Exploring the potential of authentic, programmatic assessment to minimise contract cheating

Source: https://cheatingandassessment.edu.au

About the Project

‘Contract Cheating and Assessment Design: Exploring the Connection’ is an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Strategic Priority Project led by the University of South Australia. Partner institutions are the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, Griffith University, and Swansea University, UK.

Following a recent contract cheating scandal affecting several prominent Australian universities, students utisiling online cheat sites to complete assignments has been identified as a significant problem for institutions. Although ‘authenticity’ has long been recognised as a core feature of good assessment practice, its role in nurturing academic integrity has not yet been adequately explored.

Conducted over two years (2016 – 2018), this national project will determine if and how authentic assessment may be used to assure academic integrity. The project focuses on two critical stakeholders in academic integrity-students and teaching staff-and will analyse data from national surveys of these stakeholders. To further investigate the nature and scope of contract cheating, analysis will also be conducted of data sets that demonstrate the types of assignments most commonly contracted out to third parties.

It is envisioned that findings from this project will enhance the sector’s understanding of this critical issue. Project deliverables will transform assessment practices by developing a conceptual model and resources which demonstrate the role of assessment design as one part of an over-reaching strategy to nurture academic integrity in Australian higher education.

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Assuring Quality in E-Learning Course Design: The Roadmap

Source: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2784

Quality Assurance (QA) concepts and applications in Higher Education (HE) emerge from evolving meanings related to HE’s dynamic relationship with social, economic, cultural, and technological developments.  The latter has been redefined by the growth spurred by the forms distance and online education acquired during the last decades.  Creating a roadmap with clearly articulated meanings of quality and consistent key actions fills a need for the involved communities to reground the research, policy-making, and the related discourse.  Our current work consists of a thorough meta-analysis on all available research in every identified pertinent field. It is a qualitative review of the concepts, definitions, and approaches about quality in general, but also specifically, in e-learning in HE, as they have globally appeared in peer-reviewed journals, government reports, and web pages.  As we left no stone unturned in enquiring regarding the meanings, uses, evolution, and applicability of the revealed variables it is our hope that the roadmap we provide here will guide future research and support policy-making in the field. The present study is part of the research project e-learning Quality Assurance Design Standards in Higher Education (e-QADeSHE), which was funded by Laureate International Universities as the winning research project for the International David Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2015 edition).

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More than 20,000 university students buying essays and dissertations as Lords call for ban on ‘contract cheating’

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/13/20000-university-students-buying-essays-dissertations-lords/

 

The fraudulent essay industry must be outlawed, leading academics and lords have urged as figures obtained by The Telegraph reveal that more than 20,000 students are buying professionally-written essays every year.

Research carried out by Doctor Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke, two of the UK’s leading experts in essay cheating, has shown that tens of thousands of students are purchasing tailor-made essays via online “essay mills” in order to circumvent plagiarism software and cheat their way to top-class degrees.

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Is Your University’s Online Course Up to Code?

Source: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/01/your-university-s-online-course-code

by 

Thanks in part to the rise of massive open online courses, online higher ed programs are growing significantly. An estimated 5.8 million students are enrolled in online courses, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) reports.

As online teaching increases in popularity, so does the need for online faculty evaluation, reports the Conferences at New Prairie Press in a report titled “Effectively Evaluating Online Faculty”:

“The quality of faculty and instruction are critical to the success of any program, and even more so in an online based program, therefore, having an effective evaluation method that functions to both evaluate and mentor those who teach in an online setting is vital to the success of the program.”

Since 2010, OLC has maintained a Quality Scorecard Suite to establish benchmarking tools and standards to help schools evaluate the quality of their online courses. In December 2016, OLC announced the creation of three more scorecards to evaluate course design, instructional practice and digital courseware, PR Newswire reports.

“Just as educators continue to seek out ideal learning environments and share effective practices for advancing quality, OLC will continue to expand the Quality Scorecard suite to support and guide their efforts,” says Kathleen Ives, OLC’s CEO and executive director, in the news release.

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The Benefits of Quality Matters Certification: What the Analytics Reveal

Source: http://insider.fiu.edu/qmreport/

FIU Online engaged in research to highlight the benefits to both students and faculty when taking and teaching an online course that has received the Quality Matters certification. FIU Online leveraged the data available via the Blackboard Lean learning management system to gain this understanding.

With this research, we sought to understand if there were differences in the student learning experience with courses that had received QM certification versus those that had not received QM certification.

The courses used in this research were fully online courses taught at Florida International University in the Spring 2016 semester. Florida International University (FIU) is an American metropolitan public research university located in Miami, Florida, United States. FIU Online is the centralized distance-learning department for Florida International University. Quality MattersTM (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components.

As of the date of this report, FIU has the second highest number of QM certified courses in the nation.

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Redesigning Design: Field Testing a Revised Design Rubric Based of iNACOL Quality Course Standards

Source: http://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/976

David Adelstein, Michael K Barbour

Abstract

Designers have a limited selection of K-12 online course creation standards to choose from that are not blocked behind proprietary or pay walls. For numerous institutions and states, the use of the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses is becoming a widely used resource. This article presents the final phase in a three-part study to test the validity and reliability of the iNACOL standards specifically to online course design. Phase three was a field test of the revised rubric based on the iNACOL standards against current K-12 online courses. While the results show a strong exact match percentage, there is more work to be done with the revised rubric.

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Assuring Quality in E-Learning Course Design: The Roadmap

Source: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2784

Assuring Quality in E-Learning Course Design: The Roadmap

Dimitrios Vlachopoulos

Abstract

Quality Assurance (QA) concepts and applications in Higher Education (HE) emerge from evolving meanings related to HE’s dynamic relationship with social, economic, cultural, and technological developments.  The latter has been redefined by the growth spurred by the forms distance and online education acquired during the last decades.  Creating a roadmap with clearly articulated meanings of quality and consistent key actions fills a need for the involved communities to reground the research, policy-making, and the related discourse.  Our current work consists of a thorough meta-analysis on all available research in every identified pertinent field. It is a qualitative review of the concepts, definitions, and approaches about quality in general, but also specifically, in e-learning in HE, as they have globally appeared in peer-reviewed journals, government reports, and web pages.  As we left no stone unturned in enquiring regarding the meanings, uses, evolution, and applicability of the revealed variables it is our hope that the roadmap we provide here will guide future research and support policy-making in the field. The present study is part of the research project e-learning Quality Assurance Design Standards in Higher Education (e-QADeSHE), which was funded by Laureate International Universities as the winning research project for the International David Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2015 edition).

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New Task Force to Develop Quality Assurance Standards for Non-Traditional Education Programs

Source: https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/14/new-task-force-to-develop-quality-assurance-standards-for-nontraditional-education-programs.aspx

Entangled Solutions is forming a Quality Assurance Task Force to drive accountability and transparency for emerging models of education. The higher education consultancy today announced the initial members of the task force, who will “collaborate in the development of quality assurance standards that can be used to measure and report on outcomes for a diverse, cross section of education providers,” according to a press release.

The task force includes representatives from the University of Texas at Austin, Western Governors University and Bellevue University, as well as higher education industry leaders, former policymakers and associations, who will collect feedback from stakeholders to codify “transparent, outcome-oriented standards for evaluating educational programs.” A draft of the standards will be published for public comment. Once the standards are finalized, an independent nonprofit organization will be created to maintain and update them over time.

“We are excited about the potential for public sector investment to expand access to non-traditional models of education, but believe a critical first step is establishing transparent measures of quality to inform the policy process,” said Michael Horn, principal consultant at Entangled Solutions and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, in a statement. “The process for developing outcome measures must involve more than education providers; both students and policymakers deserve transparency into outcomes validated by independent, third parties to inform their investment decisions.”

“This is a powerful concept and important work,” said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “Standards that boost transparency, provide clarity into what graduates have actually learned, and permit students to make sound investments in their future are a vital part of creating a less bureaucratic, more student-centered landscape in postsecondary education.”

Information on the task force’s mission statement, timeline and membership is available here.

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Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?

Source: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter194/hixon_barczyk_ralston-berg_buckenmeyer194.html

Emily Hixon, Ph.D
Purdue University Northwest
hixone@pnw.edu

Casimir Barczyk, PhD
Purdue University Northwest
barczyk@pnw.edu

Penny Ralston-Berg, M.S.
Penn State World Campus
Plr15@psu.edu

Janet Buckenmeyer, Ph.D
Armstrong State University
Janet.Buckenmeyer@armstrong.edu

Abstract

This study analyzes nontraditional students’ perceptions of online course quality. Students were categorized into three groups: traditional, moderately nontraditional, and highly nontraditional. A survey instrument designed to assess online course quality and other demographic characteristics was administered electronically. Course quality was measured using the rubric associated with the eight Quality Matters (2008-2010) standards. A total of 3,160 students enrolled in at least one online for-credit course from 31 colleges and universities across the U.S. participated in this study. Based on the results of a series of ANOVAs, it was found that both traditional and nontraditional students rated Standard 3 on Assessment and Measurement as highest among the eight standards. No significant differences between student groups were found. In addition, there were no significant differences between groups for Standard 8 on Accessibility. It was also found that Standard 1on Course Overview and Introduction was rated higher by nontraditional students as compared to traditional students. The same was noted for Standard 6 on Course Technology, where nontraditional students rated this item higher than their traditional counterparts. Similar patterns of higher ratings by nontraditional students were found for Learning Objectives, Resources and Materials, Learner Engagement, and Learner Support, Standards 2, 4, 5, and 7, respectively. Nontraditional, as contrasted with traditional, students have different perceptions of online course quality. Because nontraditional students have multiple responsibilities, they need their online courses to be well designed, consistently presented, easily navigable, and appropriately aligned.

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ONLINE LEARNING CONSORTIUM UNVEILS EXPANDED QUALITY SCORECARD SUITE FOR BENCHMARKING ONLINE AND BLENDED LEARNING PROGRAMS

Source: http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/news_item/online-learning-consortium-unveils-expanded-quality-scorecard-suite-benchmarking-online-blended-learning-programs/

QS_Suite_color_wheel_v4-1

Online Learning Consortium Unveils Expanded Quality Scorecard Suite for Benchmarking Online and Blended Learning Programs

The OLC Quality Scorecard uses research-based benchmarks and standards of excellence to help higher education institutions evaluate their online and blended learning programs.

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (Dec. 7, 2016) — The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning, today announced the expansion of its Quality Scorecard suite, with the addition of three new scorecards.

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