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November, 2011:

The MERLOT Pedagogy Portal

MERLOT, an organization widely known for its collection of open source, peer-reviewed learning materials now has another invaluable resource for higher education: The Pedagogy Portal.

The Pedagogy Portal was designed for instructors, or anyone interested in instructional design and development. It is similar to the main MERLOT site, but rather than material that can make up the content of a class, the material found here is designed to improve and broaden one’s teaching skills. Also like the main site, everything is open source and peer edited…in other words, high quality and free!

The Pedagogy Portal has been well-received, and was even featured last March on Duke University’s Center for Instructional Technology blog.

If you are an instructor with any questions about teaching, the Pedagogy Portal is a great resource for answers. Here are some of our favorite sections of the portal:

Where are students getting their plagiarized content?

Campus Technology reported on a study conducted called Plagiarism and the Web: A Comparison of Internet Sources for Secondary and Higher Education Students. The report revealed that Wikipedia was the “top individual source” plagiarized by students in over 33.5 million papers reviewed for the study. Wikipedia showed matching text for 7.99 percent of the plagiarized instances. Yahoo Answers came in second, tagging along behind Wikipedia as the source for 7.55 percent of plagiarized text.

Although Wikipedia came in as the top individual site, encyclopedia sites like Wikipedia weren’t the most plagiarized, as a category. In the study, more than a quarter of the students plagiarized content from “social and content sharing sites” such as Facebook, Yahoo Answers, and SlideShare. Second in popularity were “homework and academic sites” (nih.gov, medialibrary.org, etc.). Third were “cheat sites and paper mills”, sites where students pay for pre-written content. Fourth were online news and media sources. At number five finally came encyclopedia sites like Wikipedia, Britannica Online and Encyclopedia.com.

Academic integrity is extremely important to practice in education–especially here in the digital age. Here are some valuable UW Bothell plagiarism resources:

…and some non-UWB resources as well

Capturing Lectures for Student Learning with Tegrity

Tegrity logoThe entire University of Washington system has adopted Tegrity as its lecture capture software.

Tegrity can record audio, video and your computer screen image (such as a PowerPoint presentation) and then create a high-quality, interactive video for students to review at a later time.  It allows instructors to record easily lectures in class as they are given or in their offices to be posted online as part of a hybrid or online class. Tegrity will be available to UW Bothell faculty starting Winter quarter.

Tegrity can be used to:

  • Record in-class lectures as you give them, including audio from a microphone, video from a webcam, the classroom projector image and a document camera image all at once (if desired), so that students can return to the lecture later to study and review the content.
  • Record lectures (with the same equipment listed above) in the instructor’s office to be posted online in the course Web site as part of a hybrid or online course

Although Tegrity is currently only available to the “instructors of record” in the UW Course Time Schedule, there are plans to open the system to the wider UW community, so that all staff, faculty and students can use it as a technology for formal and informal trainings and presentations. We will announce this on this blog when it become available in this way.

Look for more information on the Learning Technologies website in the weeks to come.

Using Clickers to Enhance Student Learning

Research has shown that clickers (which can be used to for quick polling or question-and-answer sessions) are an effective way to enhance student learning in a wide variety of disciplines. For instance, this study done at the University of Alberta, Edmond showed that the majority of students strongly indicated that the use of clickers enhanced their learning experience (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bmb.20264/pdf).

Uses for clickers at UW Bothell and elsewhere have ranged from engaging students in larger classes to opening up discussions on controversial topics to checking for comprehension in classes. If you’re interested in seeing more research and articles on clickers, The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching maintains an extensive bibliography (see http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/docs/classroom-response-system-clickers-bibliography/).

At Bothell, we use the Turning Point system from Turning Technologies as our clicker system. The clickers can be used in any room with an epodium and can be done with existing or new PowerPoint presentations or other applications as well. There are a couple of options if you’re interested in using clickers for your courses.

  1. If you want to try out the clickers and/ or plan on using them only a couple times during the quarter, the IT Helpdesk has 4 total sets available for checkout, each with 48 clickers and 1 receiver. These sets are reservable on a first come, first served basis by contacting it@uwb.edu or 425-352-3456. Three sets circulate for 2 business days and 1 set can circulate for 7 days. If you check out a set, you will only be able to do anonymous polling.
  2. If you would like to use the clickers on a more regular basis, you can have your students buy clickers by requesting that the UW Bookstore order them for your class similar to a textbook order. The course instructor can check out just the receiver from the IT helpdesk for the duration of the quarter. If you have your students buy clickers, you will be able to use the clickers for quizzes since each clicker will be associated with a student. You will still be able to do anonymous polling as well. Students pay about $48 for the clicker.

You can find more information about using clickers at http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/clickers including some best practices for using clickers.

Blackboard Upgrade Coming in Spring

The campus will be moving from our current Blackboard 8 version to Blackboard 9.1 (or Blackboard Learn) for spring quarter. Courses will be copied over so that faculty and students can continue to reuse their course materials. The Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE) program will also be piloting Blackboard 9.1 during the winter quarter to help ensure that the spring transition to Blackboard 9.1 goes smoothly.

There are a number of improvements in Blackboard 9.1, not the least of which is improved navigation, making it easier to move around the course with less clicking. Other new features that can help meet online teaching and learning needs include:

  • Blogs
  • Journals
  • Wikis
  • Plagiarism detector
  • Central course file repository
  • Drag and drop functionality

There will be training sessions and online help resources available to help everyone make the switch, though a number of faculty at UWB and other institutions who have used Blackboard 9.1 have often found the changes to be fairly intuitive. More information to follow.