Planning for school re-closure: We can’t say we weren’t warned

July 26, 2020

Alberta Education Pandemic Planning GuideThe in the Pandemic Planning Guide for Alberta School Authorities, published by the Alberta government there is ample helpful guidance for school administrators and other educational leaders.

Of particular interest right now is Schedule K of the guide: Draft letter to inform parents schools are reopened. We want to pay particular attention to this statement: “… If more people get sick, schools may need to close again.” (p. 64).

So if (when?) schools are closed down again sometime in the 2020-2021 school year, we can’t say we were not warned. This was anticipated in the pandemic planning guide.

Published 7 years ago.

That’s right. This guide was published in 2013, long before most of us even knew what a coronavirus was. In the draft letter to parents, school administrators were guided to prepare parents for the possibility schools needing to close again after re-opening (p. 64).

Other points of note:

“… it is possible employee absenteeism could be in the 30% to 40% range, with at least 20% absenteeism being likely.” (p. 10)

Your influenza pandemic plan is a living document. It needs to be reviewed and revised regularly.” (p. 12) (Note: To the best of my knowledge, the guide has never been updated since it was written.)

Employers could be liable, through possible claims in negligence. Lawsuits could be initiated by students, staff, or third parties who have been harmed.” (p. 14)

the plan should provide for significant staff absences and assess whether the School Authority could provide educational services in the event of staff/student absences. The plan should also take into consideration how the School Authority would continue to operate without a full complement of staff.” (p. 24)

Also important is what is missing from the planning guide. The words “Indigenous”, “First Nations” or “Aboriginal” (with the latter two terms being more common at the time the document was published) are utterly absent from the document. This indicates that at the time the plan was developed, there were no particular considerations made for Alberta’s Indigenous communities.

So, as we are preparing for re-opening, we would be wise to prepare for the possibility of re-closing again, too.

Read the whole planning guide here:

Government of Alberta. (2013). Pandemic Planning Guide for Alberta School Authorities. Retrieved from https://education.alberta.ca/media/1477307/pandemicplanningguide.pdf

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Webinar: Sharing is caring? Exploring academic integrity and file-sharing behaviours

July 21, 2020

Webinar: Sharing is caring? Exploring academic integrity and file-sharing behaviours

August 14, 2020

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time (Calgary, Canada)

Join Dr. Brenda Stoesz (University of Manitoba) and Josh Seeland (Assiniboine Community College) for an interactive session on academic file-sharing among students. Learn what some of the issues are, and how to address them from an academic integrity perspective.

This online event is part of the Academic Integrity Webinar Series, offered through the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary. The series is convened by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity.

Presenter bios:

Brenda M. Stoesz currently works as a faculty specialist at The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, where she develops educational resources and professional development opportunities for post-secondary academic staff. Stoesz also conducts research on academic integrity, with a focus on academic integrity policy analysis and contract cheating. In 2019, she founded and currently chairs the Manitoba Academic Integrity Network (MAIN). Stoesz holds a PhD in Psychology and Bachelors of Education and Science. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching high school, college, and university students.

Josh Seeland works as Academic Integrity & Copyright Officer at the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Library in Brandon, MB, Canada, where his primary duties include research initiatives and library instruction/outreach at ACC locations across Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Academic Integrity Network (MAIN) and chairs ACC’s Academic Integrity Advisory Committee. Seeland holds Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy from the University of Manitoba and a diploma in Library and Information Technology from Red River College.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand what academic file-sharing is and how it works.
  • Understand how predatory commercial file sharing sites can exploit or deceive students.
  • Discuss how educators can work with students to understand what ethical sharing means.

Register here.

This webinar is the first in a new series being offered through the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

This series will deal with timely and emergent topics that are cutting edge, provocative or high profile in nature. Each webinar can accommodate 300 live participants. All registrants will be e-mailed a link to the recorded version of the webinar for viewing after the live event.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Academic Integrity in Large Classes: A Reading and Resource List

July 14, 2020

To prepare for take part in this online panel discussion on Assessment Design and Integrity in Large Classes, hosted by the Dalhousie University Centre for Learning and Teaching, I’ve curated a reading and resource list on:

  • Academic Integrity in Large Online Classes
  • Academic Integrity in Large Face-to-Face Classes

I have cast a particular eye to locating resources for large online courses, but have included resources on face-to-face classes as well, since the values and principles of academic integrity apply regardless of the learning mode.

There is no single definition of what a “large” class is. Other terms used more or less synonymously include:

  • Large classes / courses / lectures
  • Mega classes / courses / lectures

I intentionally do not define what a large lecture is. I have included resources where the authors or creators themselves have identified that their focus is on academic integrity in large courses.

This resource is intended to be comprehensive, but may not be exhaustive. I have personally reviewed and curated resources that I think are high quality, relevant and useful. Not all them are peer-reviewed, but I am confident that they have been written or created by experts with relevant qualifications and expertise.

At this point, I have limited my search to sources published from 2000 onwards. I will continue to update this list on a regular basis, noting the date of the most recent update at the top.

You can check out and download the list here:

Related posts:

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


New article: Academic integrity during COVID-19

July 13, 2020

ISEA 48(1)

I am excited to share my latest article, “Academic Integrity During COVID-19: Reflections From the University of Calgary”, published in International Studies in Educational Administration (ISEA).

Abstract:
In this paper I document and reflect on our institutional response to the coronavirus crisis from an academic integrity perspective. I contemplate how the rapid transition to remote learning impacted academic misconduct, including how assessment of student learning played a role. I explore the proliferation of commercial file-sharing and contract cheating companies during the pandemic, situating Canada within broader global contexts. Finally, I consider how to address concerns around academic integrity as remote and online delivery continue into the fall 2020 semester and beyond.

Keywords: academic integrity, COVID-19, emergency conditions, higher education, contract cheating, file-sharing

This article is part of a special series of papers focusing on educational responses to the pandemic. ISEA is published by the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM). According to the journal’s website: “The journal is one of the oldest journals in the educational leadership field” CCEAM retains the copyright, and has granted permission for me (and all authors in this issue) to make their work publicly and widely available on the Internet. Thus, with full permissions, I am happy to share a full copy of the article free of charge in .pdf format: Eaton ISEA 2020 48(1).

Special thanks to Dr. David Gurr, Editor-in-Chief, and his team who managed to turn around these submissions in record time. It is a privilege to be included in this first issue.

Here’s the full reference:

Eaton, S. E. (2020). Academic Integrity During COVID-19: Reflections From the University of Calgary. International Studies in Educational Administration, 48(1), 80-85.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Strategies for Equitable Student Treatment during COVID-19 and Beyond

July 10, 2020

Questions around equity and access for students during the coronavirus pandemic have come up over and over again. In this post I offer some concrete things you can do to treat students more equitably during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

#1: Stop saying “should”.

“Students should have access to high speed Internet.” (Translation: Students who live in areas with unreliable Internet connectivity are less worthy than their peers with premium telecom packages.)

“Students should be able to submit their assignments on time”. (Translation: I care more about my students complying with assignment deadlines than I care about the students themselves.)

“Students should be able to read a .pdf copy of the readings online. (Translation: Just because I can easily read a .pdf copy of an article online, I don’t care about students who either can’t or prefer not to.)

Stop spouting off about what you think students “should” be able to do. Accept that whatever you think should happen may not (or simply cannot) happen and there is likely nothing you can do about it – except make a commitment to try to meet students where they are at, on their terms. Accept the reality of what is, not what you want it to be.

#2: Stop requiring students to buy new technology.

Requiring students to buy webcams for e-proctoring of their exams is senseless if there are none for sale in any of the shops or online. Requiring them to buy new technology that meets a minimum “standard” of the institution creates financial burdens on less privileged students. It’s a form of financial discrimination that privileges affluent students. If there are “minimum institutional standards” then the institution plays a role in ensuring students have what they need.

#3: Stop the coercive control.

Making statements about what should happen, or what students need to buy is a form of coercive control. The implications are that students will do what they are told “or else” (e.g. or else don’t bother registering, or else drop the course, or else drop out of school entirely) is downright discriminatory. The threat of students not being able to continue their studies if they cannot comply with imposed obligations such as buying a webcam due to financial or other limitations is a form of punishment. The messaging may not be as overt as that, but the implication is there. Trying to coerce students into being something they are not (e.g. financially affluent, academically excellent, socially privileged). This kind of coercive control is not only humiliating for students, it a form of instructional and institutional violence.

#4: Involve students in decision making as much as possible.

I get that institutional leaders are frantically trying to make the right decisions about how to move forward. And there’s lots of factors that are still outside of any individual’s control right now, but that’s no excuse to exclude students from decisions that affect them directly. Whenever possible, engage representatives from student government on committees, councils, and in departmental meetings, or any other meeting where having student representation helps to create inclusivity and equity.

#5: Recognize that there is no such thing as a “typical” student.

The stereotype of the single, white, affluent student who studies diligently in the library and maybe does some varsity sports is long, long gone, if it ever existed in the first place. The reality is that your students are likely to have multiple and competing priorities that include jobs, family or caregiving responsibilities, and come from more diverse backgrounds than the average faculty member experiences in a year. Their living situation might be chaotic, noisy, or unpredictable. This does not equal “bad”. That same living situation could also be happy, lively, and punctuated by moments of spontaneous laughter. Other situations could be the exact opposite: Seemingly calm, cool, and collected to the outside observer, but secretly miserable or abusive. The reality is that we simply cannot know or fathom the multitude of personal or family circumstances students are living in right now.

All of this is to say that as instructors and leaders one of our responsibilities is to stop assuming, and start asking. Stop obliging and start offering. Meet students where they are at, not where you want them to be. In short, focus more students’ dignity and less instructional or institutional demands.

Now more than ever, we need to make a commitment to equitable and just teaching and learning practices.

Related posts:

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


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