It is no secret that technology is excelling at an unprecedented pace. These past two years have led to many shifts within higher education. Driven by the pandemic, educational technology has become the go-to solution in emergency remote teaching, but it has evolved into more than that. We unboxed the higher education trends in 2022 for you here.

As much as we are all trying to combat the spread of Covid 19, it is still here and does not look like it is going away anytime soon. This means even if campuses and businesses are physically open, the hybrid model will carry on for some institutions as we need to be cautious and for others, it will have become the norm. Therefore, many of the shifts at higher education institutions have become part of a long-term strategic approach. The pandemic, along with the natural progression of Edtech trends, is shaping the trends in higher education and technology.

To understand what this means for the near future, we highlight some of the trends we predict will be of key importance in 2022, starting with institutions and educators, and then moving on to a focus on students and their expectations and needs for teaching and learning development.

Staff Wellbeing

Recent studies show that mental and emotional wellbeing have been and continue to be a top challenge identified by both students and staff. While this has always been a focal point, Covid-19 has further highlighted this need, especially for educators. The existing pressures of studying at the tertiary level, combined with adapting to new technology and the study environments of students all contribute to stress levels. Educators have also had to adjust to new ways of doing things, and the stress of students who may not have access to the technology needed to continue their studies.

Educator Skills Sets in a Rapidly Evolving Technology Landscape

A strong focus on contextual and complimentary educator skills development should be at the top of the list of priorities for institutions. Institutions and teams need to encourage and coordinate rapid enablement to meet the needs of new learning needs and be in a position to debate and decide what technologies best serve the needs of their students, their teaching, and their institutions teaching and learning strategy.

Flexible Working Options

Staff will most likely expect more flexibility offered by their institutions coming out of the pandemic. This will have to be taken into consideration with face-to-face learning on campus and would leave space for blended learning models.

Universities to Explore New Business Models

Investment in new business models is key to the future, with an emphasis on attracting and engaging lifelong learners. Demands for shorter, more flexible programs are on the rise, while enrollment numbers on traditional qualifications decline.

In response to this, institutions are needing to expand their offerings, add new leadership roles to their departments, and double down on strategic plans for the long term.

Institutions also need to look at the role of Edtech business at institutions and work with partners they feel match their outlook, strategy, and culture.

Growth in the importance of Communities of Inquiry

Humans do not learn in a vacuum – we learn in communities, through social interaction, i.e. from each other. Digitally mediated Communities of Inquiry should increasingly play an important role in teaching and learning even if only as a secondary mode to ensure future study disruption is managed and hopefully prevented from shuttering learning altogether. Going forward, the focus should be on the creation of deep and meaningful transformative learning experiences, and communities of inquiry help this process along.

Think Globally, Act Locally

One of the biggest lessons learned from the past and important paths for the future is for Africa to solve our future in education through local, homegrown solutions. As the penetration of the internet and mobile learning grows, opportunities for teaching and learning increase. We should embrace these opportunities, take advantage of international developments, and find local solutions to implement them. The key here is contextualization and ensuring that the technology providers and partners used, share the same values.

 

For institutions to stay relevant, it is important to take the above trends into consideration going forward. Student perceptions and needs have also changed and are trending in the following directions…Read more.

The Shift to Online Learning 

Technology-based learning and digital teaching are increasingly part of every individual’s learning experience. This has become even more relevant over the past two years. Evolving from school level to university level, this mode of teaching and learning is even becoming relevant at the work level too.  

This means that while educators have needed to adapt to the changes that technology brings to education, COVID-19 caused a Tsunami of change, with everyone needing to adjust even faster. The scope of the changes has also grown seeing that for digital technology and education to work, it must be used effectively and incorporated in the right way. If not, the whole exercise is futile. 

We recently had an interesting conversation on the topic of digital teaching and learning with Anne-Mart Olsen from Nelson Mandela University. A group of staff members participated in our Digital Teaching eXpert Course (DTX), and we reflected on the course and the abovementioned issues surrounding Covid-19 and the shift to digital teaching. 

The Need for Professional Development 

Anne-Mart Olsen is the Academic Developer at Nelson Mandela University (NMU). Her focus is generally curriculum design and learning design. Her role also entails the induction of newly appointed academics at NMU. The juggle between work and being a homeschooling mom, was possibly the worst experience ever. In the same breath, it was through trying to homeschool a Grade One who is still learning to read, that helped Anne-Mart learn patience and develop her skills further in digital learning.  

After completing the DTX course, Anne-Mart reflected with us on her experience. “It’s kind of hard to admit…but I realised that I had quite a big gap in my own digital teaching skills. I mean, I used to do adoption of technology but that was back in the day when web 2.0 was still the thing….” 

“I realised that in my case, I had to help academics get online, I have to support students if they’re struggling, and I have my kids who I have to help.” In other words, the DTX course had a multi-purpose in Anne-Mart’s case.  Anne-Mart received numerous queries that she did not know how to respond to, and had to research or figure out first before she could get back to the student or lecturer. With lockdown, they suddenly faced new challenges. “We were thrown into Zoom, we were thrown into Teams. We’ve always had Moodle, but Moodle was often used as a repository even by ourselves when we were creating our own Moodle sites. We were assisting academics to conceptualise their curriculum and, in a way, developing it with learning design, and we have a learning design team.”  

Anne-Mart’s role is to bridge the two – to bring learning design and the curriculum together. Anne-Mart explains, “I reached the point where I realised there was such a big gap between what we say we want to do… and what is actually realistic or implementable. We needed to upskill. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping that I could develop myself quickly, both personally and professionally, while attending an online course. While I’ve done MOOCs before, MOOCS are, as you know quite vicious, if you drop in your drop out. This was different – I wanted an online experience. I needed to understand how to transition materials from face-to-face teaching to online teaching.” 

Expectations of the Course 

The need for NMU was to upskill lecturers to digital teaching and learning. Realising that they now offered fully online courses, but none of the lecturers actually ever attended a fully online course themselves. It was important for them to experience the course, but also to learn how to adjust what they do for online teaching – as it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Contexts differ, learners differ. The course helped us understand how to tackle these scenarios.  Anne-Mart explains, “I needed to understand the how – and the engaging experience was such a bonus as it really helped me learn. To be honest, I was not prepared for the intensity of the course, but it was really worth it. I had to learn how to bridge the gap between what best practice and what can be done in practice.”  

The Course Experience and Outcomes 

The DTX course was delivered to NMU over a period of five days. One of the outcomes highlighted by Anne-Mart was that the course blended theory and practical to a point where attendees could actually go and practically apply the theory. It meant that participants could take the theory and create a learning resource. Putting theory in practice creates a resource that the lecturer can carry on using throughout their future course planning or development.  

Another realisation was that online learning should not just be about assessments. There should be some elements of “fun” too and with the right application of tools, this is possible. This raised many questions, such as do we need to assess everything we do, just because it was done in this manner in the past? It became an opportunity to evaluate course material and to convert content to be UDL compliant.  

While this was a daunting concept, the way the course was structured also helped with this process. Participants gained confidence and now had a grasp of how to adjust content and presentations to suit the online learning environment. They realised that they have the capability if they just understand better what is needed and how to apply the technology – reflecting on what you have in place already and seeing how to adjust it. There was a shift from feeling overwhelmed, to feeling empowered. “The reflective practice aspect was phenomenal to bring in.” 

The Impact on Teaching Practises 

The sessions throughout the course helped participants to look at the technology at their disposal differently, “I looked at the online space that I’ve created, which is on Moodle. There are a few things I can add and tweak, but it’s not too bad. But it is not integrated with Teams in any way. So I recreated my platform.” 

Another important change after the course was the use of other applications to increase interactive activities and engagement, rather than just uploading content onto Moodle. Reducing assessments and finding ways to get away from just using the online space for uploading content. 

Anne-Mart mentions the barrier to asynchronous teaching before completing the course. Previously, they had tried to have more of a flipped approach, but they did not have the means to implement asynchronous methods in their classes. For the course, Anne-Mart developed her skills by tackling a presentation on teaching asynchronously. This helped Anne-Mart understand how to do so within a class context too. Realising that a lecturer does not always have to be “live” when teaching. After a few days of live-streaming classes, it is possible to step out and simply set aside consultation times and let students know when you are available. 

Realising there are other pathways as well ways of delivering content we’ve learned that we can hand over some of the work and let our participants use their autonomy to deliver their class content. This has changed how we engage with academics going forward.  

Academics on the course initially felt overwhelmed by the programme and in effect, the experience was a great equaliser of academic staff.  

Biggest Lessons Learnt 

Lessons learnt include chunking the information for students. In other words, bite-sized information is key, so that it is enough to digest, but not too much to process. We also learned that you have time to develop the course further as you go – not every course will be perfect.  

Secondly, academics learned that experience is the best way to learn how to deliver course material online. The process also taught them to be kind to themselves as well as their students. Both lecturers and students alike may feel like a fish out of water initially, together you will learn to swim.  

Thirdly, the collaboration through the course created a community of practice that can be continued after the course. It is so important for lecturers to speak to each other, share experiences, and build confidence in this manner.  

A big outcome from all of this was that lecturers who participated felt they now “speak the same language”. “We’ve learned the theory and also learned how to apply it.” Going forward lecturers have been enabled to teach more comfortably through digital teaching platforms.  

Want to learn more about our Digital Teaching eXpert course? Get in touch. Also, see our current promotion running here

 

 

Insight Into Teaching with Gradescope

Gradescope is a Turnitin solution that enables quick and easy grading. This useful tool saves instructors time and lets them focus on teaching, which is the most important part of the learning process. 

It is undisputed that feedback is very crucial where learning is concerned. This is to help students know how they are doing, which areas to focus on and so forth. It also helps instructors know how they can help their students improve, which concepts to revisit and help them better understand concepts. While Turnitin’s main focus is to empower students to do their best, authentic work, it also saw it best to provide a tool that will help deliver effective feedback and also save instructors grading time. 

Gradescope has solved grading problems for many institutions like Oregon State University. For every module taken, teaching has to remain consistent for every student and the experience has to be as similar as possible. However, with more than 30 000 students, grading each student’s paper was not always that easy. The method that the university used contained instructors grading exams based on the rubric developed by the team and hoped that they would all interpret and apply the rubric the same way. With each instructor drawing their own conclusion from what they were noticing while marking the papers, it was difficult to know how all the students were performing as a whole.  

All of the university’s grading problems were solved when they made a discovery of an entirely new world of data-informed instruction and consistency grading. They could now gain an insight into how all the students answered a certain question. Gradescope provided the university with very unique and clear information for every question regardless of type, from multiple-choice to open-response questions. This allowed instructors to alter instruction, review test questions, and easily compare the similarity between versions of exams.  

Instructors could see how many different answers students gave and how each one was popular because it was relatively easy to sort each question and answers into groups. Instructors could then provide the same comment with just one click for every common response and this saved them time.  

Teaching and learning have improved, with the insights gained from Gradescope.  

Want to find out how Gradescope can help you save time on what matters the most? 

Contact Us!

 

What is Self-Citation?

Did you know that when you, as researcher, do not reference or recognise your own work in a research study, it is seen as self-plagiarism? Self-citation is essential to avoid plagiarism. The term self-citation refers to the recognition of your own work when you are expanding on previous research or referring to work you have previously published.  The reasoning behind this? Research is cumulative and therefore you must refer to and attribute prior foundational academic work.

How Should it Be Used?

There is a limit to self-citation, however. When a researcher uses self-citation primarily to create a bigger impact, it becomes a matter of ethics. This unethical behaviour is called excessive self-citation, also referred to as citation manipulation.  COPE states in a study from 2019 that, “When any of the above parties, editors, board members, reviewers, or authors add or request to add citations where the motivations are merely self-promotional this aim violates publication ethics and is unethical. Additionally, whether or not they are requested, citations to the editor’s work should not be added in the belief that this will increase the likelihood of the publication being accepted” (2019).

What Does Self-Citation Look Like?

Self-citation has been called out on numerous occasions by the scientific community. In one computer science example as pointed out by Nature in a study PLoS Biology the scientist “received 94% of his citations from himself or his co-authors up to 2017.” In this same data set, they list around 100 000 researchers of which 250 scientists have attained more than 50% of their citations from themselves or their co-authors. The median rate for self-citation is in fact 12.7% (Van Noorden & Chawla, 2019).

In other words, excessive self-citation is not easy to miss.

The researcher could easily commit citation manipulation when they want to publish work and increase the impact factor. This of course would open up doors for future publications. The journal, on the other hand, could accept it to raise its own impact factor, or it may be a journal that falls into a niche audience with limited topic choices (Sanfilippo et al., 2021).

What Impact Does Self-Citation Have on Academic Integrity?

There is a direct link between self-citation and academic integrity: citations, and thus self-citations, raise the academic reputation of a researcher or journal in the form of the impact factor score, which is a very visible indicator of reputation.

It can, however, have the opposite effect. As academics become increasingly aware of this form of abuse. It has become clear that the more self-citations there are, the more likely the author is trying to self-promote.

How Can This Problem of Self-Citation Be Addressed?

As a first step, raising awareness of self-citation abuse would contribute to the mitigation of misconduct.  It is important that this awareness and underlying drive for academic integrity would guide academics to use self-citation appropriately. To support this, policies are being developed along with objective measurements for self-citation.

iThenticate, by Turnitin, is the leading provider of the professional plagiarism detection & prevention technology used worldwide by scholarly publishers, research departments, and individual researchers and authors to ensure the originality of written work before publication.

Find out more: https://www.eiffelcorp.co.za/digital-learning-products/technology-solutions-for-business/ithenticate-professional-plagiarism-detection/

 

References:

COPE Discussion Article. 2019. Version 1 (July):3. Available Online. https://publicationethics.org/files/COPE_DD_A4_Citation_Manipulation_Jul19_SCREEN_AW2.pdf

Van Noorden, R. and Chawla, D.S. 2019 Hundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database. Nature. August. Available Online.  https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02479-7

This blog originally appeared on Turnitin’s blog as posted below:

https://www.turnitin.com/blog/what-is-self-citation-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-academic-integrity

Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are not new. It has, and most likely will, always find a way into our institutions. No matter its shape or form, any sort of misconduct affects both students and educators in various ways. The impact of Covid-19 has not yet been determined in its entirety, but we do know that it has most likely contributed to turning a blind eye to dishonesty or misconduct. It has, however, been a problem within the academic community in many ways, even before Covid-19. Why do the academic community or institutions often ignore or leave plagiarism and other different types of misconduct unaddressed?  One reason is that there are numerous myths and misconceptions when it comes to plagiarism. The result? The misconstrued ideas surrounding academic misconduct have unfortunately had a serious impact on the quality of research and published academic writing.

So how do we address these issues and improve on our research outputs and academic writing in general? Awareness and improved understanding of the seriousness of the matter – and debunking the myths that surround plagiarism and academic misconduct.

Let’s have a closer look at these myths:

The Myth: Plagiarism is Not a Rising Problem

There’s a misconception that plagiarism is not actually a rising problem. The belief is that it only appears worse because of the development of technology, and therefore ability to detect plagiarism has grown dramatically in the last 20 years. In some ways, the exact opposite is true. While it is indeed easier to detect plagiarism, it’s also much easier to commit plagiarism. This includes more resources and access to materials at the writer or student’s disposal, and simpler methods to integrate content into their own.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is easier and more tempting than ever. As a result, plagiarism retractions are on the rise, even at publications that aren’t using advanced plagiarism-detection technology.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Mostly a Problem Among Students and Not Professionals

While it’s easy to think that plagiarism can mostly be attributed to students, who are seen as inexperienced academics who innocently make mistakes as they enter the world of research. The reality is that plagiarism is a problem at all levels of academia, including professional researchers. In fact, the problem of professional plagiarism has become so bad that the Singapore Medical Journal and the Medical Journal of Malaysia, published a joint statement in 2008, warning researchers against submitting plagiarised works. In the statement, the two publications said that they have “recently encountered a number of submissions of plagiarised work to our respective journals.”

The Truth:

Students do not have sole ownership of the plagiarism problem, and it is an academic issue that is growing both in and outside of the classroom.

The Myth: The Plagiarism Issue is Blown Out of Proportion

Many agree that plagiarism is a problem, but believe that it’s blown way out of proportion. They argue that despite the rising number of retractions, the additional, intense focus and scrutiny on the media and many academics are unjustified. They feel the number of retractions remains small in comparison to the total number of papers published. However, that number does not take into consideration the numerous plagiarised papers that were caught before publication or, more worrisome, the ones that were plagiarised, but not retracted.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is a rapidly-growing problem for both academic and scholarly publications. It is one that is often underestimated due to the inaccurate data on total plagiarism cases.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Harmless

While it is true that a lot of plagiarism and misconduct retractions take place at lesser-known journals, there is often significant harm caused by misconduct in academic literature.

For example, in a recent post by Retraction Watch, it was shown that a series of retracted studies made a potentially dangerous drug treatment appear to be safe, possibly endangering patients’ lives. This analysis correlated with a 2011 study that found fabrications by Scott Reben, an anaesthesiologist, may have resulted in some patients having their post-surgery pain undertreated.

With plagiarism, the dangers are less about patient safety and more about wasted resources. With limited funding, publication space and research space available, plagiarised proposals and studies cause unneeded duplication that wastes those resources and deny them to new, potentially beneficial research.

The Truth:

Plagiarism can cause harmful outcomes in various fields, and limit important research by blocking potential funds.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Primarily a Problem in Non-English Speaking Countries

While there is some truth in this statement – especially for researchers trying to publish in English who are struggling with the language – language barriers are not the only factors that lead to plagiarism.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is very much a global problem with many of the best known and most prolific plagiarists being from the United States, including the recent case of Gerry Lushington, who was censured for misconduct by the US Office of Research Integrity, which more commonly deals with fabrication issues.

The Myth: Almost All Plagiarists Get Caught

With so many new tools to detect plagiarism, search engines and constant communication, it is easy to think that no one, especially a professional researcher, could get away with the misdeed plagiarism in the 2020s.

The Truth:

Things are almost never as they seem.  There are, in fact, limitations to the technology available. Plagiarism dealing solely related to ideas and data, for example, can’t be detected easily – if at all. The biggest blind spot in the technology is that it still requires humans to both use the tools available and draw the correct conclusions.

In other words, yes the tools available can greatly reduce the amount of plagiarism that slips through, but these tools are not used as widely or as accurately as they should.

The Myth: There is Nothing Wrong with Self-Plagiarism

For many, self-plagiarism is a difficult issue. Since plagiarism is about using the ideas and works of another without attribution, how is it possible to plagiarise yourself?

However, publications and government bodies don’t see the issue the same way. Self-plagiarism raises many of the same challenges and problems as traditional plagiarism including duplication in published studies and wasted funding.

The Truth:

Though self-plagiarism doesn’t have a direct victim the way regular plagiarism does, it still poses a disadvantage to other researchers who might be denied a chance to be published or the opportunity to acquire funding based on original work.

Conclusion

Much like the misinformation found online today, many myths about plagiarism are believable because at their core, there seems to be some truth. In reality though, these myths form a small part of a more complex and evolving situation. Plagiarism, its consequences and its causes, are not straightforward.

Contact us and find out how the solutions that we offer with our partners at Turnitin, can help your institution fight the spread of plagiarism and other forms of misconduct.

 

This blog was first published on:

https://www.ithenticate.com/resources/webcasts/7-plagiarism-myths-debunked

 

Eiffel Corp partnered with CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa as an associate sponsor of the seventh annual Future of Education Summit. Hosted virtually for the second year in a row, the summit took place on Thursday, 29 July 2021.

The event brought together experts from 25 countries across the world, in an attempt to answer whether education needs to be redefined – during and post pandemic. And if yes, to what degree. Various panel discussions tackled different topics within the theme, “Redefining the Purpose of Education.”

The event started with an opening address from Rakesh Wahi, Founder of the Future of Education Summit and Co-Founder of the ABN Group. Mr. Wahi shared key thoughts on the impact of Covid-19 on the global education sector, raising the question of whether the current pathway for academic progression is relevant to the future.

Our Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies, had the opportunity to join in on an important discussion relating to “Technologies Transforming the Face of Education.”

The following message was aired to introduce thoughts and set the context for this panel discussion: “The transformation brought on by the covid 19 pandemic globally across all industries is likely to continue. While edtech, online teaching, and learning became more prominent in the education sector, both the strengths and weaknesses of online education have been exposed. As the world moves out of the shadows of the pandemic, a blended learning model is most likely to emerge and last into the future. The technological trends most likely to shape the face of education include artificial intelligence, hybrid course models, data-driven student analysis, open education resources, quality virtual learning, big data, blockchain, gamification, robotics, and the Internet of Things, and 3d printing.”

Fifi Peters, Anchor at CNBC Africa, facilitated the conversation. She opened in agreement on the several technologies that are transforming the face of education and then raised the important question of “how many of them are applicable for an African setting.” The panel was joined by Prof Dan Atkins, group CEO of the Transnational Academic Group, Dr. Felix Panganayi (Founder and Director at the Windsor School of Excellence in Science and Technology in Zimbabwe), Dean McCoubrey, (Founder at My Sociallife), and our very own Myles Thies (Director of Digital Learning Services).

While the discussion was focused on transformational technology, an important focus was placed on the gaps that exist within the education sector. From lack of access to data to digital literacy, there was a general consensus that not all institutions were on the same playing field when it came to the implementation or application of blended or online learning. McCoubrey added it is important to note there are three components to learning is, one is education (teaching), other technology (edtech), and thirdly, humanity. Aside from access to information and resources, there is an important component that cannot be overlooked, which is mental wellness, and the soft skills that go with human interaction. In other words, going forward we need to “ensure that the balance of soft skills interacting and the human aspect of teaching and learning is also maintained.”

Myles Theis explained the realities that were revealed during Covid-19, “We quickly saw that it takes a lot more than just pieces of technology in order to be able to really create this successful learning experience, bring people in, pull them through a program, and then obviously help them achieve those skills, or within the original framework that we envision…from schools level, all the way through to corporate learning to higher education a lot of growing up had to be done and a lot of experimentation happened.”

“We’ve seen traditional models of teaching and learning really struggling to cope with the challenges required by the pandemic,” said Thies.  Adding that “a lot of the thinking that had to take place could now inform what happens in the future.”  Institutions and schools can now ask important questions such as, “Where do we spend our money? How do we actually get the greatest benefit out of the technology that we apply? And how do we redevelop the programs that we are presenting…so that they meet the needs of the relevant groups of people in those programs as well as meet the needs of all the different stakeholders.”

The panel also touched on how Covid-19 has accelerated innovation and how we’ve seen challenges met with new solutions. Most importantly, however, none of the technology adds the value it is supposed to when it is not accessible – whether through pricing or through lack of skills.

Myles Thies explains, “It is really important that tech solutions are given to teachers who have the right kind of skills to be able to apply them in the right way. And I think the leadership in those institutions, and across every single region around the world, particularly for Africa, should be enabled to understand what they’re going to do for their learners, and how to make the best use of these tools.” Dean McCoubrey agreed, “I think it’s very easy for us to get stuck in the emerging tech and the innovations. But actually, we have a problem with basic access, basic education, and inclusion. So that’s really where we are as a continent and as a country.”

Watch the full panel discussion in the recap below:

Future of Education Contact Form

Complete the form and we will be intouch

 

Sponsors for this event included UCT GSB, Vodacom Business, Eiffel Corp, the University of Johannesburg, Vuma, Transnational Academic Group, Lancaster University of Ghana, and Curtin University Dubai.

 

 

 

The increasing pressure on institutions to monitor students during remote and online assessments has seen a growth in proctoring solutions. Contention surrounding proctoring solutions, such as accessibility, privacy, data security, and equity, have created the need for a different approach to monitoring students.

The Invigilator App offers a proctoring solution that strikes the balance between authentication of students during assessments and invasion of privacy. Hosted on an entry-level smartphone, The Invigilator also overcomes many of the issues related to accessibility, data security, and connectivity.

What is the Invigilator?

The Invigilator is a tool specifically developed for the education sector. Its features overcome some of the challenges presented by proctoring tools, whilst mitigating some of the risks associated with online assessments.

The app allows examiners to choose from a variety of photo authentication and speech recording tools, matched to the level of security required for each assessment.

The Invigilator uses artificial intelligence to authenticate photos, flag recordings containing speech, and generate verification codes for integration into an LMS (Learning Management System).

With all these amazing features to offer – who is behind such an extraordinary app?

A group of individuals, who have committed themselves to be lifelong students due to their passion for education. A couple of lecturers and a developer combined their strengths to come up with a solution that is innovative and accessible.

 

Nicholas Riemer: Nicholas attended the University of Johannesburg where he completed his CA(SA) studies. He has always had a passion for finance and education and spent a year in academia at the University of Johannesburg before completing his articles through FirstRand. He was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early on and has also been involved in a number of private businesses. Since qualifying he continues to guest lecture for the University of Johannesburg, Monash as well as for the SAICA board course and followed his passion for education in co-founding a tool that he believes will add significant value to the academic world in mitigating online examination risk.

 

Jurie Wessels: Jurie attended the University of Johannesburg where he obtained his undergraduate degree as well as honours and master’s in taxation. Jurie is a senior tax lecturer at the University of Johannesburg and has been for the past 12 years. Jurie plays a key role in the administering of the SAICA board 2 exam and has extensive experience when it comes to educational technology within teaching and learning. Juries’ passion for education and business has assisted The Invigilator application to grow from strength to strength. It is Jurie’s vision that The Invigilator brings all the positives of online exam proctoring without the limitations to the world.

 

Matthew Riemer: Matthew attended the University of Stellenbosch where he completed his BCom degree. He obtained an honours in marketing from Vega before self-learning how to write code. Matthew founded BackAlley technology where he works on a number of different projects, including apps, websites, and games. Matthew was the sole software engineer that built The Invigilator application. Matthew has a huge passion for application development, and it was due to his gifted skill set that The Invigilator is able to offer the highest technology to our customers in the easiest and most affordable manner.

 

Dewald Joubert : Dewald attended the University of Johannesburg where he obtained his CA(SA) qualification as well as his master’s in financial management. Dewald has had a lifelong passion for education and through this passion has been able to bring the world a scalable solution when it comes to protecting academic integrity and degree value. Dewald is striving for South African universities to adopt a blended and continuous assessment approach and believes The Invigilator application is a tool that will assist in making this vision a reality within South Africa as well a globally.

 

Want to have The Invigilator at your institution? Contact us today at marketing@eiffelcorp.co.za and get your institution on the path to success.


Gradescope Success Story: Christine Kraamwinkel (UP)

 “The brilliant thing is that it actually sounds easy to use. It’s easier to use than it sounds”

Who is Christine Kraamwinkel?

Christine Kraamwinkel is a lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Pretoria. Christine teaches first year statistics in an undergraduate course. More specifically, she instructs students from the BCom faculty. Her group consists mostly of commerce students, although they do have a few students from other faculties like EBIT, as well as some computer science students.

“Our department is responsible for teaching undergraduate students and post-graduate students and contributing to research.”

Who are the Students?

“Students at the University of Pretoria are extremely diverse. “We pretty much have students from every background…we have students from across the country.”

A recent survey showed that there was a student from every single province at UP, and even outside of South Africa.

The diverse group of students includes individuals from very privileged backgrounds as well as students who struggle financially.  “We have a little bit of everything in our students, every culture, every race, and every background. As you can imagine, the diversity makes it quite challenging in some ways to instruct students, but I find it very exciting to have such a diverse group of students to interact with.”

 

What were Assessments and Grading like Before Gradescope?

“Well, that’s a good question. Before Gradescope things were intense. I used to lecture on Mamelodi campus in the extended program. I used to have about 200 to 300 students in my module, and when they wrote a test everything was written or marked by hand. We only did a few online tests and activities on our LMS. In order to have a continuous assessment, it was done online on a weekly basis as we just didn’t have the manpower to mark everything.  But the big tests and the exams would be marked by hand. Marking Exam papers would take about a week to ten days of constant marking – barely eating, barely sleeping – just to get through all the papers. It was really tough on me, I even ended up with spasms in my body. I even had to go for physio, because I was in so much pain, especially my neck and my back, from all the marking by hand.”

It wasn’t fun. But it was extremely important because you need to be able to give feedback to your students, and you need to adjust or shape your teaching around what you’re seeing on the papers. This process was stressful!

 

What processes and tools did you use before you had Gradescope?

During my time at Mamelodi campus, I did most of the mark work, along with two tutors. It was challenging.

As mentioned, online tests would help us to at least just give feedback in between the big tests to students, guiding them in where they were wrong. When I moved to Hatfield campus to work on the program I am currently instructing, the student numbers jumped to the 1000s. Suddenly my initial 300 students were a small group.

In the past, multiple-choice tests were used. A multiple-choice test does not offer the same level of insights as a written test, though. The system was adjusted to the use of clickers. Students had to buy a clicker at quite a high cost. Tests were set up in such a way so that students can type in their answers for each of the questions and then marked by the clicker system. The challenge was that it didn’t account for spelling errors or any other possible answers. This meant you would still have to scroll through Excel sheets filled with data to find alternative correct answers and check. While the clickers saved time, it was still a time-consuming process easily taking up to a week to finalise.

While the questions and answers allowed for more descriptive styles, one had to keep in mind that answers were limited to 67 characters, for example. Questions, therefore, had to be well thought through.

The university moved away from clickers onto mobile apps, where students could answer using a cell phone. While this allowed for a higher level of interaction and reflect their understanding of the content better, it also meant access to a cell phone during a test situation. Imagine a lecture venue with 500 students. There is no control over messages between students or external resources. While phones were more accessible (less costly) than clickers – but was still costly to own a smart device.

 

Why did you choose Gradescope?

We attended a conference shortly after the news that we were exchanging clickers for mobile apps. We were in two minds about the change due to the academic integrity challenges that would come with mobile phones and testing 1800 to 2000 students. One of the workshops I attended was hosted by Prof. Dave Noland, from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Noland shared how Gradescope had proven a useful and successful tool at their institution.

I immediately identified Gradescope as the solution for us. Our head of department agreed. I did some research on cost and practicality and was sold on Gradescope.

 

How was Gradescope received by your institution?

Our department was the first to use Gradescope as a trial. Shortly after, I was asked to present the solution to Prof. Pulut Lemur, deputy dean of teaching and learning for the NASA faculty. After showing her what Gradescope was capable of, what it would cost the institution. It is costly to adopt a new product, but to my surprise Prof. Lemur was happy, “this looks really good”, was her response, “it addresses a lot of the issues that we have. We need to take this further.” I was over the moon.

As we started planning and roll out and use of Gradescope on Campus, Covid-19 hit South Africa. We found ourselves, and students, working from home and had to think outside the box. Everyone had to think outside the box. One of the advantages of COVID was that all received permission, to use Gradescope free of charge in 2020. This actually made it so much easier! I was able to demonstrate what Gradescope could do – at seminars in our department, and our faculty. And everyone was able to test it. It started spreading throughout our department and shortly after it started filtering through to other departments.

Due to everyone being overworked and under a lot of pressure, I approached my seminars differently. I would send out the link to a Gradescope course prior to the seminar and ask them to register. They then had the chance to complete a simple assignment with four questions that they had to complete 2 minutes before we started. I would then demonstrate how easy it is to use Gradescope by marking their assignments.

Knowing that individuals (especially under pressure) are resistant to change, this approach was an easier way to help lecturers see that Gradescope is simple to use – both for students and lecturers – and how it can save time.

The student side of things – their experience and impact?

Moving to online assessments due to Covid-19 was a challenge. One of the biggest problems we experienced was students being dishonest. They don’t realise the impact it has on their understanding of the work and their future careers even.

The students have found Gradescope easy to use and generally had a positive response. They also saw the feedback as motivation to improve. And with subjects like coding, Gradescope is super helpful due to the checks for similarities of coding.

Due to the high number of students at our institution, we do have some challenges that we still have to overcome, where the technology does not necessarily cover everything yet. But where we can use it – it is amazing for both the students and lecturers.

What would you say to other institutions considering Gradescope?

It’s really a game changer. Marking exams using Gradescope was the least painful thing I’ve ever done. Where it would usually take weeks, I did all of my marking in less than two days. I had all my meals I slept each night, it was so easy. It also took away the stress of those small things that used to take up so much unnecessary time – like adding up the marks double checking that you’ve added it correctly.

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Turnitin – Feedback Studio

“Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide”. -Zig Ziglar

Unfortunately, there will always be students who take shortcuts and plagiarise. Some intentionally, others less so. Regardless of the intent, academic dishonesty disrupts an institution and brings disrepute to its qualifications. While there are various ways to assess the originality of a student’s work, such as copying and pasting strings of information into Google, these types of methods are time-consuming and not foolproof.

Our team at Eiffel Corp understands the importance of academic integrity for both educators and students. To tackle the culture of academic integrity, we partnered Turnitin to bring you their revolutionary solution in Feedback Studio.

What is Feedback Studio?

Checking for similarity – Not your average plagiarism checker

Feedback studio brings you the world’s most comprehensive collection of internet, academic and student chapter content. The extensive database ensures reliable results when checking students’ work for text similarity.

What is Similarity?

Feedback Studio does not set out to spot plagiarism in a student’s assignment. It checks the student’s work against the massive database. If it finds instances where text is similar i.e. matches writing in the database, it is flagged for the lecturer to review.

What can you do with Feedback Studio?

Turnitin’s Feedback Studio gives students immediate access to the information and the tools available in order to have a thorough marking and feedback process. This process shapes and develops students as original writers, boosting confidence and reducing the temptation to turn to plagiarism. For educators, Feedback Studio makes it easy to annotate work with comments and move between features and student papers during the marking process. Here is how:

Give meaningful feedback – Why limit personal interactions to the classroom?

Drag and drop QuickMarks, text and voice comments and automatic grammar checking provide personalized and actionable feedback to students.

Standardise grading – Don’t let grading fatigue get you down

Pre-defined or custom rubrics help instructors consistently evaluate student work and easily connect grading criteria to in-line feedback.

Integrated into your ecosystem

Feedback studio is designed to complement existing workflows through integrations with your LMS (Learning Management System), single sign-on partners and collaboration tools.

Why Feedback Studio?

Feeback studio is used by 34 million students and 15,000 institutions worldwide, including 80 of the top 100 universities globally.

Up to 16% of students worldwide admit to paying a third party to complete their work. Turnitin Feedback Studio with Originality helps you identify, escalate, and investigate potential cases of contract cheating.

Try it out here

https://www.turnitin.com/products/feedback-studio#what-can-you-do-with-feedback-studio-3

https://www.teachwire.net/products/feedback-studio-a-formative-tool-for-improving-writing-and-empowering-original-thinking-from-turnitin

Attending the Africa EduTech conference at Emporers Palace on the 19th and 20th May 2021 was refreshing as it was the first face-to-face conference I have attended since before Covid-19.  The small group of delegates (with masks and sanitizer at hand) were excited to share their experiences and spend some time away from the zoom/teams sessions.

The conference started with a look to the future and the exciting developments with a review of the new curriculum of coding and robotics (Karen Walstra).  The curriculum is currently being piloted grades R-3 and grade 7 in 200 schools nationwide.  Following these exciting developments and practical tips on how this will be implemented in the different phases, the delegates shared their experiences faced during the Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning (ERTL) period and reflected on the 2020 experience and the changes that were implemented in their teaching for ERTL 2021.

Privacy and accessibility issues took a back seat in 2020 due to the need to pivot online in such a short period of time. When developing content or training lecturers we highlight the importance of developing content that is accessible to all, as well as encourage flexibility in the way students access content, learning activities and show their mastery of the subject giving all learners equal opportunity to succeed (UDL). Erik Visser shared the latest development of Special Needs Education (SEN). These reinforced the importance of accessibility when developing instructional materials in ERTL 2021.

Jani Prinsloo and I collaborated on our presentation entitled “Using technology to teach 21st-century skills and make them ready for the new world of work”. During our presentation, we shared the categories of these skills (as defined by Briana Stauffer), learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills. Following the discussion about the different 21st-century skills, we shared our experiences of the skill gaps and the lessons learned we have observed and identified during the 2020/2021 pandemic emergency remote teaching period.

Over the two days, I was inspired by the reflection, adaption, and innovation of the educators.  The love for teaching and their passion to see each one of their different students succeed was clearly evident, as they shared and learned from one another.