This Week in ODL: June 19-23, 2017

Tech Prep for the Language Schools by Sonja Burrows

On June 19, the ODL published a post written by Sonja Burrows with instructions and resources for Language Schools faculty, staff, and students in Middlebury and Mills wishing to orient themselves to the digital technologies available to them while they are at the Language Schools. The content of the post serves as a useful resource for Language Schools personnel who may or may not plan to attend a live technology orientation, but who would like to get a head start on learning and using digital tools such as Course Hub, Canvas, and Zoom.

The post includes links to two Canvas tutorials written by Sean Michael Morris, who created these online courses to orient new users to Middlebury’s Learning Management System. The courses are written within Canvas, so that users can have the opportunity to learn about Canvas while they use the tool in a very hands-on way. There is a course specifically for teachers called Canvas Canvas, and a course specifically for students called Canvas Orientation. These courses are free and open to the public—users only need Middlebury credentials in order to access them.

We invite you to read the post in its entirety here.

Best Practices Post by Sean Michael Morris

Sean Michael Morris this week published a post on the ODL blog called Saying ‘No’ to Best Practices through which he provides readers with a top 10 list of best practices to consider when operating within a digital learning environment, with the caveat that no best practice should ever go untested.

Through his 10 best practices, Sean emphasizes critical digital pedagogy, an approach to learning which recognizes that all learning is hybrid and that teaching works best when it comes from a place of kindness, trust, and belief in students. Sean writes, “If we’re going to enact any best practices, they should be unattached to outcomes, deeply seated in our interest in students, and wholly malleable.”

Sean’s 10 Best Practices:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Create trust / be trusting
  3. Grade less / grade differently
  4. Question deadlines
  5. Collaborate with students
  6. Inspire dialogue
  7. Be quiet
  8. Be honest and transparent about pedagogy
  9. Keep expectations clear
  10. Be open to change

We invite you to read the post in its entirety here.

Inside Higher Ed Interview with Sean Michael Morris

On June 19, Inside Higher Ed published an interview with the ODL’s Sean Michael Morris and the University of Mary Washington’s Jesse Stommel. Morris and Stommel were interviewed following the publication of their post entitled A Guide for Resisting EdTech: the Case Against Turnitin published in Hybrid Pedagogy, an online journal affiliated with Digital Pedagogy Lab. The post decries Turnitin’s model of profiting off of student work and intellectual property, especially in the age of big data.

Turnitin is an Internet-based plagiarism-prevention service created by iParadigms, LLC, first launched in 1997. In the interview, Morris said: “I think plagiarism is a red herring for what we should actually be concerned about when teaching. The problem that needs to be addressed is the relationship between teachers and students, communication between teachers and students. And again, that sense of students’ ownership of their own learning and their own education — that they understand that this is theirs, and not something that belongs to a teacher who’s going to grade it.”

Turnitin, Morris said in the interview, is a retroactive policing practice. While enticing to professors teaching large classes and bearing heavy work loads, Turnitin’s focus on plagiarism encourages teachers to ask the wrong question about student work.

We invite you to read the interview in its entirety here.


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