Posts Tagged ‘student’

Spoken Notes – A New Turnitin.com Feature

Yesterday I wrote about the challenges teachers and administration face due to issue of cheating and getting around Turnitin.com‘s algorithms.

Something released a month ago appeared on my radar today: spoken notes that can be attached by a teacher. My reaction was “Niiice!”

Check out the short demonstration video below:

Questions for you

Are you using turnitin.com for your papers?

Is turnitin.com the equivalent of using a chainsaw to cut a piece of paper for your needs? If so, what do you use to provide feedback/suggestions?

Cheating Turnitin.com

Thanks fo the recent article from eCampus News titled “The top 10 ways college students plagiarize” I am now in the loop on cheating.

Cheating happens but with the advent of so many new types of software and sources of information determining if something is original or a copy isn’t the easiest of things to do. Turnitin.com aims to resolve that issue for schools.

Students on the other hand have people from all around the world trying to make Turnitin.com into nothing but a blip in the radar.

Following instructions in text can sometimes be confusing so countless videos have been posted to sites like YouTube and metacafe instructing anyone how to get around Turnitin.com’s algorithms. Of course it is all presented as information only. I should say the posters who think ahead include that brief note. 😉

One video I watched had over 11k views. Does the method still work? It’s possible though Turnitin.com will continue to improve their software and those trying to get around the algorithm will find other ways to win.

This was something new for me because of the unique projects that Sarah Lawrence has taking place in the classroom. Very few projects are copyable which means students have to do research for their papers.

Questions for you

Have you seen anyone get or try to get around Turnitin.com or other software like it?

What software is used at your school?

Resume Fabrication

Recently, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson’s incorrect resume caught the tech world by storm. What did he do wrong?

According to his resume he has a computer science degree. Whoops, he doesn’t, even though that detail was included in an SEC filing and in several public bios. Walk that one back why don’t ya.

This week at Sarah Lawrence College students are preparing to walk at commencement and then off into the working world. On their resumes are internships, part time jobs and various skill sets that will hopefully help them find a job so they can begin paying off their student loans, buy dinner, and do something fun with their friends.

At a large company like Yahoo! one might think that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen… Ever!

What does this mean for the recent graduate who may have been manipulating their online presence during the time as an under-grad. Is that even possible? Better yet, will an employer care?

Recent graduates are not expected to have years worth of job history on their resume. It is a foot in the door that will help them sell their amazing skills. Some fields require extensive proof of training but at a liberal arts institution the sky is the limit and you never know what you’re going to see on someone’s resume.

Do students manipulate their resume to stand out? Is someone going to check to see if everything on the resume is true?

I think I’ll end with a bigger question, are resume’s becoming a thing of the past due to social media and online reputation options?

Goodbye Campus Network Storage?

With a one-two-three the need for network storage may have just become a thing of the past.

  • Dropbox, the market mindshare leader, released and announced a series of updates.
  • Microsoft sneakily beat Google to the punch by announcing an update to their Skydrive.
  • And lastly, Google finally announced their fabled G: Drive.

Here is the quick

  • Dropbox now makes it easier than ever to use their website and to share files with anyone. Their free limit is still 2 GB though .edu email addresses provide 500 MB of free storage for each referral.
  • Microsoft’s Skydrive provides 7 GB of storage space and is incorporated into Office which means it’s easier than ever to have access to your documents. But take note, their Skydrive app is only available on OS X 10.7.
  • Google Drive provides 5 GB of storage space for free and syncs with a Google Account. A quick thought, .edu’s using Google Apps, this is for you.

The Questions

How much network storage is needed on-campus, especially at small colleges/universities, when products that provide more and more storage for free?

Of course, this approach puts data off-site but isn’t most of it already not on a campus network drive when it comes to students and faculty?

Students have trouble when a machine dies because their work is on their personal computer and faculty often has trouble when a laptop, that has been provided to them by the school, dies. Faculty using desktops in their office often don’t use the network drive and lose their data because it’s not on the network.

Would it be easier for support staff on the client side and the network side to say, “Install this and save all your documents in X folder. If anything goes wrong with the computer or if you work on another computer, tablet, or smartphone you will have access to the most recent version of your files.”

Schools cannot compete with the development cycle of large companies like Dropbox, Microsoft, and Google and yet the people they need to support are using tools built by these companies more and more.

Bandwidth? It is mostly eaten up by video not documents so there should be little issue there.

Your Take

  • Has your school moved to an off-site solution for document storage for a small/medium/large school?
  • Which service(s) were considered?
  • What reasons would keep your institution from moving to this type of model?

Historical Map Images on the Web and in Google Earth

Have you ever had a faculty member or a student ask you how they could see what something looked like in the past in a certain part of the world?

There are many resources on the web to see how things use to be. Some are limited, some are expansive. Here are a few that I’ve found and used in the classroom.

One that stands out to me is Google Earth’s historical map data.

Embedded in the Google Earth app is global imagery and even contains balloon images taken by the Joe on the street. There is information on how you can make your own balloon with little expense to you or your institution. Source: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/04/balloon-and-kite-imagery-in-google.html

Here is a brief Google Early how-to video to view historical maps.

Other resources

What map sites or resources do you use in the classroom or recommend to students and faculty?

Yawn. It’s 4/20.

It’s the big day when 4/20 makes it’s way into the main stream media and college students are presented as pot smoking hippies.

Yawn.

The ultimate 420 moment just passed by and I can say that I did not see any large groups outside or anyone flocking to be outside at 4:20 on 4/20.

Even in the social media circles, 4/20 is a ‘meh’ item that only a few people mention in passing.

This is one of those times where the press makes the news. Students are not always looking to get wasted.

Put a lid on the advertising posts and just enjoy the day.

Knowing Vs. Perceiving the Needs of Students

I’d like to open up the topic of knowing versus perceiving.

What would you say if I were I to ask you:

Do students use a laptop, tablet, or smartphone more?

It’s a bit of a tricky question because there is no context, though there are many in decision making positions at edu’s that have to rely on personal awareness, experience, observation, anticipated needs, and any number of other concerns before deciding to embark on a change of the infrastructure.

For the past 4 years a technology survey has been conducted here at SLC and we’ve learned some surprising things.

  • Wireless was not only a technology of interest, it was imperative that it be in place everywhere.
  • Students like ebooks but aren’t interested in ereaders/tablets.
  • The scale of tech needed is not as dynammic or vast as a techy deciding what to purchase might think it to be.
  • Students are thrilled by Google Apps as their email and they use it as a backup for their work.
  • We now have a very accurate number of computers and other handheld tech that is brought to campus by students.

While we could have taken feedback from a number of students regarding wireless and extrapolated the needs, having the data provided decision makers on the tech and financial front what should take priority.

Other pieces of information were less obvious, especially the ebook interest, until it was discussed with students. Students need access to multiple books/documents in a classroom and ereaders limit their ability to flip to and from the key sections of text that they need when they need it in class. Books are still very popular because of this.

I wonder…

  • What mechanisms are you using to gauge technical desire and/or needs?
  • How involved are students, faculty and staff in new technology decisions?
  • What mistakes were made because there was no data or interest in a technology acquisition?

I welcome any thoughts on the idea of knowing vs. perceiving the needs of students at an edu.