Multilingual essay mills – New article

August 6, 2019

Notos coverMy colleague, Roswita Dressler and I have just had a new paper published. It all started when I was at an academic integrity conference a couple of years back. I was sitting next to a colleague who works in a language other than English (LOTE). The colleague suggested that contract cheating (e.g. essay mills and other forms of outsourced academic work) was a problem of the English-speaking world, asserting that there simply wouldn’t be enough of a market in other languages.

I thought to myself, “Challenge accepted!” I recruited Roswita Dressler to help me undertake a small-scale pilot study. We both have a background in language teaching and between us, we have some level of proficiency in about four languages. We were also curious about the market for academic outsourcing for younger audiences, in elementary, middle and high school.

 

The questions that guided our project were:

  1. What evidence exists that online providers offer academic work in languages other than English?
  2. To what degree are K-12 students targeted by these online providers?

We framed our study specifically within the Canadian context.

Our results showed that not only do commercial contract cheating companies market to specifically to students in Canada, they target children as young as Grade six (approximately 11-12 years old). And yes, we found strong evidence that contract cheating happens in languages other than English (ten of them, in fact).

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on contract cheating published in Canada.

The Alberta Teachers Association is the publisher and copyright holder of this article. They have given us permission to post the article in our university’s digital repository. You can access a copy of it free of charge from here:

Eaton, S. E., & Dressler, R. (2019). Multilingual essay mills: Implications for second language teaching and learning. Notos, 14(2), 4-14. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1880/110695

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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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Father Thomas Rosica: The Priest Who Plagiarized

February 26, 2019

There have been reports in the media recently about Father Thomas Rosica, the priest and Vatican spokesperson who has been plagiarizing material for years (Breen 2019a, 2019b). Just a few days after the story broke, Father Rosica resigned from his position on the governing body of the Collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

Why is plagiarism by a priest so offensive? Well, for starters, the word “plagiarism” means “literary theft”. One of Ten Commandments that underpins Christian faith is “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.  Scholars of plagiarism have noted the act of plagiarism as being a transgression against Judeo-Christian values (Colon, 2001; Park, 2003).

According to the news reports (Brean, 2019a, 2019b), Father Rosica claimed that his plagiarism was unintentional, a result of having to meet demanding media deadlines. Being unable to cope with time pressure and deadlines is often one reason cited in the literature as to why students commit plagiarism.

But there’s a key difference. Father Rosica is not a student. He is a high-ranking Church official who presumably has the agency as an adult to manage his time.

And presumably, a highly educated priest should have known better. It is hard to believe this was a sin of ignorance.

According to news reports (Brean 2019a, 2019b), the optics worsened when Father Rosica allegedly cast blame towards junior staff who helped him prepare the content of his communications.

Let’s get one thing straight. It is wrong to plagiarize. It’s even worse to blame others when you are the one responsible for the communication. It seems that Father Rosica has confessed his sins and seeks forgiveness, which I have every confidence he will be granted. But forgiveness does not equate to the restoration of the public’s confidence. Nor can forgiveness fix an individual’s reputation.

Father Rosica is in a position of great moral authority and power. Plagiarism is a moral transgression, even when it isn’t a legal one. In certain professions (including priesthood), reputation is everything. I suspect that although Father Rosica may be granted the forgiveness he seeks, the damage to his reputation may be irreparable.

References:

Brean, J. (2019a, February 22). ‘It’s wrong’: Vatican media adviser admits to ‘cut and paste’ plagiarism for over a decade. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/its-wrong-vatican-media-advisor-admits-to-cut-and-paste-plagiarism-in-his-columns-and-essays

Brean, J. (2019b, February 25). After plagiarism apology, influential priest resigns from Toronto college board. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/after-plagiarism-apology-influential-priest-resigns-from-toronto-college-board

Colon, A. (2001). Avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism. The Writer, 114(1), 8.

Park, C. (2003). In other (people’s) words: Plagiarism by university students – literature and lessons. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), 471-488. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/gyaccp/caeh_28_5_02lores.pdf doi:10.1080/0260293032000120352

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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.


Exploring the Intersection Between Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Academic Integrity Among EAL Students in Canadian Higher Education

February 12, 2019

JET 50(1)My colleague, Amy Burns, and I recently published this article in the Journal of Educational Thought.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: In this article, we examine selected literature on the implementation of culturally responsive pedagogy in higher education with regard to academic integrity among international students who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL). The question that guided this work was: How can Canadian post-secondary educators demonstrate culturally sensitive responses to plagiarism for international EAL students? Within this examination we used Sleeter’s (2011) critique of culturally responsive pedagogy as a framework to deepen our reflection of how to address plagiarism issues among the EAL population. We related each of Sleeter’s four observances of oversimplification to the notion of plagiarism and its prevention, to contextualize and connect the notion of culturally responsive pedagogy to academic integrity. Using the research literature to ground our recommendations, we conclude with strategies for instructors to support culturally responsive ways of addressing plagiarism with international EAL higher education students.

Keywords: culturally responsive pedagogy, higher education, English as an Additional Language, academic integrity, Canada, plagiarism

Please cite this article as: Eaton, S. E., & Burns, A. (2018). Exploring the intersection between culturally responsive pedagogy and academic integrity among EAL students in Canadian higher education. Journal of Educational Thought, 51(3), 339-359.

If you are interested in receiving a full copy of this article send me an email at:

seaton (at) ucalgary (dot) 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.

 


Call for Proposals: Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity

January 2, 2019

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We invite submissions for the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity. All submissions will undergo double-blind peer review. Successful proposals will be invited to submit full papers for peer-reviewed proceedings.

Submit your proposal here: https://ocs.ucalgary.ca/index.php/CSAI/2019CSAI/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

Abstract

500 words, maximum. Summarize the scope, purpose, results and educational implication of your work. Indicate the value of your proposed submission to symposium participants.

Include 5-10 keywords. We encourage the use of  “Canada” as one of your keywords.

Types of submissions

Paper: We welcome a variety of formats including but not limited to: Empirical research, conceptual scholarship, policy analyses, evidence-informed position papers, community outreach and case studies. Submissions should be substantiated with high quality evidence (e.g. references). Time: 20 minutes, with and additional 5 minutes for Q & A

Poster: We welcome posters that showcase one of these particular kinds of contributions:

  • institutional initiatives (departmental, faculty or institutional)
  • student inquiry / research

All presenters are expected to register for the conference and pay the registration fee, even if only one presenter shares the work on behalf of a partnership or a group.

We regret that we are unable to accommodate virtual presentations. Presenters must attend in person to share their work.

Author Guidelines

We request that authors attend to these submission guidelines:

  • Submit in Word format.
  • English is the primary language of the conference.
  • Submissions should be approximately 500 words, including references.
  • 2-3 Key learning outcomes. “At the end of the session, participants will be able to…”
  • How to make your session interactive.
  • Include tables and figures within the body of your submission, labelled as per APA.
  • Use APA 6th edition for style, formatting, citations and references
  • Double-spaced
  • 12-point font
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Title: Maximum 12 words
  • Use concise headings
  • Use up to three levels of headings.
  • Organize your submission with key elements such as: Introduction; Conceptual/Theoretical Framework; Methodology / Approach; Results / Findings; Significance/Implications; Conclusion; References. (These are just suggestions.)
  • Author bios – 50 words each.

Ensure all sources cited in the body of your submission are also listed in the References. Limit self-citations to a maximum of 3 sources.

Submissions should be blind, meaning that author information should not appear anywhere in the paper. Author information should also be stripped out of the metadata (i.e. document properties).

Ensure your submission clearly shows the value-add your submission would have for symposium participants.

The submitting author is responsible for ensuring that any and all co-authors have read and approved the final submission.

Check out the full symposium details here: . Registration fees apply.

Deadline to submit proposals: Extended to February 15, 2019!

Check out our Quick Guide with tips on how to submit your proposal – csai – proposal submission quick guide

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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.

Article screen shot.jpeg

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.

 


Can you plagiarize chocolate?!

May 22, 2018

A recent news article last week talked about a dispute between a chocolatier and a supermarket chain in the UK. Hotel Chocolat allegedly claims that the grocery retailer, Waitrose, has plagiarized some of their chocolate bars. A photo posted by @TweetsFood shows the similarities:

chocloate.jpgThe news article published by The Week starts with the headline, “Waitrose accused of chocolate plagiarism by Hotel Chocolat”. The headline implies that “chocolate plagiarism” is actually a thing, in the same way that text plagiarism or computer code plagiarism is a thing. It begs the question: Is “chocolate plagiarism” actually a thing?

There are many definitions of plagiarism available. One of most often cited definitions comes from University of Calgary professor, Irving Hexam who has a terrific web resource dedicated to plagiarism. Hexam cites the Compact Oxford English Dictionary and talks about stealing not only text, but also designs and ideas. If this is so, then it is worth observing that the design of the bars, both of which feature curvy edges, a mix of pink and white chocolate and fruit on top, really do seem quite similar. It might also be argued that the design for the bars may have been lifted without credit. So, I think an argument could be made.

What’s interesting though, is that outside of academic contexts, plagiarism isn’t actually punishable by law in many jurisdictions (at least as far as I know). It is morally reprehensible and unethical, but not actually illegal. This begs the question: Should industry bodies include plagiarism in their code of ethics and conduct for their members? It’s an interesting question and my first reaction is: yes.

In educational and academic circles we talk about “integrity”. In business, the term “ethics” is used. One business school defines the two terms as being closely related. If we send the message that integrity matters in school, but not in industry, that’s troubling. The message that both ethics and integrity matters after graduation needs to be taken up by someone other than academic institutions. Even if legislation doesn’t criminalize the ripping off ideas and designs, it is incumbent upon the bodies that oversee various industries to ensure that ethics and integrity are upheld as industry standards. I am not sure what industry body in the UK exists among grocers and food producers, but there must be one. I’d like to hear them chime in on this debate.

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This blog has had over 1.9 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.


Why you shouldn’t post your teaching dossier online

January 30, 2018

Students and colleagues sometimes ask me if they should post their teaching dossier or portfolio online. My answer is immediate: No!

Those who know me know that I am a big fan of developing a strong online professional presence. I encourage students and colleagues to keep their LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online professional profiles current. But there’s something about a teaching dossier that’s different. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read an article by White & Conrod (2016) where they tell the story of how their teaching philosophies were plagiarized.

Your teaching philosophy is a key element of your dossier. Developing it is hard work. It involves some deep reflection, brain work and soul-searching. You dig deep into yourself to figure out who you are as an educator, what matters to you and why it matters. Honestly, articulating your teaching philosophy may be the single most difficult element of putting together your teaching dossier. When it’s done, it should be a reflection of who you are and what matters to you as an educator.

Other people may have similar philosophies, but in the end, your statement is about you and your values. It is yours and yours alone.

If you post it online, it becomes easy for others to cut-and-paste what you have shared. These may not be bad people. They may be too afraid or too intimidated to engage in the deep reflection required to develop a philosophy of their own. Who knows? My point is, don’t make it easy for others to steal your teaching philosophy.

Share your dossier selectively, with those who need it, such as employers or those evaluating your teaching. You might also choose to share your dossier with those who would benefit from it, such as students or junior colleagues. That does not mean you have to post it publicly online. You have other options:

Alternatives to posting your teaching dossier publicly online

  1. Share print copies of your work. This may sound old fashioned, but if someone does not require digital access to your dossier and a paper copy works just as well, why not? You might choose to add “Confidential” to the header or footer to make it clear you do not want it to be shared widely.
  2. Save a copy of your work in a digital format that is hard to copy. An protected .pdf isn’t foolproof, but it is an option. Another option is to save your work as a .jpg., but if you choose this route, be sure that the .jpg is high quality and easy to read.
  3. Save your work as a password protected or “read only” online document. Share the password or link with caution.

Again, share selectively and make it clear that your work is not for distribution.

I suspect that some people who are vehement believers in open access or the sharing culture may disagree with my stance on this issue. There are plenty of websites that offer tips about how to post your entire dossier online. Don’t get me wrong. I share lots of my work online, free of charge in an open access format. It may be OK to share parts of your teaching dossier publicly online, such as your previous teaching experience, but not all of it. The key is to think critically about what you want to share and how you choose to do that.

It is important to understand that the more publicly you share, the easier you make it for others to copy-and-paste your deep thoughts, rather than engaging in their own soul-searching journey. If you want to offer others a short-cut and do the hard work for them, that is an option. But if you’d rather not, think twice before posting your entire teaching dossier publicly online.

The point is for you to think critically about who you want to have access to your inner most values about teaching. In my view, your teaching philosophy is a key element of your identity as an educator. Don’t make it easy for others to steal your professional identity.

Reference:

White, M. A., & Conrod, J. D. (2016). Is nothing sacred? Our personal teaching philosophies have been plagiarized. University Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/is-nothing-sacred-our-personal-teaching-philosophies-have-been-plagiarized/

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This blog has had over 1.8 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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