2018 International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating

October 4, 2018

At the University of Calgary we will mark the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating on October 17, 2018. We join with dozens of other institutions worldwide who have pledged their commitment to take action by registering their participate with the International Center for Academic Integrity.

ICAI Intl Day of Action 2018.jpeg

Contract cheating includes, but is not limited to, essay mills, homework completion services and impersonators for exams and even course work. Join us for an engaging and invigorating campus-wide discussion about how we tackle this complex subject.

At the University of Calgary, I’ll be co-hosting a campus-wide event with our our Academic Integrity Coordinator, Lee-Ann Penaluna, hosted by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

In this session participants will:

  • Explore what contract cheating is in a post-secondary context.
  • Explore how multi-stakeholder approaches are needed to address this complex subject.
  • Reflect on concrete ways to detect and deter contract cheating.

We are excited to announce we’ll have a special guest presentation via Skype from Dr. Thomas Lancaster, from the UK, whose is one of the world’s leading experts on contract cheating.

We will also join in the social media white board campaign, using the hashtags #excelwithintegrity and #defeatthecheat.

2018 International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating

The event is open to everyone on campus, including students, faculty, staff and others. We also welcome members of the public to find out more about what contract cheating is and how to take action to promote integrity in education. Register to attend the University of Calgary event here.

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

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My Teaching Story: Celebrating 25 Years

September 4, 2018

Sarah Elaine Eaton - 2018-09-03a-small.jpgThis 2018-2019 academic year I celebrate my 25th year of teaching in higher education.

Here’s an overview of what that looks like:

  • Years as a sessional instructor: 22
  • Years as a full-time faculty member: 2 completed. Entering Year 3
  • Number of educational institutions: 2 institutions for credit courses; 4 institutions for non-credit courses
  • Number of additional organizations where I have given workshops or individual training sessions: I can’t remember or count
  • Levels taught: Undergraduate, graduate, continuing education, non-credit workshops, teacher training, employee training
  • Number of students taught: A few thousand, at least, but I haven’t kept track.
  • Current position: Assistant Professor (tenure-track)

Like many academics, my career has zig-zagged. My first teaching experience was as a Master’s level graduate teaching assistant. I was a brand-new graduate student. I was given a class list and a textbook and told, “Here. Go teach.”

Even though my official title was “Graduate Teaching Assistant” (“TA” for short), I was also what is called the “Instructor of Record”. That means that I was officially responsible for the entire course, including developing the course outline, all instruction, tests, examinations and grading.

I’ve heard that it is no longer permitted for TAs to be the “instructor of record” and that TAs actually need to have some support and mentoring now. Back when I started, graduate TAs were largely left on their own, to do the same work as professors, at a much lower pay rate.

I remember attending a day-and-a-half training session before my first teaching assignment. It was largely focused on learning styles, which has since become a highly contested concept. Things have changed for the better since then. TAs (at our institution at least), get training and mentoring along the way. They are supervised by the Instructor of Record, which means they get to learn how to teach in a less risky, more supported environment.

The following spring and summer, I was hired to teach the same course again, but because spring and summer courses were handled by a different administrative unit at the university at that time, my title changed to “sessional instructor”, which remains the typical term for this type of appointment in Canada. This classification goes by different names depending where you are. Some synonyms include:

  • part-time contingent faculty
  • part-time lecturer
  • contract faculty
  • adjunct lecturer
  • adjunct professor
  • adjunct faculty

For more than two decades I worked as sessional instructor, sometimes teaching up to ten credit courses per year, supplemented by teaching continuing education courses, workshops and employee training sessions. I taught at any institution or organization that would hire me. I also took on other work in an educational context such as program evaluation and even did clerical work in educational institutions.

This year, I will celebrate my 25th year of teaching. Because of the patchwork nature of my career, no one has kept track of this experience but me. And even I have lost track of the number of organizations where I’ve taught workshops or short-term courses. I began teaching at a time before computerized HR records were kept, and everything was done on paper. Even I don’t have every contract letter or pay stub from every teaching gig I’ve ever had.

In 2016, I was hired as a full-time Assistant Professor (tenure track), for which I am truly grateful. Not long after I started in my full-time role I had lunch with one of my former professors from my Master’s program, who is now a colleague. I recall her saying, “You did it! Most people give up, but you didn’t!” She’s right. I didn’t give up. I love teaching and I believe it as much a calling as it is a career. I am enjoying my career now more than ever.

My curriculum vitae cannot accurately show that for 22 years, I travelled from one institution or organization to the next, sometimes teaching for three different places in the same day and the number of hours in any given day that I worked often exceeded what is typically regarded as “full-time hours”. It was a patchwork of part-time jobs that allowed me to pay the bills.

Twenty-two years is a long, long time to spend without job security, benefits or a pension. People who have had their full-time teaching jobs for a long time can’t relate to that kind of life. I have had colleagues who have had full-time roles for a long time share their thinly-veiled assumption that if you’re good enough, you can get a full-time job. That may be true to a certain degree, but there are other factors that can come into play. If one is not able to move to a new location in order to take on a full-time role, for example, then options become more limited.

Other colleagues have declared that “Sessionals are not faculty!”, dismissing their opinions, views or contributions to the academy. The underlying point in such an argument is that only those with full-time faculty appointments have legitimate status. Those whose status is uncertain or part-time effectively have “less than” status, which is neither credible, nor legitimate. But I have seen this situation from both sides of the table now: both as a long-term sessional and now as a tenure-track assistant professor.

As I celebrate a quarter of a century of teaching experience this year, I can say one thing for sure: Teachers matter. Whether you are part-time, full-time, and regardless of whatever your title says you are. You are a teacher at heart. You keep your students at the heart of what you do, no matter where you are or who you teach.

For anyone else out there who is currently working as Sessional / Adjunct / Contingent Faculty, let me just say: You are not alone. You work hard. You have grit and tenacity.The work you do is important. You are good enough. Actually, you are more than good enough.

I challenge you to share your own story. What does this academic year mean to you? What do you have to celebrate? What message do you want to share with others? What’s your story? I would love to hear from you!

#academiclife #highered #lifeofanacademic

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Language Learning and Technology – Showcase of Student Work

September 1, 2018

University of Calgary logoThis post showcases the work of students in Language Teaching and Technology (EDER 669.73), which is a Master’s of Education course. Students who take this course are enrolled in the Language and Literacy Specialization program.

This showcase features the work of students enrolled in the Summer 2018 semester. The students whose work is featured here have given me explicit written permission to share their projects publicly on my blog. I am so proud of the work they have done in an intensive 6-week course.

These projects are examples of authentic assessment for learning at the graduate level. I challenged students to conceptualize, design and develop a project that they could actually use in their own teaching context. Projects were to be tailored to the age, language proficiency level and context of their learners. The results are individualized to each student’s particular professional practice.

Projects had to be evidence-based, supported by relevant research and grounded within pedagogical frameworks, such as TPACK or some other framework that students selected and provided a rationale for.

Check out the amazing projects they created:

Kiran Basran – Language Adapted English 10: Resource and Collaboration Site for Teachers of LAE 10 – https://kiranbasran21.wixsite.com/lae10

Kirsten Cavanaugh – The Name Jar Project – https://kirstencavanaugh.wixsite.com/thenamejarproject

Renee Clark – Canadian Language Benchmark 6 “Buying a Home” Module – https://ellwithrenee.weebly.com/

Danielle Derosier – Life is a Story! What Does Your Say? – https://oralstorytelling.weebly.com/

Soda Pich – English Speech for Beginners – http://englishspeech.my-free.website

Donna Seitz – Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs – http://summersession.pbworks.com/w/page/127497797/Home%20Page

Jane Tyrell – Student Identity Project – https://jtyrrell1.wixsite.com/student-identity

Man Xu – Stop Motion Movie – https://stopmotion-animation-by-manxu.weebly.com/

Shelam Zhou – Canadian Song Bird – http://blog.sina.com.cn/canadiansongbird

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Participatory Methodology in Education

August 28, 2018

U of C logo - 2015I am excited to be teaching this doctoral level methodology course this fall.

Course Overview:

A survey of educational research methodologies broadly defined as ‘participatory’ – i.e., intended to support the involvement of as many interested and affected agents and agencies as possible and oriented toward meaningful, impactful, and sustainable action.

Course Description:

The aim of this course is to support your understanding of assumptions underpinning a range of theoretical traditions and their relationships to participatory research methodologies. You will examine and locate various theories according to their source and tradition, and will examine these theories against the backdrop of the intellectual traditions from which they originate. In examining each of these theories and their associated methodologies, you will begin to clarify your epistemological, ontological, and axiological stances in relation to participatory research methodologies. This is a reflexive process that will require you to begin to develop an understanding of your role as a researcher and your relationships to your research context and its participants.

This course supports your coming to make sense of the nuanced relationship between the researcher and his or her research context by way of working through the early intricacies of placing the self within the research inquiry. It helps you to understand and challenge the assumptions you bring to research through such questions as: What is the nature of reality? How does a worldview influence a perspective on the nature of knowledge? Where and how does knowledge come to be located and positioned? What knowledge counts as a legitimate way of knowing? What are the variant ways in which we come to know? How do we come to know and understand through different interpretive frameworks?  What are the ways in which knowledge is signified?  How might previous experiences and values influence choices of a research inquiry, a methodology, and associated methods? In looking across these research traditions and methodologies, the intent is for you to delve into their pragmatics and problematics, as well as to develop an understanding of the relationship between methodologies and methods.  To this end, we will examine closely the notion of commensurability in research designs. Throughout this course we will how we come to know what constitutes a research problem, how do we make sense/identify/mark/frame a particular lived experience as being researchable, what is the purpose of your research, what is the importance of the research and what are the ways in which a specific subject matter becomes the focus of inquiry. In particular, the course helps you get situated ethically and conceptually.

 Learning Objectives:

To consider the epistemological, ontological and axiological assumptions within the primary research paradigms and educational research methodologies.

  • To examine the conceptual influences behind participatory methodologies, and distinguish key movements and emphases in participatory methodologies.
  • To articulate an understanding of conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of educational research including the interwoven nature of research questions, research methodology and methods.
  • To partake in a reflexive inquiry concerning your values, perspectives, beliefs, experiences and understandings about research.

Approved Fall 2018 EDER 701.09 L01- Participatory Methodology in Education – Eaton

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


2019 Special Issue: Ethics and Integrity in Educational Contexts – Journal of Educational Thought

August 17, 2018

JET 50(1)Issues around ethics and integrity have become increasingly important in higher educational contexts in a variety of ways including research, teaching and leadership. With increasing expectations of research outputs; interest from students to conduct research involving human subjects; and ethical dilemmas of educational leaders in an age of commodified higher education, issues relating to ethics and integrity permeate every aspect of life in the academy.

We intend for this special issue to encourage dialogic interaction among scholars, elevating the discourse around ethics and integrity across disciplines.

Themes

We invite contributions that speak to the topic of ethics and integrity in higher education in a broad sense. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Research ethics
  • Ethical leadership in educational contexts
  • Academic integrity
  • Publication ethics
  • Ethical treatment of Indigenous populations (including ethical considerations for research with Indigenous populations)
  • Ethics and integrity in research partnerships and collaborations
  • Ethics and integrity in higher education
  • Ethics and integrity in K-12 education
  • Medical ethics and related topics (e.g. biomedical ethics)

Types of contributions

Scholarly contributions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Empirical research
  • Critical perspectives
  • Evidence-informed position papers
  • Scholarly essays

All submissions should be substantiated with relevant and current research evidence.

Submissions are welcome in English or French.

October 1, 2018 due date – Expressions of Interest (EOIs)

  • Maximum 500 words, briefly outlining the topic, including a maximum of 5 references of related relevant works (no self-citations).
  • Author(s) bio.
  • APA 6th edition format.

EOIs will be screened for suitability and quality. Invitations to authors to submit full manuscripts will be based on the quality of the EOIs. We anticipate inviting approximately six full manuscripts. We encourage interested parties to contact us with a query e-mail before submitting an EOI.

About the JET: Now in its 51st year of publication, the Journal of Educational Thought is a university-run journal that promotes speculative, critical, and historical research concerning the theory and practice of education in a variety of areas including administration, comparative education, curriculum, educational communication, evaluation, instructional methodology, intercultural education, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. The Journal is international in scope and qualitative in nature. It serves a broad international readership: specialists in the areas mentioned, scholars, and the public in general.

We invite submissions in English or French.

Send your Expression of Interest or queries to:

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary – seaton (at) ucalgary.ca

or

Dr. Ian Winchester, University of Calgary – winchest (at) uncalgary.ca

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


New article: Strengthening the research agenda of educational integrity in Canada

July 25, 2018

There’s been lots of research done about plagiarism, cheating and other topics related to academic integrity, but how much of it has actually been done in — or about — Canada? That’s the question my co-author, Rachael Ileh Edino, and I asked when we set out on a journey to review the published research literature about these topics, casting a specific lens on the Canadian context.

The results have been published by the International Journal for Educational Integrity.

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Abstract

We present findings of a literature review on the topic of educational integrity in the Canadian context. Our search revealed 56 sources, published between 1992 and 2017. A historical overview showed a rise in the number of scholarly publications in recent years, but with an overall limited number of research contributions. We identified three major themes in the literature: (a) empirical research; (b) prevention and professional development; and (c) other (scholarly essay). Our analysis showed little evidence of sustained research programs in Canada over time or national funding to support integrity-related inquiry. We also found that graduate students who completed their theses on topics related to educational integrity often have not published further work in the field later in their careers. We provide five concrete recommendations to elevate and accelerate the research agenda on educational integrity in Canada on a national level. We conclude with a call to action for increased research to better understand the particular characteristics of educational integrity in Canada.

Check out the entire article: Strengthening the research agenda of educational integrity in Canada: a review of the research literature and call to action.

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

 


Using video posts to promote engagement in online graduate learning

July 16, 2018

The first time I engaged with a group via e-learning was in 2005. I have been teaching graduate courses online since 2011. We often follow a standard learning design of having students read material and then write an online discussion post summarizing and/or reflecting on their readings. They repeat this format in just about every course they take. Students have anecdotally reported that they find this process tiresome, static and not very productive in terms of learning.

As a course instructor, I also find it somewhat unproductive. Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that written tasks have their place. At the same time, I also believe that we can provide students with challenging and engaging ways of learning that go beyond the traditional text post on a discussion board.

With that in mind, I have been playing around with using video to make online learning more engaging for my students. Since the course I am teaching right now is as Master’s level course called Language Learning and Technology, we are learning about how to incorporate technology into learning meaningful ways. I figured that if continue to engage through traditional text-posts, we are not really learning how to incorporate technology in new ways! So, I  have challenged the students to do video posts about their course readings, instead of their usual weekly write ups. Students are creating and sharing videos of 3 minutes or less that classmates and I can read and respond to. Students post their videos within our learning management system (D2L) that is associated with the course.

To lead by example, I have also been posting weekly videos welcoming students to each week of the course. In this week’s video post, I offer my own reflections on a recent article that I read, showing them how they can do their own reflections on a reading in their video posts.

Reflections on what I have learned from an instructional perspective

I realized after I posted my video that I could have conducted a more in-depth reflection in my post. This was good learning for me, because I had a lot more thoughts swirling around in my head about the reading I did, but I didn’t express them all in the video. In a written post, I would have taken the time to write, edit, revise and then maybe edit and revise some more. In the video post, I shared my reflections, but didn’t fuss over whether it was perfect. I will be mindful of this when I engage in my assessment of students’ learning using this format.

You can see that I start off with the date, and mentioning the weather for today in Calgary, where I live. I wanted to show students that I was not recycling material and that what I was creating for them was new and fresh.

I think showing that the material is new not only enhances learning and promotes principles of academic integrity, it shows we are not being lazy as instructors. I think that traditional text posts can be problematic in terms of academic integrity because students may be tempted, from time to time, to have someone else write posts on their behalf. This is a form of contract cheating (where a third party completes work on behalf of a student). Curtis and Clare (2017) reported that about 3.5% of students admitted to contract cheating. Even though that percentage is small, it is still important for instructors to offer students ways of demonstrating learning in ways that go beyond traditional writing tasks. It is important for instructors to changes the circumstances that might make it easier or more tempting for students to have someone else complete work on their behalf.

I mention this only because I research and write about topics related to academic integrity, so it’s always on my mind. By and large, I think our students are committed to their learning and act with integrity as professionals and as learners.

My intention with these activities is to offer students an opportunity to engage in ways other than text that is authentic and interesting. The process of reflecting on readings is different when we engage verbally than in writing. We are still using text-based elements of the course such as replies to weekly posts, but so far, video seems to providing a fun-yet-rigorous way for students to showcase their learning.

References:

Curtis, G. J., & Clare, J. (2017). How prevalent is contract cheating and to what extent are students repeat offenders? Journal of Academic Ethics, 15(2), 115-124. doi:10.1007/s10805-017-9278-x

Kumar Basak, S., Wotto, M., & Bélanger, P. (2018). E-learning, M-learning and D-learning: Conceptual definition and comparative analysis. E-Learning and Digital Media, 15(4), 191-216. doi:10.1177/204275301878518

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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 is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


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