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Tagged: Assessment

Early Challenge Essay to tackle Plagiarism

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📥  Case Studies

In order to help tackle some problems with plagiarism on a postgraduate programme in the School of Management, an early essay was introduced. This case study from Dr Bruce Rayton provides the background, information on the essay, and the results and advice.

The issue

There were a surprising number of similar plagiarism cases from the MSc students, with ‘explanations’ along the lines of:

“I didn’t know …”
“I did exactly what I did on my first degree.”
“I passed the Academic Integrity Test at 92%, but ….”

Taught postgraduate (PGT) students in the School come with a good first degree from a good university. However, there is a huge variety in their first degree subject and backgrounds. Approximately 80 percent pay overseas fees, and even though some of these students arrive from UK universities, there is a vast range of national educational backgrounds represented on these degrees. Because of the design of these postgraduate programme, students only have two taught semesters in Bath. There is no ‘pass/fail first year’ during which students can learn our ways: all marks count towards the eventual classification of the degree.

The intervention: Managerial Challenge Essay (MCE)

A short academic essay was introduced for the very beginning of the academic year. The 750 word essay is due in week 2 and is submitted online. Here is an excerpt from the instructions to provide some detail:

Managerial Challenge Essay (MCE)

The Managerial Challenge Essay has been designed to identify gaps in your academic writing skills and/or understanding of how to apply those skills within this university’s expectations regarding academic integrity. A key aim is to give you the earliest possible feedback on your academic writing skills, which will cover a range of areas, but demonstrated mastery of reference technique will be essential to the award of credit for this task.

Identify an important managerial challenge facing organizations today and indicate one academic theory that can help organizations as they attempt to meet this challenge. Support your reasoning with reference to at least two articles listed within the Scopus database.

  • Word limit: 750
  • Deadline: 1400 on 12 Oct 2016
  • Submission via Moodle workshop; Feedback returned via Moodle

Feedback was provided with the following:

  • Similarity report (TurnitIn).
  • Feedback from a PhD student on writing style.
  • Feedback from three peers using the Moodle Workshop activity.
  • Pass/Fail determination by Director of Studies.

The essay was introduced in 2015 and the following figure illustrates a 52 percent the decline in the cases of plagiarism (per 100 students) in the 2015/6 cohort relative to the previous year:

MCE drop in cases

 

Challenges & Opportunities

From experience over two years of this essay, the following challenges have been identified:

  • Significant amount of work.
  • Required acquiescence of six unit convenors who uniquely covered the target population.
  • Managing student expectations.
  • Impact of late arrivals & registrations.

However there are also several opportunities to consider further for the future:

  • It has been very useful for establishing/deepening bonds between students on different degree cohorts immediately following induction.
  • This approach could be a useful part of a programme-level approach to assessment.
  • With this is mind, the School could now look to remove some essay-based work from assessment portfolios of programmes.
  • In principle, this approach could be useful for the assessment of other skills that are relied upon across the duration of a programme.

 

Peer marking for writing skills

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📥  Case Studies

Prof Andrew Heath, from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath, describes how he uses peer marking in a course to help students develop writing skills as they attempt lab reports:

In this second video, Prof Heath discusses his experience of the practicalities and choices in setting up peer marking for the first time:

 

 

Randomised Coursework

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📥  Case Studies

Peter Sloan, Department of Physics

In this case study (from accounts first published on his blog), Peter Sloan discusses the implementation of randomised coursework, followed by an evaluation over two years looking at the outcome on exam performance and considering additional questions such as bias in the outcomes.

(more…)

 

Double blind marking on Moodle

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📥  Case Studies

Dr Steve Cayzer from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath discusses some of the background and reasons behind the department exploring the use of Moodle for double blind marking.

In the second clip, Steve discusses the lessons learnt from exploring the use of Moodle for double blind marking, producing a set of requirements.

 

Developing randomised e-quizzes for flexible assessment

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📥  Case Studies

Summary

The aim of this 2013-14 project was to generate large banks of applied numeracy Moodle questions to support the teaching of basic maths in Biochemistry and Chemistry. We employed and trained six students studying these subjects to create new randomised question banks in Moodle XML using PHP. Mathematical expressions were coded in LaTeX for MathJax, so that when displayed in Moodle, they would be fully accessible in all browsers, on small screens and can be magnified or read aloud if required. This method of displaying equations in Moodle is now the only available method at Bath. We have also produced the questions in a way that makes them fully accessible to disabled students by formatting the maths in MathJax.All the new questions were tested by students (although not all errors were picked up) and some of the new questions were used for formative and small-stakes summative assessment with Biochemistry Students. We have made the questions available through the top level of Moodle, and the XML and the PHP files through an online blog.

http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/mathsequiz/about/ (more…)

 

Speech writing assignments

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📥  Case Studies

Dr David Moon of the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath describes how he asks his students to write their assignment as a speech rather than an essay, whilst analysing their own rhetorical techniques and processes.