November 24, 2008


Teaching and Learning
While the Internet has opened us to a world of information and sources, it can also cause problems in our classrooms. The Internet has provided our students with a wealth of websites that will sell, barter and even give away research papers, English papers and essays. How do you combat this in our classes?

In a recent article in T.H.E. Journal titled “e-cheating: Combating a 21st Century Challenge,” Kim McMurtry provides us with a list of 8 suggestions to combat this type of plagiarism:

  • Take time to explain and discuss your academic honesty policy
  • Design writing assignments with specific goals and instructions
  • Know what's available online before assigning a paper
  • Give students enough time to do an assignment
  • Require oral presentations of student papers or have students submit a letter of transferal to you, explaining briefly their thesis statement, research process, etc
  • Have students submit essays electronically
  • When you suspect e-cheating, use a free full-text search engine like AltaVista or Digital Integrity
  • Consider subscribing to a plagiarism search service, like or

Read the entire article by clicking here

How have you dealt with e-cheating in your classes?

November 19, 2008

Creative Commons session, November 21st

Copyright, author's rights, and licensing of personal works continue to enter into discussions at all levels of university work. From faculty authorship to students' creative works available on the Internet, each individual can now specify the conditions for the distribution and use of their works using the Creative Commons.

[From the Creative Commons website:]

What You Can Do Here

"Creative Commons helps you publish your work online while letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work. When you choose a license, we provide you with tools and tutorials that let you add license information to your own site, or to one of several free hosting services that have incorporated Creative Commons. With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify here."

At the "Owning and Sharing Your Ideas" session on November 21, there was a presentation on Creative Commons and panelists led a discussion.

Garrick Ducat, panelist and Instructional Designer at Mercy College of Northwest Ohio, presented the licensing features of Creative Commons and explained how we can't all be users - we need to produce. We need to create more and apply licenses to our work to build the Creative Commons community. He also sees it as a way to skip legal intermediaries between the content creator and user.

Peter Murray, panelist and Assistant Director of New Service Development for OhioLink, sees Creative Commons as a way to provide open use and reuse of knowledge. He also wishes there were more students and educators licensing their work and joining the community.

Micheal Kudela, panelist and Instructional Designer at COBL, noted how licensing his photography under Creative Commons established more interest in his work. He also recognized Creative Commons licensing for increasing traffic to his images on Flikr.

What do you think? What are the pros and cons of Creative Commons from your perspective or discipline? Click on the comments link to leave your thoughts.

November 17, 2008

Google Books

Teaching and LearningTechnology

Do you ever have a hard time finding books and sources to help you prepare for lectures and classes? Do you have a list of books that you would love to read, but just don’t have the time or money? Could your students benefit from free book viewing online? Well, Google has launched something that could help: Google Books.

Google Books allows you to search through a wide variety of books and even provides access to the content of those books. This means that you can read whole books online, although some authors and publishers only allow a few pages to be read. Google books categorizes books into subject matter, has a great searching capacity and even allows you to create your own library where you can recommend books and write reviews.

The topics that can be found within the archives of Google Books are vast. A simple search of books on teaching pulled up 131,582 results. This could be a tool that may help in your research and something that may help your students in your classes as well.

What do you think about Google Books?

November 14, 2008

CTL Fall Newsletter #2

The newest CTL “Communicating for Learners” newsletter has just been released. In the latest newsletter you can find interesting pieces about the 2009 BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair, where Dr. Barbara Millis will be the keynote speaker. There’s a piece about the interesting presentation concerning contemporary scholarly copyright issues. In this issue you can also look at the different dates and times of workshops and discussions here at the center.

Please take a look at the newsletter for yourself.

November 12, 2008

Breaking Down the “Pay Wall” to Scholarly Works: Michael Carroll Presentation

On October 31, 2008, Michael Carroll presented "Copyright and Your Right to Use and Share Your Scholarly Materials" at BGSU’s Olscamp Hall. His presentation was recorded, so be sure to set aside 60 minutes for this thought-provoking view of the coming shift in scholarly communication:
For BGSU communityClick here to view (with description, time, scheduling options, etc)

For other non-BGSU viewersClick here to view (with no other data or scheduling options)
Dr. Carroll began by comparing the scholarly communication movement of today to recycling 20 years ago – now recycling is commonplace as will scholarly communication (open access/author’s rights, etc.) eventually, due to changing times, needs, and the availability of digital tools.
Copyright laws are the crux of the issue behind the scholarly communication movement and the pressing need for change. The first laws, enacted in the early 18th century, were intended to protect those who wanted to make money from their written works rather than those who wrote for impact, as researchers and scholars do. Currently, when an author signs over their copyright to the publisher, they become limited in their own access to the work as well as limit many others due to what Dr. Carroll calls “the pay wall.”

From the price of individual journals offered through library subscriptions or access costs for individual articles online, the prices have skyrocketed, leaving many institutions to make difficult decisions about what they can or can no longer afford for their faculty and students. (Access to some individual journals can cost over $10,000 per year.) Carroll asks that researchers and authors make responsible decisions regarding the publication of their works – to consider the effects of simply signing the first or “opening offer” a publisher extends.
The issue of open access (OA), where the consumer of the works (reader, researcher) does not have to pay for access to the published works, often leads to misinformation about OA… “Open access does not mean lower quality or less rigor.” In fact, Carroll listed several ways that OA is good for authors/researchers:
  • increases impact (# of citations) due to easier access by researchers
  • serendipitous researchers come across works more often, making previously unforeseen connections
  • researchers need broader access to a myriad of sources/literature
  • helps international and poorly financed researchers – access/cost
  • medical researchers – providing out of date treatments due to lack of access to most recent findings
  • current pay-for journals are not searchable because they are not linked (lots of information could be added to the general pool of accessible resources)
One example Dr. Carroll highlighted was the OA journal, PLOS (Public Library of Science), and its successful growth over the past few years, including a 90% rejection rate, high impact, and the ability to publish peer-reviewed works immediately on the web. Other journals are using a similar model, but many other options are being investigated as viable options. (See Philosophers’ Imprint from the University of Michigan, which has been in service since 2001)

When considering to transfer your copyright to a publisher, Carroll asks authors to take an “Aretha Franklin moment” -- “You better think…” In other words, you may be limiting or hurting yourself and other future researchers by giving away all copyright control to a publisher.

So, what can faculty authors do?
  • Check current authors’ rights with publishers (these can sometimes be altered after the fact)
  • Negotiate with the publisher – they are getting used to this process and providing options for authors (it’s your call – they want to keep a good relationship with you too)
  • Many publishers already allow some form of open access, but most authors still are not asking/requesting; it’s a usually a workflow issue, habit, or simply non-awareness (most faculty are simply not aware of their options nor the benefits of OA)
As Dr. Carroll opined, “we’re reaching the tipping point… (and we) need help to push this forward.” Spread the word and become a part of the soon-to-be-in-crowd of Open Access authors!

For more information:

What are your thoughts on Open Access and author's rights? How knowledgeable are faculty or graduate students (future scholars) in your department?... Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

November 7, 2008

Teachers On Teaching: Professional Practice and Authentic Assessment

The November “Teachers on Teaching” session is on professional practice and authentic assessment. Facilitated by Drs. Vincent Kantorski and Sandra Stegman from the College of Musical Arts, this session aims to provide instructors with practical assessments centered on authentic, professional skills and tasks. For more information, we asked Vincent and Sandra a few questions about their upcoming session:

Q: What exactly is “professional practice”?
A: Professional practices are tasks, activities, reasoning, etc. that are reflective of how real-world practitioners work within their field. Teachers can then assess those authentic activities to determine how well prepared students would be to do similar activities as novice professionals.

For example, in Dr. Stegman’s Choral Methods course, students analyze a piece of music that they then introduce and rehearse in class. The rehearsal is video-taped for self-assessment in addition to the verbal and written feedback that she provides. Students prepare vocal warm-up cards that they use in actual practice with their field site students. Feedback is offered from their cooperating teacher.

In another example, Dr. Kantorski has students in a music education class write a letter to a newspaper editor urging readers to vote against a hypothetical levy that, if passed, would result in drastic cuts to the school district’s music program. Students are required to provide rationales, based upon research and the benefits they derived as music students in the school district, for each point of their argument.

Q: Why is PP&AA helpful/important for faculty and/or their students?
A: Professional practice and authentic assessment provide relevancy to course information, assignments, etc. They connect students to the real world of work and life outside the classroom. They can be helpful and important to students because they actually practice, rather than simply discuss or read about, activities they will be expected to do as professionals. This process can be especially valuable to students because they receive their teachers’ feedback and suggestions for improvement and self-evaluation.

Q: Is PP&AA something instructors can implement right away or is there a fairly steep learning curve?
A: It can be introduced in small doses immediately; however, ideas for how to do so are not always quick to arise. That is the benefit of sharing methods and strategies with colleagues from same and different disciplines, as will be the case at the November 12 session.

This discussion session, “Let’s Get Real: Authentic Practice and Assessment,” will be held on Wednesday, November 12 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. in 201 University Hall. For the full description or to register, visit or call 372-6898.

Effective Group Projects

Teaching and LearningWorkshop
Collaborative skills are essential skills that students must learn in order to succeed in their chosen fields. How can we teach students collaborative skills? Through group projects.
While most students grumble at the announcement of group work, there are ways to make group work more rewarding and effective. In an article titled “Collaborative peer evaluation: Best practices for group member assessments,” Lisa Gueldsenzoph and Gary May provides a useful checklist for effective peer evaluation. This includes:

  • Make sure students understand the who, what, when, why, and how of the assessment BEFORE the group project begins.

  • Create a peer evaluation tool that is specific to the purpose, goals, and tasks of the group project.

  • Be the “guide on the side” as a resource to students and to ensure whole group participation.

  • Ensure content of the quantitative peer evaluation form is measurable to discourage popularity points.”

  • Use formative (mid-process) evaluations not as a grading device, but to keep the group on track and to resolve problems as they occur.

  • Use summative evaluations that allow students to evaluate their own role in the group as well as each of their group members.

  • At the conclusion of the group project and evaluation process, seek students’ input to assess the overall experience.

Gueldsenzoph and May also include a peer evaluation form that can be adapted and used with your group assignments.

If you would like to learn more about creating effective group projects in you classroom, the Center is hosting a discussion titled, Designing Effective and Meaningful Group Projects on Friday, January 9 from 10-11:30. Register for this workshop here.

Gueldenzoph, L. E. & May, L. G. (2002). Collaborative peer evaluation: Best practices for group member assessments. Business Communication Quarterly, 65(1), 9-20.

How do you design group projects?

November 5, 2008

Have You Tried DiRT?

DiRT is the acronym for a new wiki, Digital Research Tools. DiRT offers an array of resources for grad students or instructors in higher education. This wiki is a collection of resources that helps scholars do everything from manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts. There are over two dozen links to different software resources and websites that can offer help for researchers.

For example, you're writing an article with the intention of getting it published. This wiki can help with the publication process. DiRT offers a platform to share your work with other researchers, compare resources, help contribute to a collection, or help you organize your research tools.

Take a look for yourself and invite other people to visit DiRT.

Here's your link to this wiki: