Recycle, Review, Resources

Published July 28, 2014 by plonyx77

All of the chapters assigned this week deal with resources in some shape or form. Chapter 16 talks about collaboration among instructions and reusing class objectives, which implies that instructors can use one another as resources. Chapter 17 emphasizes assessing resources and methods, while chapter 18 discusses some possible resources for instructors to use.

According to Warnock, reusing ideas (reusable learning objectives) is more beneficial than harmful for learning.

Warnock says,”As long as classes are centered around the texts of our students and our response to those texts- no one is better positioned than the composition instructor to be empowered in online learning environments” (164).

As long as students are producing relevant written work and instructors are able to have a conversation with them, instructors are still in control of their classes.

In chapter 17, Warnock challenges instructors to assess themselves and the methods and resources that they use in their classes. He also mentions studying students’ online course activity (checking when assignments are submitted and the amount of effort put into them for example) can help instructors understand factors behind student success or the lack of success in online courses.

Being observant of students online habits can help an instructor better guide his or her students in future online courses.

Considering objectives that other instructors have used does not cause an instructor’s course to lack authenticity; instead, it can help an instructor create a stronger online learning environment. Other instructors are a great resource as well.

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Plagiarism Applies to Information on the Internet Too

Published July 21, 2014 by plonyx77

Plagiarism is said to have heightened since the emergence of the internet. I believe that but I do not curse the internet for encouraging plagiarism. Students make the choice to use the internet for such fraudulent purposes.

I have been using the internet for about a decade, and I have never considered using it to plagiarize. Why? Because it is wrong, and I have faith in my own writing ability.

The internet does make it easier for people to steal writing and claim it as their own in writing courses, but some forget that it also serves as a great tool for finding great sources to incorporate (cite properly) into one’s own writing.

“Rethinking Plagiarism in the Digital Age” by Lea Calvert Evering and Gary Moorman argues that the definition of plagiarism needs to be broadened to include the use of borrowed information on the internet.

Evering and Moorman are absolutely right, but I still feel that people should know that information found anywhere (on or off the internet) that is not their own writing should be cited properly.

The authors say, “Easy access to massive amounts of information make policing for ownership of ideas nearly impossible” (1).

I am not sure if I agree with this statement. Sometimes it is hard to find the name of the author(s) of information found online, but even if no names are given the information was found on a website with a url. Someone put that information there.

As for teachers, there are websites (such as Turnitin) that they can use to check for plagiarism. I have even heard of teachers typing a few words of a student’s paper into search engines to check if a student has plagiarized (if the paper does not appear to be something that the student would produce).

For the most part, it is easy to not plagiarize (if a person knows how to properly cite borrowed information) and there are ways to spot plagiarism.

Warnock Chapter 15

Published July 21, 2014 by plonyx77

Plagiarism has never been something that I considered, but I do worry sometimes about how I incorporate sources into my blog posts.

I always give credit to my sources by mentioning the author’s name and the title of the source, but I have had to do complete citations at the end of most of my papers in past classes, yet I somehow have become comfortable with not being obligated to do a works cited section (and sometimes I truly just forget). Sometimes it still feels so wrong not to do a complete citation.

Anyway, sometimes I feel like I am cheating the author by not creating a complete citation.

Scott Warnock centers chapter 15 on plagiarism that is done purposely and that involves completely copying someone else’s words. Copying and pasting is one example.

Although Warnock says that he has dealt with plagiarism in his online classes, he believes that online writing courses can help discourage plagiarism. He also mentions that plagiarism can be easier to spot in online writing courses because online courses require everything to be written, and the large amount of writing helps teachers become more familiar with students’ writing.

Warnock says that one way to discourage cheating is to create assignments that are specific to the course and course materials (textbooks). Such assignments will make it difficult for students to find information online that focuses on these specific topics.

Also, he lists informal writing as one of the ways to cut out plagiarism in online writing courses. Informal writing can encourage authenticity and decrease the urge to cheat.

If instructors want another way to diminish cheating, Warnock recommends Turnitin.com. He recommends it not only because it can identify incorrect source incorporation, but also because it can help students improve their citation ability since it allows students to view papers after it has been reviewed.

I do not think plagiarism should be something that instructors of online writing course should worry about any more than instructors of onsite courses. Students have access to the internet and copies of essays whether they are in an online or an onsite course. Students may be more likely to plagiarize in an onsite course that requires formal writing and hard copies of their papers because they may feel that their instructor will not put in the time to look around to check if their paper is their own.

Plagiarism may always be an issue in school, but online courses provide students with more ways to develop their own online voices and it encourages them to produce their own writing.

Student Anxiety and Correspondence

Published July 17, 2014 by plonyx77

According to “College Students and the Web of Anxiety” by Jean M. Twenge, levels of anxiety for college students in the 1990s would have put a student in the 1950s in the top 16% of anxiety ratings.

Some major causes of anxiety for both onsite and online students are obviously career expectations and relationships, but an anxiety factor that specifically effects online students is not feeling connected to their course.

In his article, “How to Teach an Invisible Class,” Micheal W. Posey says that not getting a quick response through whatever modes of communication are used in an online course can cause a student to not feel completely connected. He suggests responding to students emails within 48 hours

If I were a teacher (especially of a class taught completely online), I would prefer to communicate through the website where I conduct my class (if I had the option to use a site such as Ning). My students would have to visit the website a couple of times a week to do their assignments, so they would for sure receive my response in a timely manner.

As a student, I am fine with communicating through email, but because I have so many email accounts on different websites (personal, professional, and school emails) it can be a bit overwhelming trying to check all of my accounts and responding every week.

Another upside of communicating through the class website is that things such as announcements that go out to the entire class can be posted out in the open. Sometimes important messages go to the “Spam” folder, or if a message is sent to multiple people, it may not get to everyone (it has happened to me a few times).

A teacher can ensure that correspondence goes smoothly with his or her students by setting specific days (if the teacher has a lot on his or her plate) to check his or her email, and students need to be informed at the start of the class which days are best to send an email or stop by the office if the class is blended.

Chapter 13 and 14 Research

Published July 14, 2014 by plonyx77

Chapter 14 is all about how to set up ways for students to collaborate in an online course.

If a person takes the time to research online writing courses, he or she will find that there are plenty of tools and resources that are great for collaborative learning online.

Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments by Danielle Nicole Devoss, Troy Hicks, and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl offers effective ways to use technology to teach writing online and face to face.

The book also tells why it is important to conduct writing courses online, and how conducting a writing course through the internet can be beneficial for both teachers and students.

The book says, “Writing at every stage of the process can now be shared across time and space instantaneously to get a prompt response. Thus, the nature of digital writing is such that it both invites and, in some sense, demands instant feedback” (Devoss, Eidman-Aadahl, Hicks 23).

The authors tell a story of a teacher in Missouri who required her students to use Google Docs and Podcasts to collaborate in the writing and voice recording of a story.

Google Docs was used for all students to take part in writing the stories. Students paired up and recorded themselves reading their stories using Podcast.

Google Docs is definitely one of the best ways to collaborate online.

Chapters 13 and 14

Published July 14, 2014 by plonyx77

Consistency and pacing are big parts of conducting an online course.

According to Warnock, consistency is important because it makes it easy for students to stay on top of their assignments and assignment due dates.

I completely agree that setting due dates on two specific days is a great step for the setup of a successful online course. As Warnock says, consistency helps students get comfortable with their online course(s). Also, the fact that students will not meet onsite where the instructor can inform them about any changes to the schedule is another reason why consistency is so crucial.

Pacing is another important factor for making students comfortable and helping them to succeed in an online course.

One of the first online courses that I took in my college career (which happened to be a writing course) was kind of all over the place. The instructor assigned several different assignments each week. Two of the assignments were only due every other week, but what confused me at first was that one assignment would be due the second week for example, and the other would be due the third week, and then the assignment due the second week would be due the fourth week and they would switch out like that. In other words, two of the assignments were not due in the same week… in the beginning.

The instructor made both assignments that were usually due different weeks due in the same week the last four weeks of class. Sorry if this is confusing, but I had no better way to explain it. I eventually caught on to the due dates, but the lack of consistency was a bit of a headache. Sometimes I would forget to do the correct assignment.

Warnock mentions that how to get students to collaborate is what some teachers fear about teaching an online course. It is important for students to collaborate because they need to know how to work with others, and they need to learn to be open to different ideas.

If an instructor of an online course desires collaboration, it can be done.

As Warnock says, people collaborate on the internet all over the world all the time. It is not a difficult task. Students can use message boards, Google docs, and other technology tools to collaborate.

The main issue with collaboration, whether it is done online or face to face, is if everyone involved is willing to participate. However, it is much easier for a person to ignore group projects if he or she does not see his or her group members each week. In an online course, the only way to talk to a group member about participating is via email or through the main website where the class is conducted.

Warnock says, “I have noticed a slightly greater tendency toward nonparticipation in online group projects” (148).

Overall, collaboration can be a headache in any case. Whether students collaborate or not is out of an instructor’s control if the instructor has thoroughly explained what needs to be done.

Warnock Chapters 11 and 12

Published July 7, 2014 by plonyx77

Grading and giving feedback in an online writing class can be a bit easier than the grading and feedback process for an onsite class.

Warnock suggests making a folder for simple comments that are commonly used for students’ papers.

Considering that papers are submitted solely online in an online course, instructors can easily copy and paste coomonly used comments instead of having to constantly rewrite them paper after paper.

Repeating the same comments over and over can burn an instructor out as Warnock says. Writing the same thing over and over becomes draining.

In programs such as Googledocs, feedback can be more in-depth because it allows more room for comments on the same page as what is being critiqued.

Aside from feedback, Warnock also talks about getting used to doing everything through text. Responding back to students through email is a major way to communicate with them.

Warnock says, “I nearly always try to have the last word in my email conversations with students” (122).

Responding back and forth through email encourages students to be more espressive, and it encourages more interaction between the instructor and his or her students.

Chapter twelve focuses more on the grading process. According to Warnock, grading in an online composition class should be done differently than grading in an onsite class.

More informal writing should be permitted, and a large portion of the grade should be based on the assignments that incorporate this kind of writing.