Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cheating in Online Courses

A recent study in the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration (Spring 2010) by George Watson and James Sottile at Marshall University in West Virginia, provides some interesting insight into cheating at the post secondary level. They collected data from 635 post-secondary students who were asked about their dishonest behaviours, their knowledge of others dishonest behaviours, and their perception of others' cheating. To allow for a comparison between face-to-face classrooms and online classes, students were asked to provide data on their experiences in both of these settings. Some interesting findings were found:
  1. The data showed that face-to-face students more frequently engaged in various academically dishonest behaviours when compared to students in online courses.

  2. However, students perceive that the likelihood of cheating occurring in online courses to be much higher than in face-to-face courses (over 4 times higher!).

So why do online courses have a bad reputation for cheating when the actual data on cheating does not support this? Is this bad reputation purely anecdotal in nature?

What do you think about this issue? Let us know what your experience is on this topic by leaving a comment below.

Friday, April 16, 2010

50,000 Hit Friday!

Back in the early days of this blog in 2005 and 2006 I had documented that it took sometimes as many as 14 weeks to get 1,000 hits. Today the blog crossed over the 50,000 hit mark! I back calculated and during the last 4 years and 4 weeks it has taken on average 4.9 weeks to get 1,000 hits. That's three times faster than the early days. Nice!

Happy 50,000 Hit Friday to all the bloggers out there! May your hits come fast and furious!

Friday, April 09, 2010

STOP and THINK: What inspires you?

Have you ever had the kind of busy week that can be characterized by an overflowing email inbox? I've got emails that I haven't even read from 3 days ago! That's what my week has been. Well, one of them was a question from a colleague that made me STOP and THINK:

What about education inspires you? Why do you blog about it?

For me it's simple. I like seeing a student get excited about learning. That's it in a nutshell. That is my inspiration.

I've been in the business long enough to know that students rarely get excited anymore with standard lectures where all they do is watch the instructor at the front of the class. Students need to learn by doing. Teachers have a challenge here though because many teachers do not fully appreciate how the students of today *do* things. For example, how they are attached to their cell phone, how they text message with their friends/family fifty times a day, how they use online social networks and how they do 'research' and 'multitask' on the Internet. Therefore, the logical response to this situation is that teachers need learn how the students of today do things. Many teachers need to learn more about the ever-changing realm of instructional technology so that they can better formulate ways to leverage it as a motivating factor for students. If a teacher motivates a student to get excited about their own learning then everyone wins! I'm inspired by that almost every day - that's why I write my blog. It's an online chronicle of some of the tasty tidbits that inspire me from an educational technology perspective.

What do you think? What inspires you?