Excellent Start to INTEGRITY Project at the University of Vienna

Dr Mark Glynn and Dr Laura Costelloe from the Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) were in Vienna last week to lead and contribute to a series of productive meetings and development workshops with project partners for the Erasmus+ funded INTEGRITY project.  

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INTEGRITY (Academic Integrity for Quality Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions in Georgia) is a two-year collaboration project with colleagues in partner institutions in Ilia State University (Georgia), University of Roehampton (UK), Uppsala Universitet (Sweden) and Universität Wien (Austria) as well as a range of associated HEIs in Georgia. This Erasmus+ project, funded under the KA2 strand, is aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes that are based on the principles of academic integrity, supported by policies, mechanisms and tools that help prevent and detect cases of plagiarism in higher education institutions in Georgia. More specifically the project aims to support:

• the successful introduction of plagiarism prevention and detection electronic tools in Georgian HEIs;

• the design and launch of an information campaign in Georgian HEIs defining academic integrity and promoting best practice principles of academic integrity;

• the development of faculty in the area of effective assessment, teaching and learning to promote academic integrity.

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The main inputs from the TEU were centred around the provision of professional development for academic staff in Georgian partner institutions, with a particular focus on how various approaches to assessment and feedback can promote academic integrity, as well as examining how technology – including text-matching software – can play an important role in promoting academic integrity and detecting incidents of plagiarism. The TEU team led an interactive faculty development workshop on assessment design for academic integrity, complemented by a presentation on giving feedback to students on academic writing. Dr Mark Glynn also delivered a series of demonstrations highlighting the benefits of technology and text-matching tools such as as Urkund and Turnitin for both academic staff and students to promote academic integrity. 

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The next steps for the TEU in this project involve the development of a suite of resources for academic faculty and students, designed to promote academic integrity and reduce plagiarism. The TEU is currently building an assessment design ‘toolkit’ for higher education teachers; this will include resources (e.g. videos, guides, self-assessment activities and case studies) which can be used by individual academics when approaching the design of assessments; alternatively the toolkit might be used by programme leaders or academic developers to deliver a workshop on assessment design for academic integrity.

Vienna Academic Integrity 2.jpegContemporary literature suggests that effective assessment design can ensure more authentic assessments which reduce the opportunities for students to breach academic integrity standards and ‘outsource’ assignments to third parties or essay mills (see for example, Newton & Lang, 2016; Carroll & Appleton, 2001). It is expected that this toolkit will be launched in Autumn 2018 in time for the new academic year. The TEU team is also working with partners in the University of Roehampton to build on existing resources in the areas of academic writing, citation and referencing for students and this material will be freely shared with INTEGRITY project partners and other interested parties.

For more information on the INTEGRITY project please contact Dr Laura Costelloe (Laura.Costelloe@dcu.ie; @Lostelloe) or Dr Mark Glynn (Mark.Glynn@dcu.ie; @glynnmark).

Discovering our Talent and Creativity through a Purposefully Different Experience

Last Friday, staff in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) joined together for a whole of team collaborative professional development activity. Notably, this experience was purposefully different with a creative twist. In two teams, combining over 20 people across all three NIDL units, the challenge for the morning was to produce a large piece of urban art (i.e., graffiti) based on two randomly assigned themes.

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IMG_5241.JPGAs hopefully you can tell from the selected images the two themes were Pirates and Western. At first this was a rather daunting task for people in the face of two large blank canvasses (walls). However, after a brief 101 tutorial on the basics of drawing and painting graffiti from our two expert mentors, each team set about their task by brainstorming possible concepts, sketching out initial designs and learning how to hold and spray a paint can.

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Some people took to this task naturally whereas others slowly warmed to the experience, especially given the doors were left open most of the time to avoid paint fumes.

It’s also fair to say that dividing up tasks, learning new artistic skills and working in a team to produce the intended design was not easy. Notably, the two groups responded quite differently to the challenge under the guidance of their respective team leaders.

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There was a lot of good banter and healthy competition, nevertheless, between the two teams as the large walls gradually filled and increasingly became alive with colourful imagery.

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Over the course of the morning a number of hidden talents emerged and by the end of the experience both teams were rather pleased with their efforts. We believe the final results depicted in the photos immediately above and below illustrate the creative flair, collective problem-solving abilities and collaborative across unit potential of the NIDL team–that is, irrespective of whether you seek treasure or just prefer to have a quiet drink in the saloon.

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Of course, the challenge for us in the New Year is to build on this innovative professional development experience to more fully harness our combined talents. We hope through this non digital experience (apart from the photos) that we have set a new benchmark for discovering more creative, distinctive and transformative ways of realising our vision of designing, implementing and researching new Blended, Online and Digitally-enhanced (BOLD) models of education.

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In the meantime, the words of Einstein spring to mind and go some way to encapsulating the real spirit and essence of last week’s purposefully different professional development challenge, as we strive in the NIDL to promote talent, creativity, and consistent excellence:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”

(Albert Einstein)