New Study of Sources in Student Papers

TurnItIn has released a new whitepaper about sources for student work. For the study, they have drawn from their extensive database of student papers (112 million content matches from 28 million student papers).

“Key findings include:

  • Only just over half of Internet sources in student writing come from legitimate educational resources. 57% of matches come from academic and homework sites, news and portal sites and encyclopedias
  • Poor research practices lead students to a significant number of sites that are not authoritative. 43% of matches lead to sites that are academically suspect, including cheat sites and paper mills, shopping sites, and social and user-generated content. More pointedly, 19% of content matches come from paper mills and cheat sites. In looking at the issue of plagiarism, it is safe to assume, at minimum, 19% of matched content comes from sources of academic disrepute.
  • Already the most popular student source, reliance on Wikipedia continues strong. Wikipedia remains the most popular source for unoriginal content in student writing.
  • Higher education students need further instruction on proper research habits. Educators should incorporate the teaching of proper research habits upfront in order to reduce the number of academically dubious sources that appear in student writing.”

Source: “The Sources in Student Writing – Higher Education,” TurnItIn Whitepaper Sources in Student Writing (HE)

Voicethread Academy at Berkshire CC

imageTwenty faculty gathered for a Voicethread Workshop on May 20 with EdTech Teachers leader Beth Holland. We learned how to use Voicethread, a cloud-based application that allows instructors to upload, share and discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos with students. Students can then comment on the Voicethreads by using a microphone, webcam, text, phone, or audio-file upload.

The workshop featured both skill-building with Voicethread with faculty using headsets to record audio narrations, and pedagogical considerations and discussions. A follow-on workshop is scheduled for June 18th to learn how to integrate Voicethreads with the Moodle Learning Management System.

New Study From California Community Colleges on Online Learning

From Inside Higher Ed, a new report out this month: Online Learning and Student Outcomes in California’s Community Colleges, by Hans Johnson  and Marisol Cuellar Mejia.

The authors found, based on a study of  what appears to be the complete Fall 2006 cohort from the CA community college system (that: “When we examine student outcomes, we ‑ find a surprising result: short-term outcomes are poor, but long-term outcomes are not.”

It appears that students, and especially at-risk students, do not complete or fail at 11-14% higher rates in individual online courses compared to traditional on-campus courses, according to the study. BUT, “when we examine long-term outcomes, the picture looks brighter. Students who take at least some online courses are more likely than those who take only traditional courses to earn an associate’s degree or to transfer to a four-year institution. For some students, online courses o­er a useful tool that helps them to reach their goals.”

This sounds like the classic case of “the rich get richer.” That is, students who will be successful (=not at-risk) use online courses to complement their studies, and actually succeed at a somewhat higher rate than those who just take on-campus classes.

Note that this study uses 2006 data, which would mean that the online pedagogies in use are 8 years behind where we are now. It is unfortunate that academic research has this lag factor. How much have student AND faculty learned about teaching and learning online in almost a decade? Quite a bit.

Read a summary here:

Moodle Orientation for New and Beginner Online Faculty, August 25

On Monday, August 25th, CTL/Academic Technology will offer a three-hour workshop on beginning with Moodle, our official Learning Management System.

Topics covered in this workshop will include:

  • Alignment of course objectives, materials, and assessments
  • What constitutes an online course
  • Strategies for organizing course materials
  • How to navigate in Moodle
  • How to create a profile
  • How to upload documents
  • How to create an assignment

SAVE THE DATE! More information and registration details are forthcoming.

Voicethread Academy is coming — May 20. Only 3 seats left!

Dear BCC Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty –

Voicethread logoPlease join us for the Voicethread Academy, a day-long training in using this innovative student engagement, presentation, lecture capture, and discussion tool. Voicethread (read in detail about Voicethread here: is now integrated with the Moodle platform, and provides numerous ways to make your Moodle course more interactive by incorporating visual and audio components. Voicethread is easy to learn and easy to use!

Our Academy will be led by Beth Holland from EdTech Teacher. Beth has presented workshops at TEDxMosesBrown, the Global Education Conference, the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Expo, the MassCUE Technology Conference, and others. She has expertise in online teaching and learning, mobile, and assistive technologies. Beth previously served as the Director of Academic Technology at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Rhode Island, and at the Naval War College in the Innovation Lab.  Beth holds an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.

More details information about our detailed agenda, lunch, etc., will be forthcoming. A faculty stipend of $150 will be offered for completing the full workshop. Please block off 9:00am to 4:00pm if you register. The Academy is limited to 20 people. Registration closes Monday, May 5 or when we reach capacity. Register here:

BCC Adjunct Professional Event — April 15

Dear Adjuncts,

You are warmly invited to the Adjunct Professional Event for Spring 2014!

Our program will consist of the following:

Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Room: G10 and Falcon’s Nest


3pm – 4:30pm (Room G10) “New Legal Guidelines for the Communty College Classroom” with Gina Yarborough, Commonwealth Legal Counsel

Gina Yarborough will join us for this session, and lead us through essential information you need to know concerning FERPA and electronic communications; ADA requirements; and classroom issues. She will share stories that highlight the need to know information, and answer your questions. Gina is a popular presenter who brings humor and insight to these topics.

4:30 – 5:00pm (Falcon’s Nest)    Networking Reception 

5:15 – 7:30pm  (Room G10)   Adjunct Appreciation Dinner

Please plan to attend these events, which promise to full of dialog, essential information, and opportunities to meet your colleagues. A $75 stipend will be offered to acknowledge your commitment of time for the afternoon workshop and evening event. This is not a required event for BCC Adjunct faculty.

Register here today!

Silicon Valley seeks English Majors!

In a twist of the usual “you can only find a job in engineering or computer science,” The Wall Street Journal features an interview with Santosh Jayaram, former Google executive and veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He shares, “Are you kidding? English majors are exactly the people I’m looking for…Almost anything you can imagine you can now build, so the battleground in business has shifted from engineering, which everybody can do, to storytelling, for which many fewer people have real talent. That’s why I want to meet your English majors.” Read more:

“How to Avoid a Bonfire of the Humanities”

Moodle is favorite LMS for Small Colleges

An interesting research result, obtained not by surveys but by search engine results showing which LMS colleges are using and charting them by FTE.

From the Inside Higher Ed article:

“Mark Strassman, Blackboard’s senior vice president of industry and product management, said via email: “We are not surprised. This trend was part of the rationale for our investment in MoodleRooms and NetSpot in 2012. It’s clear that for some smaller FTE institutions, Moodle has been a good fit and we’re supporting a lot of them now with Moodlerooms. Every institution has different needs and different goals, so this gave us a way to support the use of Moodle with an offering that simplifies and enhances the basic Moodle LMS.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed