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).

Lend me your ears: The subtle qualities of voice in learning

By Clare Gormley

Seldom a day seems to go by without some mention of the word ‘voice’ in academic discussion. Educators and policymakers frequently refer to the importance of representing ‘the student voice’ in teaching and learning activities. Similarly, the concept of ‘the academic voice’ is often used in conversations around the values, opinions, and perspectives of the university community.  However in this post I would like to take some time to talk about the real-life, living-and-breathing human voice itself in relation to teaching, learning, and assessment. Given the evidence of feedback as a powerful learning tool (Hattie & Timperley, 2007), I would like to reflect on the perhaps underestimated contribution of a person’s actual voice in developing and enhancing knowledge.

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Andrew Middleton, well known for his research and staff development work around the development and use of audio-based feedback in higher education, was guest speaker at the recent DCU Teaching and Learning Day. He described audio feedback as “the recording and distribution of spoken feedback on a student’s work” and gave a wide-ranging, stimulating presentation on why, how, and when feedback in audio format might fit into an assessment strategy. We heard how audio feedback can take many forms, ranging from personal to general, and it is ideally suited to constructive criticism on aspects such as evidence, structure and academic argument. You can watch the video of his presentation here: Andrew Middleton at DCU T&L Day

One of the slides that I felt most vividly captured the potential of the audio medium is shown below – it illustrates some reactions from students who received audio feedback from lecturers and it captures many of the key benefits described in the literature.

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Clearly the timeliness, replayability, and mobility of the approach appeals to students. But it is that intangible quality of being prompted to “listen more when someone is talking to me than if I’m reading it” that is particularly intriguing.

You can read Clare’s full reflection piece on the value of voice in learning, based on several talks and experiences at DCU’s recent Teaching and Learning Day, on her personal blog – Learning Rush.