The educational landscape is constantly changing at an accelerated speed. The pandemic has opened the gate to a mindset and thinking beyond the traditional learning and teaching methods. Teachers have had to adapt to new technologies as digital transformation becomes more convenient and necessary than ever before.

Long before the advent of the Internet, the concept of correspondence education, and independent learning through distance education programs were prevalent. As digital platforms have become more accessible to purchase and implement, there has been more inclination towards mixing conventional and modern learning to the benefit of students.

If it weren’t for technology, it would not be possible for educators to keep education running in times of crisis – even for a short period. Traditional teaching, online learning, online classes, and hybrid classes are all mediums for knowledge transfer and contribute to the enablement of students in mastering given subjects. These terms have become synonymous with 21st-century learning and education, with blended learning being one of the most popular concepts among educators.

Blended Learning vs Hybrid Learning

The term “Blended Learning” often causes confusion – largely due to the various definitions available out there. To summarise, Blended Learning refers to “enhancing teaching with the help of digital platforms and online educational content.”

Blended learning is a form of hybrid learning that uses multiple digital resources to expand the classroom approach. Hybrid learning does it in two-parts, separate sessions of face-to-face instruction and online sessions. Whereas with blended learning, both systems are integrated along with digital modalities to create a coherent and yet varied learning environment.

What is the objective of blended learning?

Blended learning enhances access to education and maximizes flexibility. A blended learning model meets students wherever they are by delivering content in a self-directed, digital format.

Types of Blended Learning

Blended Learning is broadly classified into two categories: synchronous learning and asynchronous learning. In synchronous learning, groups of people connect with coaches/ instructors in real-time discussions – similar to offline classes. It provides a sense of community and encourages collaborative learning.  With asynchronous learning, educational content is delivered to students. It is more like a distance learning program. It is more flexible and allows students to learn at their own pace.

There are various types of blended learning with different forms of usage and techniques. This includes techniques such as Remote Blended Learning, Mastery-Based Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom and Just-in-Time learning

Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom is a teaching method that works in reverse i.e. from students to teachers. It is where teachers have questions that they share with students in advance. The responses from students guide teachers to areas they need to focus on in further discussions. This in turn helps teachers to set up instructions more efficiently for learners.

Why flipped? The student’s input comes first and the activity then follows. This is the opposite of traditional learning where the instructor will first facilitate discussion and then ask for feedback after his/her discussion.

Just-in-time learning is a method where teachers use class-time for active learning and leave any passive activities for students to do on their own, such as reviewing the syllabus.

It could also involve video tutorials and digital activities which students can complete at their own pace. It allows teachers to focus classroom time on complex concepts that could cause confusion or to lead group work or other collaborative activities.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of blended learning?

One of the biggest benefits of blended learning is flexibility for students – the ability to control the pace. It also creates a space where students can reflect on what they’ve learnt.

How does an SIS facilitate blended learning?

A Student Information System helps educators to manage all administrative tasks through a single platform. It also improves communication among all the stakeholders, and in doing so, enhances the overall student experience.

Solutions like Academia SIS also integrates with a learning management system (LMS), enabling institutions to facilitate digital education. The SIS and LMS integration make communication between teachers and students simple and efficient, both on and off-campus. It enables the entire learning process to become more student-centric, which is of course the ultimate goal of the blended learning approach.

This is even more relevant within the current context of Covid-19. Institutions were forced to take their conventional teaching methods and move them online, often implementing technology at record speeds.  We believe that the new normal of the post-COVID world of education will have EdTech embedded into its DNA, ensuring institutional continuity, helping teachers to focus on education, as opposed to stressing about systems.

Want to find out more about how an SIS can support you in a COVID and Post-COVID world? Get in touch and one of our consultants will be happy to share more information or assist with an obligation-free demonstration. Learn more here

 

This blog was originally published on Academia ERP, and has been adapted by Eiffel Corp, a partner of Academia SIS.

 

As in previous editions, Edtech Digest asked readers to weigh in on the following questions:
  • What is the state of education these days?
  • What is technology’s role in education?
  • What’s just ahead?

While it would be relatively straightforward to get a sense of ‘where things are at’ by a careful study of the numbers, this segment of the State of Edtech Report, some of the “Minds behind what’s now and what’s next’ simply shared exactly what their thoughts are.

These “minds” include Directors of Technology, district administrators, startup founders, CEOs, investors, teachers, students, education leaders, policymakers and others in and around education.

“Their voices stand alone, each one a point of view replete with its own experience and angle. But as a group, there is a certain resonance that begins to come through. How this sounds to you, our reader, is for you to decide. Listen closely, hear them out, and keep the conversation alive with your own leading voice!” Victor Rivero

We were honoured to have the thoughts of or Director of Digital Learning Services added to these voices:
“With the ever-increasing scope, capability and diversity in EdTech offerings along with the wealth of experience, competency and application at all levels, I see educators that are better placed than ever to make decisions on how technology can be harnessed to best serve their teaching and development goals. Indeed, educators are taking back the lead in the conversation on what EdTech innovation should be achieving for them and their students as opposed to being mere stakeholders in the decisions around which technology is used and how it is applied. Edtech promises greater outcomes, increased performance and simpler administration after all, but it should stay true to its aims by putting educators in the driving seat when deciding what’s best for their learners and programs.”

—Myles Thies // Director of Digital
Learning Services, Eiffel Corp (Page 18)

Download the full report, The State of EdTech 2020 – 2021: The Minds Behind What’s Now and What’s Next, by submitting your details below.

Download State of Edtech (1)

Complete the form to download The State of Edtech

A snippet from the Business School Leaders Forum Session with AMBA and Instructure

Never before has it been more pertinent than now, that Business Schools adapt and adopt new technology and tools in order to continue running their courses smoothly. With various crises over the past two years, opting for blended learning formats, and jumping onto Zoom or GoToMeeting calls, have become the norm as opposed to an add on to face-to-face learning.

More than that, technology itself has changed – now more than a tool, it has become integrated with our daily lives, and influences the way we explore, consume, develop and share content with each other.

Consumers of information have three main criteria aligned with their expectations when it comes to content sharing: Relevance, Choice and Convenience. Business Schools, therefore, have to adapt their methods to meet these expectations of their students, with the help of several tools available for online teaching and learning.  At the same time, Business Schools are expected to deliver the value and quality that is associated with these types of institutions. But how can Business Schools maintain their quality of courses with purely online or remote instruction? And how would an institution stand out or differentiate itself from other Business Schools, to maintain and grow their courses and students?

Over the years, Business School students have become accustomed to more than what is delivered in the classroom. Quality of content is important, but there is a further learning experience beyond the classroom. This includes things like the learning experience during the exchange between students with diverse and experienced backgrounds. It is these types of add-ons to the learning experience that adds to the value of a qualification specifically, at a Business School. Students at business schools expect more than content; they see pedagogies that include mentors;  group work and brainstorming with peers and networking as an integral ‘given’ when they opt to study at a Business School. These connections are also expected to continue and grow outside of the course. That is just part of the expectation.

The role of technology in all of this

When taking a moment to take stock of experiences over the last two years, it is evident that online and remote learning can have its benefits as well as its disadvantages. The important question is, how can technology be used so that it does not simply mirror the class experience to the new learning environment. As mentioned earlier, it is of utmost importance that the value attached to all aspects of Business Schools (specifically quality of interaction and networking with peers, and discussions with experts) remain intact, despite distance or online learning.

The Canvas LMS team shared some of their thoughts at the AMBA Busines Leaders Forum on this dilemma (scroll down to listen to the full recording below). Many AMBA Certified Business Schools (Canvas Users) make use of their LMS and the tools available for discussions and forums. These tools provide a group of students from diverse backgrounds, an opportunity to weigh in on the same topic despite their time zone differences.

Examples of technology in action at Business Schools

Instructure has also seen how institutions make use of Canvas Studio to demonstrate soft skills through video content. The advantage of video delivered content is that students are able to watch the video as many times as they can and discuss videos in a group after having studied them.

Synchronous teaching methods have been adapted to suit the new learning environments too. Some educators no longer deliver a lecture in a one-way fashion, but now include open questions and answers sessions, and we have seen more regular informal connections via online chats.

The impact of COVID on technology and learning

In a sense, Covid has sped up the process of connecting online, blended and face-to-face learning in a more optimal way. It is up to Business Schools to embrace this shift, to find innovative ways to leverage all the tools a Learning Management System like Canvas LMS has to offer. And in the process to take hold of technology as an enabler in the management of education, to support lifelong learning.

But the question needs to be asked – how ready are Business Schools to do so? Instructure, the developer of Canvas LMS, teamed up with AMBA (Association of MBA’s) to generate a report that speaks to this extremely important issue.

More about the report:

As stated by Instructure in the report, “We know the theory – that technology can power a collaborative, self-directed learning environment in which students are able to develop new skills, apply knowledge and get better feedback – but more needs to be done to equip Business Schools with understanding about how technology can make a difference at a practical level.

Reports like this are an important step towards this goal, exploring how the industry is responding to the opportunities digital technology is offering and demonstrating how and why technology should be used in post-graduate education.”

Download this informative report here

Want to learn more about Canvas LMS? Get in touch with our GM of Canvas, Clare Reilly, today clare@eiffelcorp.co.za

 

Who is AMBA?

AMBA established that vision in 1967 and, in a volatile, uncertain world, it’s as relevant today as it was then.

We are committed to raising the profile and quality standards of business education internationally, for the benefit of Business Schools, MBA students and graduates and alumni, employers, communities and society.

*https://www.associationofmbas.com/about-us/

Who is Instructure?

The makers of Canvas, Instructure is an education technology company with a mission to elevate student success, amplify the power of teaching, and inspire everyone to learn together. *https://www.instructure.com/about

How to Choose a Student Information System

With the shift in education from the usual campus life and contact learning to forms of blended learning and distance learning, the role of and urgent need for an SIS to manage institutions have become even more apparent.

A Student Information System (SIS) is integral to facilitating the management of current and historical information of Higher Education Institutions. Essentially, an SIS should serve as the heartbeat of your institution, monitoring and automating your institution’s processes and procedures.

When working optimally, a Student Information System works to transform Big Data into Information Sets of Knowledge, helping you make informed decisions and ultimately streamlining your campus management at every level.

But how do you know if a Student Information System is what your institution needs?

And how do you choose a system that can work for you?

Here is a quick guide on ‘How to Choose a Student Information System.’ While it is by no means an exhaustive list, it does help in guiding you to ask the right questions and find the perfect fit for your institution.

 

DOES YOUR INSTITUTION NEED AN SIS?

Does your institution face challenges with one or more of the following:

  1. Report Generation:

Creating and managing reports manually is a time-consuming and strenuous task. Reports also need to be accurate for them to be of value. Due to the margin for human error, the manual process not only takes up resources, but it could also compromise on accuracy.

  1. Data Management:

Data is worth gold to any academic institution. Manual processing of data once again could lead to errors, whether it is due to loss of data, miscalculations, or incorrectly assigned data.

  1. Lack of coordination:

The management of an institution involves various stakeholders and consequently their contributions to decision making and processes. Coordinating communication between stakeholders, long-winded approval flows and numerous emails could hinder workflow – making processes both slower and less efficient.

  1. Attendance Management:

Keeping track of the attendance of both staff and students is a huge task to handle. And the larger your institution, the more impossible it becomes to keep track manually.  Technology not only enables institutions to capture attendance records, but also to allocate data to a student’s profile, linking this important information to a student’s core record.

  1. Finances Management:

The collection and management of fees, compensation, damages, petty cash, refunds and so on is not only an immense task but also critical to the existence of an institution. Manual processes rely on trustworthy individuals and add a lot of pressure as well as time to all involved.

If you can relate to at least two of the challenges listed above, then your institution would benefit from a Student Information System.

HOW TO CHOOSE AN SIS:

Make Sure Your SIS Ticks the Following Boxes:

A compatible SIS can help address all the above challenges, through:

  • Saving time and money:

An SIS automates manual processes, freeing up human resources, time and ultimately leading to financial savings. With limited manual inputs, staff can be redirected to other important tasks and activities.

  • Simplification:

Automation does not only save time and money, it also simplifies processes. Using algorithms, the system can double-check calculations, the listing of students, due dates and fee management easily and quickly.

  •  Reliability and Security:

Once processes have been automated and tested, less human intervention leaves less room for discrepancies and errors. This increases the reliability and accuracy of data. It is important to make sure the SIS of your choice has a track record of reliability, otherwise, you might find yourself off worse than before SIS. Do research on reviews and testimonials, and look at track records of Student Information Systems before you decide on one. The correct SIS can also help limit security risks – allowing certain users into specific areas of the SIS through uniquely allocated usernames and passwords.

  • Training:

Take note that a Student Information System only works as well as its users understand and make use of the system. It is therefore extremely important to include training as part of the roll-out and implementation of an SIS at your institution.

But needs to meet your institution’s requirements when it comes to:

  • Cost and Budget

Be careful to weigh up the cost against usability for your institution. Education technologies do involve a great investment. Both budget and cost would depend on both the size of your institution and your operational needs. Be careful of hidden costs presented by some offerings – where the basic package may seem affordable, but then does not include the functionality or modules needed to manage your campus efficiently.

  • User-friendliness

Change is always a challenge. Implementing a new system will take some time to get used to. While training is essential, it will not mean much if the system is not user-friendly. Ensure that you choose a system that is reliable, but almost as important, user-friendly. Especially for those who are used to manual processes and are not so familiar with technology.

  • Configuration, customisation and integration

For a system to be user-friendly, is about more than how it looks and feels. Make sure to choose an SIS that is easy to configure or customise to your institution’s internal processes and language. In other words, how easy is it to edit fields to match your existing terminology? This affects not only data entry but reports too. Also, look at how well the SIS would or would not integrate with any existing systems – albeit a Learning Management System or a Financial Management System for example.

  • Technology and hosting

Any system, from mobile applications to computer programmes, require updates to match the latest in programming and software needs. How will the SIS you choose to address these upgrades? And will there be costs attached to updates?

Also, think of access to the system. Do you prefer on-site hosting or cloud hosting? If either, what are the cost-benefits analyses of this and how adaptable is the SIS to meet your preferences.

  • Support – during and after implementation

This should most likely be the first point rather than the last. We’ve added it at the end so that it does not get overlooked. When you decide on a Student Information System, it is extremely important to have the support of your implementation partner. During and after the implementation of your new campus management system, you cannot afford to have any hiccups. Therefore, be careful to choose an SIS that meets all the above requirements AND comes with support both in preparing for implementation, during implementation and after rolling out.

How useful was this process? Let us help you find your answers even more precisely. Get in touch today to learn which of our SIS solutions will suit your institution’s needs and requirements.

Download "How to choose an SIS''

Complete the form to download "How to choose an SIS"

www.academia.eiffelcorp.co.za | Email: Hanlie Spangenberg :  hanlie.spangenberg@eiffelcorp.co.za

 

 

What is achieved through grading?  Grading creates an opportunity for students to get feedback on their own learning. The process helps them see what they understand, what they still need to grasp and where they can improve on their knowledge. Grading also provides instructors with feedback on their students’ learning to inform their teaching approach.

Why is grading a challenge?

As grades are used to evaluate the work of students, it is important that grades accurately reflect the quality of a student’s work. If this is not the case, their work will not be graded fairly. Sadly, both students and educators often focus so much on the numbers allocated during grading, the actual learning process is disrupted.

Gradescope offers a solution:

Gradescope was built by instructors who care about educators’ grading experience, and ultimately the learning of students.  By combining deep instructor expertise with the latest machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), Gradescope embraces modern technology to reduce the time and effort associated with traditional grading.

 

Through freeing up more time for teaching, we believe Gradescope can have a great impact on learning for both educators and students. Gradescope allows you to administer and grade all your assessments quickly, easily and accurately, both online and in-class. It not only allows you to save time on grading, but also reflects a clearer assessment of how your students are doing.

 

How Gradescope helps:

Educators upload their assignment or assessment onto the system, with relevant student information, along with sections identified as answers. Students then upload their completed assignment onto Gradescope, either as PDF or image. Student details (name and student number) are matched with what is on the system,  and so an automated process of grading begins.

 

  • Gradescope supports variable-length assignments (problem sets & projects) as well as fixed-template assignments (worksheets, quizzes, or exams). In other words, there is no need to alter assignments.
  • It allows you to grade paper-based, digital, and code assignments in half the time.
  • Gradescope gives detailed feedback while maintaining consistency with a flexible rubric.
  • It allows you to send grades to students with a click of a button, or export them to your own gradebook.
  • Acquire detailed analytics on both per-question and per-rubric statistics and gain understanding how your students are doing.

Get in touch to learn more about how exactly Gradescope works.

Sources Consulted:

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/grading-student-work/

https://www.gradescope.com/

https://blog.gradescope.com/10-ways-gradescope-helps-improve-teaching-and-learning-e9ab37ff7f03

https://gradescope.medium.com/marking-madness-179d9b75b430

 

 

“Plagiarism is perhaps one of the foremost and richest of postmodern dilemmas.”  

Aside from the disciplinary perspective, plagiarism also harms the extent to which your students can learn whilst in years of academic study. When your students cheat through plagiarism they are ultimately cheating themselves as they have spoiled the chance to learn and develop their knowledge on a specific subject. This learning and development skillset could place them in good position for later life so from all perspectives, plagiarism is something which should be avoided at all costs.

They lack confidence.

Even students who are confident about their ideas may be tempted to borrow an author’s words because the author “says it better than I can.” Students may not be familiar with the lingo that is used in some academic areas that are new to them. They may feel awkward about trying to incorporate those words and phrases into their writing.

They think they are supposed to reproduce what the experts have said.

Many students think learning is a passive process, whereby they are supposed to let other people fill their heads with knowledge, like vessels being filled with water. Thus, they may assume that the point of doing research for a paper is to collect ideas, quotes, and evidence from experts. Then, to show what they have learned, they will reproduce it in the form of quotations, summaries, and paraphrases, perhaps knitting together those pieces with some brief transitions. (Lipson & Reindl, 2003; Ashworth & Bannister, 1997).

They have difficulty integrating source material into their own exposition or argument.

It is not easy to write an effective summary, paraphrase without plagiarizing, and weave quotations into one’s own text. This is particularly true if students are simultaneously figuring out what they think and learning how to formulate their argument according to the conventions of a particular field. Students are likely to summarize or paraphrase without appropriately citing their sources.

They do not understand why people make such a fuss about sources.

Some students feel that their experience is enough to support their claims. Others see collecting sources as an add-on chore. These students will ask, “If the source says the same thing I’m saying, do I have to cite it?” or “Do I need to cite my own ideas if I find that someone else has thought them?” These students do not see themselves as members of a scholarly community that is collectively building knowledge but, rather, as islands of self-contained knowledge or as outsiders who are merely trying to get through this ordeal (Ashworth & Bannister, 1997).

They do not understand that they need to cite facts, figures, and ideas, not just quotations.

These students are not trying to slip something past you. If they were, they would not have gone to all the effort of including citations for every quotation they’ve included in their papers. Very often, students are simply confused about which kinds of information need to be cited, or they assume that a citation placed at the end of a paragraph is sufficient to cover all of the sources they relied on in earlier sentences.

They are learning.

Some scholars of writing composition argue that students who abuse paraphrasing by simply inverting word order or changing word forms are just trying to digest new material. Such “patchwriting,” they say, is part of a long tradition of learning to write by copying more expert writers, imitating them as a way to begin processing and absorbing new content and skills (Howard, 1995).

They are used to a collaborative model of knowledge production.

For students who have grown up with sampled music and video mashups, who come from certain cultural backgrounds, or who’ve experienced certain kinds of collaborative learning, it can be confusing to be told that they are supposed to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from those of their friends and family members (Price, 2002).

Turnitin offers a wide variety of solutions that can assist with any sort of plagiarism happening at your institution. Find out more about these solutions – click the link below

https://www.eiffelcorp.co.za/education-with-integrity/

References

Ashworth, P. & Bannister, P. (1997). Guilty in whose eyes? University students’ perceptions of cheating and plagiarism in academic work and assessment. Studies in Higher Education, 22, 187-204.

Bowden, D. (1996). Coming to terms: Plagiarism. English Journal, 85 (4), 82-85.

Franklin, B. (1788). The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. https://wwnorton.com/college/history/america-essential-learning/docs/BFranklin-Autobiography-1788.pdf

Howard, R.M. (1995). Plagiarisms, authorships, and the academic death penalty. College English, 57, 788-807.

Lipson, A. & Reindl, S.M. (2003, July-August). The responsible plagiarist: Understanding students who misuse sources. About Campus, 7-14.

Price, M. (2002). Beyond ‘gotcha’: Situating plagiarism in policy and pedagogy. College Composition and Communication, 54 (1), 88-116.

Woodmansee, M. & Jaszi, P. (1995). The law of texts: Copyright in the academy. College English, 57, 769-788.

Citation: Cleary, M.N. (2017). Top 10 reasons students plagiarize & what teachers can do about it (with apologies to David Letterman). Phi Delta Kappan 99 (4), 66-71.

https://kappanonline.org/cleary-top-10-reasons-students-plagiarize/

Digital Education Trends 2021

The continued effects of the Covid-19 pandemic play a strong part in how the trends in digital education have developed over the last 12 months. Entering into the new year, we should see consolidation around these with many of the same aspects from 2020, some of which were around before education was plunged headfirst into emergency remote teaching and then into a sustained focus on blended and online learning at almost every level. However, some new areas of focus have risen to the fore that were previously only secondary issues for technology-enabled instruction.

Context is Everything.

One of the biggest lessons from the rush to online is the widely acknowledged importance of context and lived experiences of learners and educators. Each country and teaching environment has had to deal with a very specific set of challenges in surmounting the Covid induced obstacles. In Southern Africa, the lack of access to devices, the equitable provision of data and creating supporting home learning environments has been a major challenge. In 2021, look to see more government departments, organisations and educators in general making a greater effort to bridge this many-faceted divide and so bring the potential advantages of online learning to significantly more learners.

Increase in Educator Online Teaching Skills & Agility.

For many teachers and lecturers, 2020 bore a lot of frustration because of the steep technical learning curve many had to take in developing, preparing, and facilitating lessons and teaching online, many for the very first time. Although many made it through merely by coping, it is widely recognised that it takes a specific combination of core IT productivity skills and digital learning theory to get technology-based teaching right. Expect to see more institutions taking digital teaching development more seriously from this year onwards.

More online – it’s what they want.

For many students involved in tertiary education, 2020 was the year that proved that digital facilitation is their preferred mode of learning. While some disciplines will remain practically focused to some degree, the bulk of theory engagement and collaboration can take place online and students may resist attempts by universities and colleges to return to primarily face-to-face teaching once lockdowns lift long term.

For learners in professional workplace settings, greater training choice, quality and flexibility in format, medium and device (mobile etc) will be the order of the day. Expect to see even more engagement and innovation through the use of video, interactive and gamified elements as well as progress monitoring and feedback.

Assessment is in Flux.

Although remote proctoring and surveillance-based exam sitting received major flak for its invasive and obscure practices, more and more educational organisations are exploring and implementing remote assessment protocols and greater numbers of students are asking for it too. 2021 will see significant innovation at various levels with regard to how assessment is carried out and policy and recognition systems may follow suit very quickly to enable a vastly different set of testing and examinations process than we used to have.

Educational Technology budgets and R.O.I

From universities and colleges to corporates and professional training bodies, it is virtually assured that more money will be allocated towards funding for platforms, tools, skills and initiatives that enable and support digital and remote learning in every form. This will extend to the way that digital learning is tracked and monitored too. Likewise, organisations will also be more discerning in their learning technology investments and will expect significant results from them too, now that they are the main focus of delivery and performance monitoring.

More Academic Data, AI and Performance Monitoring.

Not a new trend by any means, but 2021 will see an even greater focus on the collection, analysis and application of users and student data to validate the activity of digital learning and, when coupled with increasingly pervasive AI, used to personalize education for learners. While data analytics has been around in education for many years, from this year we will see significant efforts, particularly by well-funded corporations to develop sophisticated responses to make these solutions work better and more available for regular teaching.

OPM’s and Educational Outsourcing is Growing.

As universities and organizations continue to grapple with challenges of reaching their students through the online space, many have already recognized the serious investment in time, resources, technology, and skills required to be competitive in the digital learning space. In order to try and reach new students and markets, many organisations will invest in partnerships with third-party programme managers who will help them develop their online courses and academic offerings far beyond what they could do on their own in a short time. Universities especially will need to think carefully about how they use such providers while preserving their academic and research sovereignty and ensure they move towards digital teaching independence at some stage in the future.

Schools Need to Transform.

Of all the organisations battered by Covid in 2020, pre, primary and secondary schools have been probably hardest hit as the need to pivot fully online was not an even remotely realistic risk 18 months ago. Many teachers have responded admirably to the challenge but it’s clear that many schools will need to include some future planning at the very least to ensure they can respond to potential future pandemic risks with far less disruption.

Schools and the socialization aspects they embody are so critical for young learners but expect to see a greater emphasis on technology-based subjects as well as the introduction of programmes that foster learner independence and self-discipline as well as a rash of new fully online schools catering to a growing set of home-based learners who have weathered the pandemic well and seek to continue the fully remote experience in future.

 

Digital Education Trends 2021 – written by Myles Thies, Director of Digital Learning Services  at Eiffel Corp

How can we meet your Digital Education Needs in 2021? Get in touch: marketing@eiffelcorp.co.za

“Academic integrity is a way to change the world. Change the university first; then change the world. “- Youngsup Kim

According to The International Center for Academic Integrity, academic integrity can be defined as the commitment to six fundamental values[1]. These values include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage.

Upholding these values, despite the challenges that life brings (even more relevant in our current crisis with Covid-19), forms the foundation of academic integrity.

They become a rule of thumb, a guideline against which we can measure the integrity of our scholarly communities. Without these guidelines in place, everything we do within the education sector loses credibility – and therefore loses value. It is therefore essential that these values are understood, embedded and upheld to inform ethical decision-making and behaviour.

With the fundamental values as the foundation – they become the embodiment of ideals in action. Whereby academic communities can trust the pursuit of truth within their endeavours. In so doing, the community keeps academic work in check and most importantly, maintains respect for ethical, original and reliable academic work.

Here is what is meant with each value in practical terms:

1. Honesty

hon·es·ty noun 1. The quality of being honest, free from fraud or deception, legitimate, truthful[2]

Honesty is most likely one of the most important foundations of integrity. That is what science (whether social or natural) is all about – seeking the truth.  It must be in place for integrity, trust, fairness, responsibility and courage to come to complete fruition.

Honesty depends on the individual first, with a direct impact on the larger community.  In the pursuit of knowledge, students and faculties have to be honest with both themselves and each other. Honesty lays the foundation for lifelong integrity – and should be prevalent in each and every part of a student and academic’s life.

In the same manner, institutions must commit to being honest with students, their faculties and staff, as well as their supporters, and their broader communities. Honesty begins at an organisational level – setting the tone for the entire academic community. It is out of honesty, that trust is encouraged and developed.

Being truthful, giving credit where it is due (to original work), and keeping promises; Giving factual evidence and always aspiring to being objective – these are the building blocks to honesty and ultimately leads to trust.

2. Trust

trust noun 1. The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something[3]

Trust is a fundamental pillar of academic integrity. It refers to one’s ability to rely on someone or something to present the truth. The members of an academic community have to know they can trust that work delivered is not falsified and that all work is measured by the same standards. It is only where there is the trust that new research can move forward with confidence. Trust enables a community to exchange ideas, share information and collaborate freely.

In the same manner, one must be able to trust others, one must be worthy of trust. The student must deliver work that is trustworthy. While the institution develops trust through setting clear guidelines for assignments and evaluation of a student’s work – within a timely and equitable manner.

Academic communities of integrity both foster and rely upon climates of mutual trust. Climates of trust encourage and support the free exchange of ideas which in turn allows scholarly inquiry to reach its fullest potential.

3. Fairness

fair·ness noun 1. The quality or state of being fair, especially fair or impartial treatment, lack of favouritism toward one side or another.

Impartial treatment is essential to establishing ethical communities. It reinforces how important truth, ideas, logic and rationality are. For something to be seen as “fair”, reasonable, clear expectations have to be set. All members within the academic community have the right to expect fair treatment and have the responsibility to treat others fairly too.

Faculty members should lead by example and communicate their expectations of students fairly. They should also respond to dishonesty consistently, upholding academic integrity principles without fail.

Students, again, act fairly when they do their own original work, acknowledge when they do borrow or refer to someone else’s work and following academic integrity policies. This in turn upholds the reputation of an institution.

Similarly, administrators and staff are fair to their communities by setting policies that are clear, useful and just.

Fairness is achieved when academic communities of integrity establish clear and transparent expectations, standards, and practices to support fairness in the interactions of students, faculty and administrators.

4. Respect

re·spect noun 1. High or special regard, esteem; the quality or state of being esteemed[4]

Respect is not a one-sided matter. It requires individuals within a community showing respect towards each other, but also towards themselves.  In other words, it is both an individual and a community matter.

Respecting oneself means taking on challenges, without compromising on values. While respect for others means appreciating and acknowledging opinions and recognising the need to test and challenge these opinions to refine ideas.

Students demonstrate respect when they pursue knowledge, valuing their opportunities and actively participating in their own education. In action this would be contributing to discussions, actively listening to others and achieving their best in their studies.

Faculty show respect to students by acknowledging them as individuals. Taking their ideas seriously and helping them develop these ideas further. And also, by providing students with honest feedback on their work and valuing their work.

Members of academic communities show respect by giving credit to the intellectual contributions of other scholars. This is done through proper identification and citation of sources.

Academic communities of integrity value the interactive, cooperative, participatory nature of learning. They honour, value and consider diverse opinions and ideas.

5. Responsibility

re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun 1. The quality or state of being responsible; moral, legal[5]

To uphold the values of integrity, both individuals and the community they are in have a role to play. Every member of an academic community is accountable, not only to themselves but also to each other – to protect the integrity of their academic institution.

When the responsibility is shared, it drives change. Communities can move others to uphold the academic integrity of the group. To be responsible is not just about doing the right thing, it is also about standing up against wrong; resisting negative peer pressure and to set an example to others. A responsible individual can hold him or herself accountable for their actions. And to encourage others to do the same.

A responsible faculty creates classroom and institutional policies but also communicates what is expected of students. They are acting responsibly by adhering to the guidelines of their own policies.

Students should act responsibly, by making sure they understand these policies and then follow them accordingly.

Responsible institutions ensure that processes align with policies and the institution’s mission and vision.

Academic communities of integrity rest upon foundations of personal accountability coupled with the willingness of individuals and groups to lead by example, uphold mutually agreed-upon standards, and take action when they encounter wrongdoing.

6. Courage

Courage cour·age noun 1. The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty [6]

Last, but not least, we have courage. In a sense, courage is a quality or the character of a person. It, therefore, differs from the values described above. But, each value listed contributes to building the capacity to be courageous. In other words, acting in line with one’s values despite being afraid.

Yet again, each member of the academic community and the community itself, need to have the courage to hold each other accountable to the five fundamental values listed previously.  This in turns creates a culture of academic integrity.

Members of an academic community must therefore learn to make decisions based on the values listed above (demonstrating integrity). For this to have an impact, they need to have the necessary courage to act on these decisions.

It is only through courage that one can create a community that is responsible, respectful, trustworthy, fair and honest – and strong enough to stand up for their beliefs, no matter the challenges they may face.

 

Turnitin Solutions

Turnitin offers a wide variety of solutions that promotes academic integrity at your institution. Click here to download an infographic that illustrates these solutions or visit our website

Get in touch with us to find out how Turnitin can help you and your students.

 

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Eiffel Corp’s Graduate Programme brings on board five graduates at a time. This gives newly graduated candidates a chance to jump into the work environment, helping them learn new skills through first-hand experiences. For us, this is a win-win scenario, as we also gain valuable input from newly graduated individuals who view our activities from a fresh perspective.

Through our programme, we contribute to the important skills development of graduates, future-proofing their careers. We have also been able to place candidates within relevant roles where it made sense for them and us.

For both Eiffel Corp and the graduates, this has been an enriching experience, building into our future as a company, and the future of these amazing young graduates.

We spoke to some of our graduates who have now become permanent members of the Eiffel Corp team, asking them about their experience at Eiffel Corp and their future plans. Here is what they had to say.

Graduate Mongalo Makhatho

What did you study?

BCom Economics and Finance

Why did you choose Eiffel Corp for your internship?

To be quite honest, I wasn’t aware that I was going to work for a company called Eiffel Corp because I received an email from Tryphina’s company. Alas, in my last year of varsity I wanted to be part of a company that is innovative and is IT-focused, since we are moving in the digital space I found interest in knowing more about the digital space as an entirety and when I spoke to Clare on my second interview, that’s when I knew that this was actually it.

Your first Impressions of the corporate environment and Eiffel Corp:

My first few days starting out at Eiffel Corp, everyone was welcoming and introduced themselves so politely, I was shocked at the amount of kindness I received on my first day and as the week past, I was starting to be more comfortable. When we had our first meeting with Ian, I remember him apologising for not welcoming us well, that was a bit of a shock too because a whole CEO apologising whereas in some companies the CEO is only seen on special occasions. So honestly, Eiffel Corp made it easy for me to adjust or adapt to the corporate environment. So, I would say strange (in a good way).

From Graduate to Intern to Employee:

It has been my first intern job, it was quite overwhelming the first few months because it was information overload. I remember we were expected to do presentations week after week. Which was fun because it enabled me to get out of my comfort zone. As months went by we were then moved in swiftly into our roles and doing what is expected of us. Everything went smoothly because we were guided by our account managers and they would assist us with cold calling and setting up meetings. Close to the end of the year, we were then told to pick which department we would like to work represented in the company, as we will be then made permanent, I couldn’t believe that it only took me or us 6 months to move into our desired roles, I guess with the help of Tryphinah, anything was really possible. In our sessions, she always talked us through becoming more than what we imagined ourselves in being.

What have been your highlights over the past two years?

My highlights in the past year: 1 ) Being in the IT/ Education space. As a recent graduate, it’s only now I understand the importance of digital education. 2) Tryphinah being our coach or having a coach at the very start of my career. She allowed me to tap into what I can become in future and where I can allow my headspace to be in the next coming years. 3) To be a permanent staff member within 6 months of my internship.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

In the next 5 years within the company, I see myself being a Key’s Account Manager / Regional’s Account Manager. Outside, a businesswoman.

Graduate Alatha Mseti

What did you study?

Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from University of Johannesburg & Certificate in Fundamentals of Banking from the Charted Institute of Securities & Investment in London, United Kingdom.

Why did you choose Eiffel Corp for your internship?

Eiffel Corp is an incredible company, especially when wanting to work in technology, innovation and all things software. I was impressed that they were partners with one of the biggest educational products in the world, which opens doors to the international landscape.

Your first Impressions of the corporate environment and Eiffel Corp:

The corporate environment has people come and go. It can be hostile if you do not know how to work in a team and with people in general. Eiffel Corp has a fantastic working culture that encourages growth and puts the minds and health of employees first. One of the best things I appreciate about working here.

From Graduate to Intern to Employee:

Graduation was the best day of my life but as the saying goes…what next?

As soon as the contract landed in my emails, I was excited to the highest ever because I was about to enter an entirely different chapter of my life. The internship had opened my eyes to a bigger reality because of the Business Coach, Ms Tryphina Moleke (God bless her very much!). Therefore, the transition to being a permanent employee was quite smooth as I knew that I’m building my career and not just having a job at Eiffel Corp.

What have been your highlights over the past two years?

  • Meeting most of the employees in Cape Town while on the Graduate Programme
  • Eiffel Corp employing me on a full-time basis within 6 months of working in the company.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Achieving at least 3 passions of mine on my vision board and one of them is being a Digital Media Strategist OR Digital Designer 😊

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”
—Alfred Mercier

The year 2020 has been one of the most globally disruptive periods in living memory. Apart from a significant loss of life through the virus itself, Covid-19 has brought about tectonic shifts in the way that people live, work and learn.

In this discussion, we heard from diverse voices, both near and far, about the experiences during Covid-19, both positive and negative.
We also reflected on how those affected have faced these challenges. This includes those directly involved in front line teaching; in institutional decision- making; as well as supporting of colleagues in digital teaching. We created a platform for our panelists and guests to share their views on what they think the next months and years will look like for – all stakeholders – in an even more technology permeated learning space.
Herewith some of the questions and relevant comments that were shared during our session, as well as the recording in the video below.
Question:

Supporting and enabling all educators to apply technology to blended and fully online teaching was traditionally a challenge. Have you seen any shift in recognition within teaching staff about the possibilities of technology and its wide range of possibilities, especially in diverse places like South Africa.

Comments:

Derek Moore:  This is our second dramatic switch to digital in the last 5 years. Did the campus shut down in 2015 associated with #feesmustfall “assist” your organization kick into gear? Or were the two situations completely different?

Stephen Marquard: Lots of differences, Derek, but it did mean that we were aware of many of the likely issues.

Magriet de Villiers: It’s rather speeding up the process – not actually starting it anew.

Stephen Marquard: I don’t think there was ever a complete “switch to digital” in 2015-2017; more mitigation of impossible situations.

Nicola Pallitt: Very different situations, I think the socio-emotional load between then and now has been different. Now the online is forced, it is still political but different.

Dolf Jordaan: We have to acknowledge the value of the student experience ….in the same fashion our 2021 first entry student generation will struggle with their student experience if we continue as is.

Neil Kramm: Yes we cannot get away from that. UNISA always has a crisis – the student body wants more contact.

Dr Sonja Strydom: Agree – differences between ERTL and fully online learning to be acknowledged.

Magriet de Villiers: Many of our student communities worked very hard at creating the ‘campus away from campus’, and that worked well socially. It is, however, not so easy to do from an academic perspective.

Stephen Marquard: We’ve reproduced quite a narrow range of what a campus can be in the online space; we still need to imagine and bring into being some of the more complex and serendipitous aspects of learning together in a physical space.

Maria Hedberg – LU: Yes, the social part is very challenging, we have been discussing how to support it better here in Lund.

Nicola Pallitt: Some of the most physical fields have been most creative – the Drama department at Rhodes have really impressed us.

Magriet de Villiers: That is very true, Nicola – necessity brought out a lot of creativity.

Magriet de Villiers:  Agree, Maria, many lecturers want to come back to campus specifically to access the tools and technologies. They may want to T&L online but cannot due to physical challenges.

Jolene:  So interesting to see how similar experiences are.

Magriet de Villiers: Hopefully the peer-to-peer support and discussions amongst lecturers will continue!

 

Question:

Traditional forms of assessment have taken a major knock in 2020. What measures have your organization taken to respond to the challenges associated with examinations and testing and which of these do you see as being the most successful and sustainable in future?

Derek Moore: Has there been any pressure from management and lecturers for remote proctoring services?

Jolene:  Thank you Derek for your question!

Nicola Pallitt: In some spaces proctoring was already happening, where there are professional boards. Think it might work better for postgrads. Proctoring might not be a one size fits all.

Magriet de Villiers: Absolutely Stephen! And our students have said on numerous occasions that they do not want to go back to the previous types of assessments.

Carina van Rooyen: I am so concerned about the uncritical adopting of proctoring. I’ve heard call from lecturers for proctoring, with the justification that students are cheaters, without evidence of cheating. I would rather us think serious about the nature of assessment.

Maria Hedberg – LU: There is also the uncertainty issues among our teachers of what is allowed and ok to do – for instance regarding GDPR etc etc .

Magriet de Villiers: Agree, Carina.

Dr Sonja Strydom:  Agree with you Carina – many ethical questions to be considered.

Maria Hedberg – LU:  Yes, we have also heard from student voices that they feel ”watched”. The response from them is turning camera off during zoom-lectures, which makes the lectures less engaging for both teachers and students alike.

Stephen Marquard:  We’ve had hugely varied experiences – courses where lecturers thought the assessments were much better, more authentic and more rigorous, and others where lecturers felt less confident in their reliability and validity of their assessments than before. We’re collecting a set of case studies about assessment during ERT to move forward the campus conversation about good assessment practice.

Dr Sonja Strydom:  A good idea of the assessment case studies Stephen.

Magriet de Villiers: Looking forward to seeing those case studies, Stephen.

Derek Moore: Interesting how professional bodies expect HE to prepare students for work, but the same bodies won’t accept sound advice around assessing competency.

Jarryd Futcher:  Maria, I agree with you. I find it is difficult to balance or come to an understanding between those who feel watched/judged (and switch-off their video) and to maintain staff/student engagement (ensuring videos are on).

 

Question:

Could there have been more collaboration amongst institutions/Would you have done anything differently?

 

Comments:

Nicola Pallitt: I think it happened organically – CILT OERs rock:) My bigger gripe is the CHE whose guidelines came a little to late and didn’t acknowledge all the unis guidelines, looks like they are out of the loop with the sector. I feel we need to use our collective agency to talk back to stuff like that

Nicola Pallitt: Fort Hare got a major award recently – lots of good stuff happening at unis many don’t know about

Maria Hedberg – LU: In Sweden we have networks that collaborate, for instance 28 institutions have Canvas. We discuss different issues and collaborate around teaching and learning material

Nicola Pallitt: UP2U will be hosted by NMU and Rhodes in collaboration, next year.

Nicola Pallitt: Thanks to UP2U we piloted The Invigilator and going to try out Connect Yard. One of the most useful events for me in 2020

If you had to sum up the year of 2020 in one word, or one sentence (in reference to education)?

Carina van Rooyen: Much learning, and collaboration!

Maria Hedberg – LU: Agree – collaboration is key, very appreciated in Lund as well

Dr Sonja Strydom: A year to never forget.

Dr Sonja Strydom: Learnings & appreciation for what worked well.

Carina van Rooyen: The system was pushed further than I thought it would go – this gives me hope!

 

General comments and question:

Sukaina Walji: I’m interested in hearing about planning for 2021 and what is being done by different institutions.

Nicola Pallitt: Fascinating discussion, was a useful temperature check. Advice for supporting lecturers and students next year – now that we are going beyond ERT, how should we be preparing folks – any advice?

Mercy Mbewe:   Thanks for this discussion learnt some useful insights especially for some of us who originally had our LMS in its infancy of development . We had to fast track into digital teal teaching and assessments.

 

A special thank you to our panelists:

University of Cape Town (UCT)
Stephen Marquard
Acting Deputy Director
Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching

Nelson Mandela University (NMU)
Mike Swanepoel
Project Lead: Digital Learning Design & Innovation

University of Pretoria (UP)
Dolf Jordaan
Deputy Director: eLearning and Media Development

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Associate Professor Dr Eunice Ivala
Director: Centre for Innovative Educational Technology

Stellenbosch University
Dr Sonja Strydom
Consultant: Centre for Learning Technologies

Magriet de Villiers
Advisor: Centre for Learning Technologies

International Guests
Representatives from
Lund University, Sweden and Spain