysts around the university. They conducted formal accessibility evaluations of the test projects and worked to help me understand the range and importance of what digital accessibility means and looks like.

We ended up choosing Lectora after finding it to be the most complete tool. With its focus on accessibility and combined upside of back-end and end-user experience, we believe Lectora has the highest potential to produce quality content that aligns with ODEE’s standards and values of excellence.

However, there were larger takeaways that came from this project. The reality is that authoring tools are far from perfect. With any large, robust authoring tool, accessibility is going to be a major issue. Digital accessibility goes much deeper than simply adding captions and alternative text to media, and authoring tools struggle to provide screen-reader and keyboard-reliant users with the same learning experiences as users who don’t rely on these devices.

With this realization comes the understanding that authoring tools need to be used carefully. They should only be used for projects that require complex or unique interactive elements that can’t be built out in a smaller, more specialized tool. When an authoring tool is used, it needs to be used correctly. This means avoiding certain interaction types that are inherently inaccessible (drag-and-drop, hot spots, etc.), being mindful of media and other included elements and thinking critically about what you are asking an end user to do.

In the end, our project became about evaluating which tool had the least amount of flaws and had the highest ceiling for producing quality content that aligned with our needs and goals. Lectora was that tool, and we are now moving forward with understanding how to better use the tool to its fullest while staying within the boundaries of a quality and equal student experience.

For a comprehensive look at this project and full notes, final thoughts and recommendations, you can view my full authoring tool comparison report.

If you have any questions about this project or anything related to multimedia elements of course design, feel free to reach out to me at tamburro.5@osu.edu.

AccessEDU Episode 7 – Rahim Abdi

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Episode 7 – Rahim Abdi

“We want to remove access barriers, right? So, we don’t want to lessen the experience for anyone else. We just want to ensure an equivalent experience for users with disabilities. So more often than not we end up with a much more accessible and much more usable product [for everyone].

In this episode of AccessEDU, your host interviews Rahim Abdi, an accessibility analyst and homegrown expert to learn more about the technical side of accessibility.

Referenced in this episode:

Read a transcript of episode 7

 

AccessEDU Episode 6 – Margaret Price

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Episode 6 – Margaret Price

“The fact that a book is all stuck together in one piece, in a sense, is an adaptive technology because otherwise we would probably lose pages … If we start thinking of all features of technologies, whether they’re print technologies or digital technologies as adaptive for some reason, then students start to get really excited and interested.”

In this episode of AccessEDU, your host interviews Margaret Price, a professor in the disability studies program at OSU. She shares insights into her strategies for making her classroom more inclusive.

Referenced in this episode:

Read a transcript of episode 6

Strategies for Curtailing Plagiarism

As someone who has taught online university courses since 2009 and taught high school level social studies for 13 years before that, I have met many colleagues who share similar experiences teaching.  One commonality? Academic integrity is something we all strive to promote in our courses yet still find elusive in some respects. We try different methods for monitoring student activity in Canvas tests and quizzes and we develop writing assignments that are more authentic in nature in hopes that we get an authentic product from our students as a result. I came across this short article offering up three other strategies we can implement in our courses to help alleviate plagiarism. If you have any strategies that have worked well for you, whether online or face-to-face, please feel free to share them in reply to this post.

Article link: Keys to Stopping Plagiarism

ODEE DELTA Webinar Recording (4/5/2018): “They Know, They Care”: Recovering Struggling Students in the Online Context (Audrey Begun and Jennie Babcock)

photograph of a lifeguard in a lifeguard stand on a beach near sunset or sunrise, with empty beach to the right of the picture, taken from behind, very scenic

Lifeguard by Md. Shafiul Alam Chowdhury

Recording available at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4hzrdo7e7v/

It is easy (well…) to tell when a student in your in-person class is struggling: you can see their detachment, their boredom, their sleeping, their scowling, their sadness, their confusion, their disappointment. Online courses don’t provide the same access. In some cases, an instructor may never lay eyes on a particular student. So how does a person even know that a student needs help?  And when you know, what can you do about it?  Are we compelled simply to write off some percentage of our online students as lost sheep?

Dr. Audrey Begun and Dr. Jennie Babcock offer some concrete strategies to resist that fatalism in this webinar (recorded Thursday, April 5, 2018).  Drawing on their years of experience in teaching and advising, as well as insights and methodology from the discipline of Social Work, they describe four domains of specific steps instructors can take to reduce the likelihood students will start to struggle, recognize quickly when it is happening, and intervene usefully.

Recording available at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4hzrdo7e7v/

ODEE DELTA Webinar: iOS Apps for Teaching (3/21/2018)

iPads are clearly powerful tools for teaching, in part because there are thousands of apps available.  Those same thousands of apps can, however, also make it difficult to know how to get started, in much the same way it would be difficult to learn how to eat if you had never had food before.

In this webinar, our colleague Scott Sheeler, educational technologist and app sommelier with ODEE’s Distance Learning team, stopped by to provide a rapid-paced high-level overview of four of the best apps to start with, including Canvas Grader, Notability, CLIPS, and Adobe Spark. You might want to slow down the video for this one, so that you can see all of the features he shows off.

Webinar recording at: http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p5ape9eq2tb/

Materials that Scott refers to in this session can be viewed and downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/iosappswebinar

ODEE DELTA Webinar: Simplify Your Teaching Life with Office365 (2/16/2018)

It’s tempting to be glib and introduce the link to this webinar recording about Office365 with a snarky reference to 90s retro, maybe by embedding a grunge cover of “Macarena,” but the thing is, we’re actually excited by this. Basically every instructor and student at Ohio State now has a license to Office365, which means we now have access to a better-than-Google-Docs platform for students to share files, simultaneously edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and otherwise write in multimedia formats online.  Office has been around for a while, and that means that your students (and you!) already know how to use it, so there is that much less training you’ll need to do to make use of it.  It even integrates directly into Carmen.

In this webinar, our colleague Instructional Designer extraordinaire Tim Lombardo explains in more detail how to set up Office365, some of the complications you might need to work around, and some of the fancy and awesome things your students can do with it.  Thanks especially to the attendees, who asked excellent questions.

http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p7wn1km2km5/ (recorded 2/16/2018)

 

PS. Having mentioned a grunge cover of “Macarena,” it would seem cruel not to embed an actual instance of the genre… (OK, strictly speaking it’s metal. What can I say? It was a crazy decade. Some lines blurred.)

Office 365 Integration in Carmen

Microsoft Office 365 is an online, browser-based tool that is available to Ohio State students and faculty for free (with the exception of Medical Center (@osumc.edu) employees). The traditional Microsoft Office suite is brought to a web browser and allows users to create and collaborate easily within Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

While Office 365 can stand alone as a useful tool for students and faculty, its recent integration with Carmen will allow for a greater and more practical use for Ohio State students and faculty. The integration creates another avenue for collaboration, creativity and sharing within Carmen.

Ohio State students and faculty can take advantage of Office 365’s features in four different areas within a Carmen course:

Collaborations

Instructors

Office 365 has now taken over the Collaborations feature in Carmen, which can be enabled/disabled in the course navigation by an instructor. Within Collaborations, instructors have the ability to set up a Word, Excel or PowerPoint collaboration for select students or pre-defined groups within the course. Collaboration settings can be edited at any point.

View this help article for a clearer step-by-step of this process and more information.

Students

If a student is in a group in a Carmen course, they will have the same access to Collaborations feature as instructors. Within that group, students have the ability to create Word, PowerPoint or Excel collaborations. As a student, keep in mind that instructors will be able to see any collaboration created within their course, even if they are not directly added.

Assignments

Instructors

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the integration is the ability for an instructor to create a “cloud assignment.” For example, an instructor may create a worksheet using Word in Office 365. They could then assign that worksheet to their students, and students could fill out the worksheet by editing the Word document themselves in Office 365. This could also be done using Excel or PowerPoint.

For a step-by-step of using this feature, view this help article. The article also highlights a few current limitations of the feature.

Students

Things aren’t too different from the norm on the student end of a cloud assignment. Staying with the worksheet example, students would see the ability to open and edit the worksheet in Office 365. Their work will be saved automatically, so they simply need to click “Submit” back in Carmen whenever they are finished.

To learn more about the student side of this feature, view this help article.

Along with the cloud assignment capabilities, on any assignment with “Website URL” as a submission type, students now have the ability to log into Office 365 directly from Carmen and select a compatible file to upload.

Office 365 tab

If instructors enable the Office 365 tab in the course navigation, students can now view their OneDrive files directly in Carmen. Clicking on a file will allow student to edit it in a new tab.

Essentially, this feature is just an easy access point to Office 365 from a Carmen course. To learn more about this feature, view this help article.

Rich Content Editor

Screenshot of a rich content editor toolbar in Carmen with the external tools icon highlighted

Lastly, students and instructors can link to OneDrive files within any rich content editor. By selecting the “More External Tools” icon in the tool bar (pictured above) and choosing Office365, any file located in a user’s OneDrive can be linked to. View this help article for a step-by-step of this process.

Using Office 365 is a great way to bring collaboration and innovation into your course(s). We encourage you to play around with these features on your own and come up with some ideas on how the integration may benefit you in one of your courses.

If you have any questions about this integration or anything related to multimedia elements of course design, feel free to reach out to me at tamburro.5@osu.edu.