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Open University AL development days

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 13 Mar 2017, 06:41

I attended the AL development event in Bristol this weekend.

The first session looked at how the OU is shown in some online videos made by ex-students.  These were an interesting view of how students see the experience.  One was made by a young woman who was very positive and she expressed how hard she had to work and that although she had the chance to attend tutorials, she never had the time. 

The second session was led by David Knight and he was given quite a hard time by ALs who felt they were undervalued and that some changes are imposed too quickly.  He was brave to come in some ways and coped as well as could reasonably be expected considering the disquiet about OU management.

The smaller sesions were both good and I went to a session on academic practice/plagiarism and one on mental health.  I particularly felt that the session on mental health was thought provoking.  It was pointed out that most mental health conditions are a matter of reporting and that many might be undiagnosed.

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Plagiarism checks

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 19 Dec 2016, 18:23

I have recently been asked to do some work as a plagiarism consultant for one course.  This involves checking the Turnitin and Copycatch results for the module.

Turnitin compares assignments with published work, websites and blogs etc.  There are quite a few assignments that came up with relatively high scores on the Turnitin site but when I looked at them, this was mainly due to including source texts in an appendix so these are not considered plagiarism.

Copycatch compares assignments with other assignments.  Again, there were some assignments highlighted but the matches were largely due to similar collocations and technical terms.  Of course, those that had source texts in the appendix also matched each other but this could be dismissed as a false positive.

So, my first impression is that the risk of plagiarism is taken seriously but the scale of it is quite small on my course.

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Increasingly universities are using Turnitin to check on whether assignments are being plagiarised and I was looking at the results for some student work yesterday. 

It struck me that although it is useful, the findings have to be treated with caution.  One student had quite a high score but many of the hits related to her bibliography, which included the standard items.  Another student had 0% matches which seemed to indicate it was not related to any previous academic work so perhaps a very low score is also problematic.  Despite this, I think it does have a useful consciousness raising function for students making them aware of how they use sources.


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Staff development day Cardiff

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Saturday, 17 Apr 2021, 22:22

There was a Languages staff development day in Cardiff last Saturday.

It was interesting to meet people teaching different languages.  There was a strong feeling of teachers of Welsh that they were doing something important in terms of maintaining national identity.

It is clear that Elluminate is being widely used and is seen as having great potential but I wonder how long students need to get used to it.

I gave a brief presentation on plagiarism issues in EAP.

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