Avoid plagiarism? Allow unfettered internet access! (echoes @mwesch)

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As I remember Michael Wesch saying in a presentation I saw on YouTube, it’s not about making students “knowledgeable”, it’s about making them “knowledge-able”… able to use resources well… and to tackle the mass of information they have to deal with, contextualise it and use it well!

Novel Scandinavian strategy to tackle cheating is ‘no soft option’. Sarah Cunnane reports

A Danish university has adopted an unusual strategy to tackle cheating: allowing unfettered internet access, even during examinations.

Lise Petersen, e-learning project coordinator at the University of Southern Denmark, said that all handwritten exams were being revised and transferred to a digital platform wherever possible, with a completion date of January 2012.

She said administering exams via internet software would allow lecturers to create tests that were aligned with course content rather than “trivia” quizzes.

“What you want to test is problem-solving and analytical skills, and … students’ ability to reflect and discuss one particular topic,” she said.

Ms Petersen added that, far from being a soft option, using the internet as an academic tool was a challenge for most students because of the sheer volume of information available.

“The skill is discerning between relevant and irrelevant information and then putting it in context,” she said.

On the issue of plagiarism and cheating, Ms Petersen said that while there would always be legitimate concerns, online assessment presented a novel solution to the problem.

“One way of preventing cheating is by saying nothing is allowed and giving students a piece of paper and a pen,” she said. “The other way is to say everything is allowed except plagiarism.

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