Friday, October 11, 2013


What is plagiarism?
This week’s blog topic is plagiarism detection and prevention. First let’s start of by defining plagiarism. According to plagiarism is, “an act or instance of using or closely imitating language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own by not crediting the original author.”  Plagiarism involves both stealing someone else’s work and then lying about it afterward.
What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?
Today there are many different software tools available for online instructors in order to help prevent plagiarism with students. Understanding the different tools will help with instructors to determine which one will work in each situation.
Some examples of detection software include:
§  Turnitin ( this site allows for instructors to view student work against many other sources and student written papers. This program also assists with spelling and grammar mistakes.
§  Free Grammarly ( this site allows for papers/documents to be copied and pasted into the site. The site checks for plagiarism, grammar & spelling mistakes. It checks over 2 billion documents for plagiarism.
§  Scanmyessay ( – allows for documents to be scanned over thousands of documents, allows for an unlimited length, resubmission, a side by side comparison of documents, provides links for plagiarized work, and is free.
How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?
       Effective course design practices place a high priority on designing assessment experiences that matter to the student” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Course assessments should be designed to align with the course goals and outcomes. Creating assessments that allow for student choice allows learners to develop a personalized and customized learning experience that requires innovative thinking (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Instructors can provide students with guidelines to follow or rubrics to assist the development of the project. If an instructor gives clear directions for an assignment there is less room for the students to “copy and paste” from other sources.
What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?
            Some different strategies that I would implement in my online course are to use tools or software such as Turnitin or Scanmyessay. Using these tools will help to identify student work that is not written in their own words. I also feel that it is important to inform students that all work will be checked through sites such as these. When students know their work is going to be checked they will be more cautious about using and citing sources.
What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?
Providing clear guidelines and consequences for plagiarism is essential in any setting. Instructors should give clear guidelines for plagiarism, cheating and using someone else’s work without crediting the author. If clear expectations are set then there is no question if they are not followed by a student throughout the course. Instructors should confront students if they suspect any type of cheating or plagiarism has taken place.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Part 2 The Impact of Technology and Multimedia

What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

Technology and multimedia add to knowledge and learning by providing hands-on experiences. When learners use technology and multimedia, they are able to apply their prior knowledge and new understanding in a new way. The more each learner uses and explores, the more they can share and then explore on their own. “In an effort to enhance student learning, effective educators have knowledgeably leveraged appropriate doses of selected multimedia to supplement the course content. In so doing, they have successfully aided the learner to achieve better learning outcomes for the needed objective” (Goodrich, 2013).

What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

Facilitators must be strategic in their choosing when it comes to implementing technology and multimedia within a course.  They should also consider the simplicity or ease of which the specific technologies can be learned and used.  Lastly, instructors should qualify the need by consider the following objectives:

 A) Does it satisfy the need for student learning?

B) Do they have prior knowledge enough to navigate the software?

C) Is the technology being used to reflect or assess student progress?

D) Can it be used collaboratively and asynchronously?

E) Do they help build an effective online community? (Boettcher &Conrad, 2011).

What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

 The technology tools need to be accessible both by the instructor and the students.  You would not want a hard to use, undependable CMS to be your support system for your class.  This would be frustrating for the instructor and students. The technologies used must be user friendly, easily understood and reliable.

 Another good idea might be to have alternative options in case a specific technology fails. A back up plan is a must when it comes to online classes. Even a simple machine like a phone can mean the difference of passing or failing a class, if the main technology fails.

What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as your move forward in your career in instructional design?

Every class I take through Walden University introduces me to some new technology. This class, Online Instructional Strategies, introduced me to Voicethread. I love this software! I have recently begun using it in my 5th grade online class to communicate important messages to parents.  So many emails are sent to students and parents that often times they are not read; however, if I put a 20 second Voicethread announcement accessible with a quick link, the message is read to them. My overall completion rate is up due to this software integration.

Although I am not much of a gamer, I have seen firsthand the positive results students experience when they plan online games that help to increase their math, reading or test taking skills.  I will incorporate games or simulations into any training I develop.

As for specific technologies I would like to use at some point and time, they are; Blackboard, Canvas, Adobe, Google Docs, Prezis, Voicethread, Wikis and Survey Monkey and Audacity.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Goodrich, David (2011).  What are the effects of multimedia on learning? Retrieved from:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Setting up an Online Learning Experience

 This week we are asked to reflect upon our learning resources, consider the steps associated with setting up a course or training module, then respond to the following questions. The responses to the following questions are based upon my learning experiences as well as experiences with online learning.

What is the significance of knowing the technologies available to you?

Online learning environments have one, if not many, technologies available to assist an instructional designer, professor or school in creating a way to effectively connect learners and instructors together.   

One of these technologies is the learning management system, also called a course management system (CMS). As mentioned by Boettcher & Conrad (2010), “the primary tool that you will need to become familiar with is the course management system” that is being used.  This system is used to provide structure in the online environment.  Some of the frequently used systems are Moodle, Canvas and Blackboard.

In addition to CMS there are other application based technologies that can be used besides the traditional classroom discussions. Tani Bialek, an online instructor of six years, has seen firsthand the benefits of using technology to increase engagement and participation. Some of these technologies she has included in here classes are Wikis, Adobe Presenter, websites, and blogs (Bialek, 2011).

Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?

Online learners need to be self-directed and motivated to learn. In online environments students must be able to meet deadlines without being reminded, post to discussion boards and complete assignments without being prompted.  Learners also need to understand how their assignments are being graded, where to post assignments and the depth that is required to respond to others.

If a course or program offers a specific rubric for discussions or assignments then instructors need to post the rubric and describe its usage.  These along with other grading requirements need to be effectively communicated in order to ensure student success.

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?

It is important for the instructor to remember that students will be coming into the class with different degrees of technological experience.  Instructors should be prepared and be willing to help any students with basic technology questions. If the instructor is unsure or feel that he/she cannot be of assistance, then the instructor should refer the student to the Student Support Services website or phone number.

There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when setting up an online learning experience. Boettcher & Conrad discuss the importance of establishing an online presence of the instructor as well as building an effective learning community (2010). A course can have the best course management system, accompanied software and integrate numerous technology tools; however, if the instructor does not successfully develop his or her presence within the learning community within the first few weeks of the course, the students may not be as successful as they could have been.



Bialek, T (2010) Online instructor shares best practices for teaching online Retrieved from:

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010).  The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips.  San Francisco, CAJosey-Bass.





Friday, September 6, 2013

Online Learning Communities

Online Learning Communities

§  How do online learning communities significantly impact both student learning and satisfaction within online courses?

“An online learning community is very similar to a learning community in the workplace or school in that everyone is working toward a common goal that is a sense of co-created knowledge and meaning. However, it can be a challenge to build online learning communities in a distance learning environment. According to Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt an online learning community “is a community of learners who explore content together in order to construct meaning and knowledge about the content” (Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.) ).  

In the book Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace, Palloff and Pratt state, “it is the relationships and interactions amongst people through which knowledge is primarily generated.” The learning community takes on new proportions in this environment and must be nurtured and developed in order to be an effective educational tool.

§  What are the essential elements of online community building?

There are five interdependent elements of online community building. Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt state that there must be people, a purpose, process (delivery of the course), interaction, and presence (Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.) ). The outcomes that we are looking for are a sense of co-created knowledge and meaning (Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.) ). Students have created this knowledge through learning by doing, not relying on the instructor for the knowledge. Student learning and mastery also comes from a reflection of who we are and what we’ve learned. “The online learning community is part of what makes learning happen for many students” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).


§  How can online learning communities be sustained?

Online communities were developed to encourage individuals to teach and learn from one another instead of always relying on an instructor.  Online communities also encourage self- learners to discuss and learn about real-world problems/situations as well as focus on things such as teamwork, collaborative thinking, personal experiences, and so on. Members of online communities are entitled to their own opinions and thoughts. However, members are also encouraged to learn from other online community members’ experiences as well as thoughts and opinions.  

Online learning communities should have guidelines that are created by or provided to the participants about how and when to communicate. In a face-to-face learning community these would be called norms and are very similar in an online environment. It is also important that the instructor fulfills the role of the facilitator and mentor. They should provide a safe environment for students and take responsibility for the students interacting appropriately within the community.

§  What is the relationship between community building and effective online instruction?

There is a relationship between community building and effective online instruction. The online classroom should have a welcoming feel and should be slightly personalized for each instructor. If the learning environment is not appropriately developed the students may quickly have feelings of isolation and loneliness and may drop a course before giving the course a chance (Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d)).

Many online learning environments can be very difficult to manage as an adult learner. It is important for the instructor to be available and visible online several times a day to show the students they are physically “there”.  (Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.) . Social presence addresses the most basic needs for security and belonging and could be considered the foundation for a functional learning community. (Wilcoxon, 2011)

Engaged learning does not just simply happen. It requires “architectural engineering” by the instructor. Planning and utilizing activities that assist a learner in moving through the developmental stages of engaged learning ensures that learners are involved, motivated, and able to interact and collaborate with one another (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011).



Boettcher, J. V. & Conrad, R. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide. Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.    


Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Updated Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.



Wilcoxon, K (2011) Building an Online Learning Community. Retrieved from: