As a perpetual student, I am always looking for courses to take, certificates to earn, maybe another Master’s (though probably not a PhD). My wallet doesn’t keep up with my academic dreams, so I am taking MOOCs, massive open online courses. I just started one that seems not only fascinating but also quite relevant to my other two personas of certified librarian and born teacher: Understanding Cheating in Online Environments taught by Dr. Bernard Bull (or perhaps he would prefer I say “guided by” or “facilitated by”). The premise is that by understanding academic dishonesty, we can better address it, particularly with an emphasis on encouraging and fostering academic honesty.
During Week One, we have focused on definitions. We aren’t just talking about cheating, because that’s too simplistic. We are talking about impersonation, sabotage, multiple submissions, scientific misconduct, etc. There are so many ways to cheat, it’s ridiculous. As a librarian, the one that is most interesting to me is plagiarism, and I hope to learn ways that librarians can help encourage academic honesty. The obvious idea that comes to mind is information literacy. Librarians help students find information to use in their assignments, and that creates a teaching moment: “When you use this information, this is what you need to do to avoid plagiarism….”
There was some discussion of second language speakers (students whose first language is not English) having a particular problem with plagiarism. As an ESL teacher, I have a great love for immigrants, refugees, and international students, and so this particularly caught my attention. One possible reason for international students having a problem with plagiarism is different culturally-based definitions of academic dishonesty. In other words, what American professors consider plagiarism is not considered so in a student’s home country. Another possible reason is that second language speakers do not have an English vocabulary rich enough to paraphrase. (Still, there is the issue that even if you are not a particularly good paraphraser, you can still cite your sources, which brings us back to culturally-based definitions of plagiarism). I hope to focus on these two ideas while I take this course: the librarian role in preventing plagiarism and the issues specific to international students and plagiarism.
Week One Reading List
10 types of plagiarism. (2012, November 16). Video retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF5eFeJMplA
Barnbaum, C. (n.d.). Plagiarism: A student’s guide to recognizing it and avoiding it. Retrieved from http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~cbarnbau/personal/teaching_MISC/plagiarism.htm
DePauw University. (n.d.). Types of academic dishonesty. Retrieved from http://www.depauw.edu/handbooks/academic/policies/integrity/types/
Robillard, A. E. (2010, January 7). How metaphors change our approaches to plagiarism. Retrieved from http://www.slideserve.com/kaili/how-metaphors-shape-our-approaches-to-plagiarism
TurnItIn. (2012). The plagiarism spectrum: Tagging 10 types of unoriginal work. Retrieved from http://turnitin.com/assets/en_us/media/plagiarism_spectrum.php
University of California, Berkeley, Center for Student Conduct. (n.d.). Definitions and examples of academic misconduct. Retrieved from http://sa.berkeley.edu/conduct/integrity/definition
Wikipedia. (2013, April 30). Academic dishonesty. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_cheating
York University. (2012, August 26). Academic integrity tutorial. Retrieved from http://www.yorku.ca/tutorial/academic_integrity/acaddishforms.html
The presenters (Randy B. Hensley, Beth S. Woodard, and Dane Ward) were definitely creative in their approaches to this topic; at various points during the presentation, all of the following were involved: crayons, a feather boa, a squeaky toy, and Wordles. Hensley even serenaded attendees. Despite the attention-getting and sometimes kooky gimmicks, the presentation was full of solid learning theory and many citations. I was disappointed that very few practical tips were included. I always prefer practicality, and I would like a how-to presentation backed up with theory as opposed to a theoretical presentation with very few practical ideas.
One aspect of the presentation I enjoyed was the information about empathy. An information literacy instructor can use Google as a frame of reference because that’s what students use, that’s “who they are,” that’s where they are. After demonstrating that you understand and appreciate students without judging them, you can let them know and appreciate who you are: someone who knows about useful research methods, someone who is willing to share these additional methods with them. Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach was recommended for further reading on this topic.
I was disappointed to find that there was such a slim selection of presentations about information literacy.
The breakout session by Ellie Goldstein Erickson and Alexandra Provence, “The Pipeline: Teens and Young Adult Librarians on Current Behaviors and Wants,” was very interesting and well attended. These two librarians work at the Berkeley High School Library, and they polled ninth-graders and twelfth-graders about their library usage and confidence in their abilities to use university libraries. They found that ninth-graders know what they don’t know and are interested in learning. They want to develop research skills, vocabulary, and knowledge of libraries. The twelfth-graders use the library for research and expect to continue to do so in college. These two librarians emphasize the affective side of their job. They greet students, ask how they can help, spend time one-on-one with students, and they are very approachable and friendly. They create a comfortable atmosphere in their library, including the Library Lunchtime Café, a time when they actually spread tablecloths on certain tables and allow students to eat in the library. Erickson and Provence have difficulty with the effective side of their jobs. They would like to teach more library skills to the high school students, but they find that teachers do not often bring classes to the library.