Plagiarism Prevention and Detection

By Andrea Woodring

Although all instructors should be concerned for student academic integrity, online instructors have the added pressure of student work being more visible to classmates and therefore how to handle incidences of plagiarism within the fishbowl of an online course (Joycoy & DiBiase, 2006). There are really two issues at hand; first, how to prevent plagiarism from happening and then how to detect it (Soiferman, 2016).

Plagiarism software such as Turnitin and Essay Verification Engine, as recommended by Jocoy and DiBiase (2006), are very helpful for detecting incidents of plagiarism. Using Google to search for plagiarism is also an effective method for detecting violations. is another web tool that will help instructors check for plagiarism concerns that many teachers at my high school use. The real goal though should not be to detect plagiarism but to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To be preventative requires that students and instructors have a common definition for plagiarism as many students do not recognize when they have crossed the line (Joycoy & DiBiase, 2006; Laureate Education, Inc., 2012; Soiferman, 2016). Soiferman (2016) advocates using examples of plagiarism with students to help students understand the abstract idea of plagiarism in a concrete way. Merely having a plagiarism policy that is not explicitly discussed will not make much of a difference in preventing plagiarism (Soiferman, 2016). There are incidents of plagiarism where the student did not understand that a line had been crossed and it can be difficult to prove intent (Joycoy & DiBiase, 2006; Soiferman, 2016).

Another way to prevent plagiarism is with the design of the assignment (Joycoy & DiBiase, 2006). Assignments that require students to make evaluative statements or argue a point require students to take the facts from their reading and combine them with their own words to make their point. It is important to still point out to students that they should still be crediting the ideas they are using from the various sources that the students used. Students often do not understand that paraphrasing someone’s words still requires that credit be given (Soiferman, 2016).

To be proactive, an online instructor needs to establish a clear understanding of what plagiarism is, expectations for crediting others words and ideas, and the consequences of plagiarism with the students. In addition, the online instructor needs to be vigilant at maintaining these expectations through careful evaluation of student original work, which can be achieved through the use of tools such as Turnitin. Although detecting plagiarism issues can be time consuming, it is an important aspect of checking for student understanding of the content and academic integrity.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review Of Research In Open & Distance Learning7(1), 1-15.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Plagiarism and cheating. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Soiferman, L. K. (2016). Problems of policing plagiarism and cheating in university institutions due to incomplete or inconsistent definitions. Online Submission,


Impact of Technology on Adult Learning

Technology tools have the power to positively impact teaching and learning communications (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). I have recently starting using technology tools with my high school students to collaborate beyond the classroom walls and have seen positive results. Boettcher & Conrad (2010) explain that collaborative technology tools can be used to strengthen communication and collaboration for student to student as well as student to teacher.

Although technology tools can have a powerful impact for online learning, they “…require investments of money and training, and regular updating to keep them in sync with the world around us” (Boettcher & Donaldson, 2010, p.65). I really like the idea of using podcasts for online learning. I like how there are a variety of user friendly online tools available for creating and posting podcasts as this will help with the cost and accessibility for students (Boettcher & Donaldson, 2010). I like that the audio mode will mix things up for students as online course work can be so text heavy.

For this same reason, I would use VoiceThread for online learning. VoiceThread allows collaborators to post text, video, links, and audio. Salas and Moller (2015) advocate that VoiceThread can increase engagement and accomplish learning objectives. I can see how VoiceThread and other technology tools are essential for online learning to foster and improve communication as the distance and lack of being in the same physical space can negatively impact discussion and reflection.


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

Salas, A., & Moller, L. (2015). The value of voice thread in online learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education16(1), 11-24.

Internet-based Multimedia Resources

By Andrea Woodring

A challenge to online course work is designing instruction that will engage the learner as well as establish a sense of community (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011). Shank (2006) advocates for online course work to incorporate learning activities that are interactive. There are two internet-based multimedia resources that are interactive and would work well to engage the online learner that I would recommend.

Nearpod ( is similar to a slide presentation but with bells and whistles that allow the learner/s to interact with the content as well as each other. The teacher can share the class response if desired with the learners. The teacher can control the advancement of slides or give the control to the learner. A slide can easily become a poll or a quiz, with each learner clicking to select the appropriate choice. One can also ask short answer questions and the learner would then type his or her response. The teacher can even take the answers from the students to create a word collage based on the most common word choices. One can also post a link for students to explore before continuing on with the slide show. I would suggest linking to a virtual field trip site which would connect to the course content.

Although Nearpod is a slide program it does more than present information as there is a way for learners to interact and assess learning as it is happening. At school when I used this tool with my students, engagement increases dramatically. Based on the fact that learners are not passive with this activity and with the possibility of combining this tool with a virtual field trip site and experience, I learned that I can increase the power of this technology tool.

Another great web resource is ThingLink ( . Thinglink is an online web tool which has a variety of ways that it could be used by teachers and learners alike. The way that I would use it for an online course in order to increase engagement is a tool to create a web quest or virtual field trip with. ThingLink is like an interactive poster one can create. One selects a background image and then posts interactive links. These posts can be text boxes, images, links to websites, or videos.

When I have used ThingLink with students, they are able to explore the topic at their own pace yet they are interacting with one another at the same time by pointing out to their neighbor what they just discovered. Those conversations deepen their engagement and understanding. I think that a well written prompt for a discussion board for an online course could achieve similar results.

Since the interactive activities involve technology tools that require internet access as well as devices, there is the concern of technology support for learners. One problem with ThingLink is that the site’s tutorial is poor so it can be frustrating to learn how to make one; however, a ThingLink created as a web quest or virtual field trip is intuitive for most learners because you just click around. Sometimes the code that I have given students for the Nearpod activities have been problematic and do not work. I have to create a new code when that happens for the class to use. This would be a big concern for an online course because of the frustrations students might have and the time delay in communicating a problem and fixing it. I use the free versions for both of these tools. If I upgrade my Nearpod account, perhaps the codes would be more reliable. If I upgraded ThingLink, I would still have the issue of learner frustration if I wanted them to make their own ThingLink.


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

Shank, P. (2006). Activities aren’t optional. Online Classroom, 4–5. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.



Setting Up Effective Online Learning Experiences

By Andrea Woodring

Setting up an online community that is effective must include attention to details. The little details accumulate to make the online process effective and successful.  According to Boettcher and Conrad (2010), “The guiding themes for course beginnings are presence, community, and clear expectations” (p. 79). These “details” are the formula to create an atmosphere where students can feel connected to other learners and have a realistic idea of the work and learning that lies ahead of them. These details ultimately create the presence of the instructor as someone that is there to help each learner be successful. I feel this is essential for an online learning experience because an online structure for learning could feel very isolating and become a passive learning environment.

The instructor needs to establish communication with the learners and provide prompt feedback to create the presence needed by the learners so that they do not feel isolated (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Essential elements creating the needed feeling of community include an icebreaker activity during the first week and discussion prompts that encourage reflection and discussion (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Clear expectations are communicated through a detailed syllabus with learning goals and course requirements and rubrics (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). A syllabus “…is essential to online learners having a sense of control and optimism” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p.111).

Without clear expectations and guidance, learners can easily feel overwhelmed and lost. Rubrics offer guidance and have shown higher performance by students (Contreras-Higuera, Martínez-Olmo, José Rubio-Hurtado, & Vilà-Baños, 2016). Communicating with instructors online requires effort and timing. If a student needs to ask for clarification on an assignment, there might be a time delay in getting a response since the communication will most likely take place through email. A detailed rubric may provide the clarification needed. A clear and consistent layout of the site will also provide the consistency and guidance that will help students’ understanding of course requirements (Genc & Tinmaz, 2016).

In addition, as one constructs an online learning course work, one should take into consideration being culturally aware (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012; Hamdan, 2014). Students who are wary of being stereotyped often like the feeling that a color-blind online presence can offer and may be hesitant to share too much personal information or pictures. Also careful consideration of learning resources is important. Providing a mix of mediums helps to keep the course work interesting (Ginc & Tinmaz, 2016).

In review, course design requires attention to the details so that clarity of expectations empowers the students to be responsible learners. Learning activities are designed such that learners will interact with other learners for a deeper understanding of the course content. The instructor has a presence that helps the student feel supported and accountable.


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.

Contreras-Higuera, W. E., Martínez-Olmo, F., José Rubio-Hurtado, M., & Vilà-Baños, R. (2016). University Students’ Perceptions of E-Portfolios and Rubrics as Combined Assessment Tools in Education Courses. Journal Of Educational Computing Research54(1), 85-107.

Genç, Z., & Tinmaz, H. (2016). The Perception on Fundamentals of Online Courses: A Case on Prospective Instructional Designers. European Journal Of Contemporary Education15(1), 163-172.

Hamdan, A. K. (2014). The Reciprocal and Correlative Relationship between Learning Culture and Online Education: A Case from Saudi Arabia. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning15(1), 309-336.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Launching the online learning experience. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Online Learning Communities

Online Community Building

By Andrea Woodring

An effective online community requires that the members of the community have a common purpose and structure established to communicate and connect (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012). According to Palloff (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012) the process of learning within an online learning community is best when based on social constructivist theory so that the learner is responsible for his own learning and works with the other learners to make sense of the content. Designing instruction to include reflection, communication, and collaboration is essential

Collaboration increases student engagement and supports the idea of the instructor-facilitated environment (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011). Bruner, Vygotsky and Piaget all emphasize the importance of collaboration as well as an instructional method (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011). Palloff (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012) states that online learners are pleased with their learning experience when it is based on reflection and collaboration.

Sustaining and improving online learning is all about understanding the role of the instructor and that of the learners. The instructor needs to take the lead to welcome and initialize communication to start building the online community for the course (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012). The instructor needs to design instruction to include learning activities that require student reflection and collaboration with classmates.

Effective community building has a direct impact on effective online instruction because one of the purposes of an online community is for students to work together to understand the content and personalize it for themselves (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012). Since collaboration is an effective engagement strategy and allows learners to learn from diverse perspectives, it will positively impact online learning.


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

Indiana University, N. E. (2013). A fresh look at student engagement. Annual Results 2013. National Survey Of Student Engagement,

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Online learning communities. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Implementing Digital Citizenship

Neal (2016) recommended InCtrl ( as an instructional tool to teach digital citizenship. This site offers lessons on a variety of digital citizenship topics through an inquiry-base approach. The first way I can use this tool is to select lessons that are appropriate to use directly with my students. A second way I use this technology tool is to review lessons that are too juvenile for adults as inspiration to create my own lesson. I selected this tool because one thing I have learned as a library teacher is that you should never assume that your students will just know things. I am constantly reminded of the need to be explicit and to establish prior knowledge and necessary background knowledge for students’ academic success.

I was intrigued by the Innovated Learning Community ( because it would provide a way to stay current with new developments in digital citizenship (Frum, 2016). I love the collaborative aspect of this tool and can see myself using it in my professional life in two ways. First I would use it stay current on issues and secondly, I would use to implement and practice what I am wanting to pass on to my students as I collaborate with other professionals online.

A third technology tool that I plan on using is Turnitin as recommended by Aleman (2016). Turnitin is a way to help me manage and verify that my students are crediting sources and not plagiarizing. This management tool will save me an incredible amount of time. In addition, I plan to share this tool with my colleagues. I see this as a tool that all of my colleagues would value and use too.


Frum, R. (2016). Digital Citizenship & Netiquette. Retrieved December 16, 2016, from

Neal, N. (2016). Technologies Related to Digital Citizenship, Ethics, and Netiquette. Retrieved December 16, 2016, from

Digital Citizenship

Based on my experience as a high school library teacher, one of the reasons that students do not credit those whose ideas and words they are referring to with online discussion posts and other online communication is that they do not know how or feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the process of making a parenthetical citation and the citation to go with the parenthetical citation. For that reason, the first technology I wanted to focus on to help learners with digital citizenship is a website that helps you make your citations.

There are several options, but the one I will focus on is because it will do both the full bibliography citation and the parenthetical citation. One can also add annotations with this tool. Simply select your citation style and type of source, then follow the prompts. Students are empowered with this tool and are confident in how to credit their sources. Even teachers will come to me for help on creating citations. I always know when someone is starting a master’s program because they come to me for help with citations. I know that this tool would help other adult learners as well.

I use this tool myself as I refer to sources within my lessons and my communications with colleagues. I also use this tool as I teach students about purpose of citations and how to create citations. Knowing how to cite sources is a skill students will need for both college and career.

An article from Edutopia ( ) goes over guidelines for netiquette, which Bradley (2009) defines as “principles of good electronic communication” (p. 154).  These guidelines are concise and perfect to use for lesson ideas as well as establishing the norms for online discussions for any adult learning situation. I plan to include these ideas in my lessons concerning netiquette. I also plan to create an infographic of the guidelines as I have classes create the norms for our online discussions.


Bradley, S. (2009). The impact of netiquette on online group work: A study of UK Open University students. In O. Kallioinen (Ed.), Learning by developing—New ways to learn 2009 conference proceedings (pp. 152–167). Espoo, Finland: Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Weir, L. (2008, August 13). Online Manners Matter. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from


Open Educational Resources

Since I am currently a teacher librarian, I decided to investigate the many services offering free Ebooks. The Gutenberg Project has over 53,000 free Ebooks available in English, German, Portuguese, and French (Project Gutenberg, n.d.). Although the Ebooks are free, the website ( ) does request donations. This impressive and ambitious project to provide free access and to preserve books for all began in 1971 (Project Gutenberg, n.d.).

Google Books is another source for free Ebooks. According to Google Books ( it is the most comprehensive index of full text books. Bonk (2009) explains that Google collaborated with some impressive partners to provide this index of Ebooks including University of Michigan, Harvard, Standford, Oxford and the New York Public Library. Some books included in this index are not full text and offer only limited views, a snippet view, or no preview and just the basic information about the title.

Both the Gutenberg Project and Google Books would be perfect for a digital book club. Everyone would have free access to the same title. An additional way I could use the Gutenberg Project and Google Books is to make students aware of these two resources for when they are conducting research. Google Scholar ( is another open education resource that I could have students use when conducting scholarly research. Google Scholar includes scholarly articles, patents, and case law. I can also use Google Scholar for when I conduct action research to improve best practices within my professional setting.


Bonk, C. J. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Project Gutenberg. (n.d.). Retrieved December 01, 2016, from



Virtual Environments

The first virtual environment I selected is an augmented reality app called Elements 4D ( This app creates a game like environment as learners can use the triggers for two elements from the periodical table to see how they react together. This is a safe environment for learners to see how any two elements mix and learn from. I selected this technology because of the safe virtual environment for learners to learn experimentally as they explore the reaction of different elements when combined.

Virtual learning from augmented reality apps is very appealing to me because of how engaging it is for learners (TED, 2010). Although some augmented reality apps involve some cost, the apps are a cost savings to providing the actual supplies and environment needed to create the same learning scenario. I would use augmented reality apps with my learners so that they can experience more of a on the job type learning experience because of the virtual environment that augmented reality can create. As Barab (Edutopia, 2009) asserted, it allows students to try the role of a scientist. For learners who are part of an online course, I can use augmented reality apps to create learning experience that are interactive and thus enhance the distant learning experience.

The second technology, Google Cardboard, also creates a virtual reality and is extremely engaging for learners (TED, 2010). It is highly interactive and truly makes you feel that you have stepped into another world. You can  refer to for details on experiencing it for yourself. We tested it out at my high school two weeks ago, and the students and teachers could not get enough time with it. We used it with our natural science classes to explore biomes. For me, the coolest biome I explored with  the Google Cardboard was the redwood forest. It is really hard to explain what being in the redwood forest feels like and the app totally captured it. Students basically went hiking through a variety of biomes and where able to generate a list of questions that they had from that experience which then guided their learning moving forward.

Often times as I work with English teachers, they are having their students conduct research to better understand the setting of a novel they are about to read. I would love to use the Google Cardboards to initiate this learning scenario. Another way that I could use this is with my history teachers who come to the library to do research projects. Students can experience history first hand this way. I would need to do some additional exploring as to all the Google Cardboard apps that are available. You can also create your own. I think that this is an exciting technology that will engage and enhance learning.


Edutopia (Producer). (2009). Big thinkers: Sasha Barab on new-media engagement [Video file]. Retrieved from (approximate length: 11 minutes)

TED (Producer). (2010). Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain [Video file]. Retrieved from




Ideas come at some of the most inopportune times, so a mobile app that will help you capture that idea before you forget about it would be very helpful. Students never know when the “ah-ha” moment may come and being able to make note of it in that moment would be a powerful way to enhance the learning experience. Being able to post contents from anywhere and at any time will increase productivity (Park, 2011). For these reasons, I feel that OneNote by Microsoft would enhance adult students’ learning experience. OneNote allows you to post content in a variety of formats and on a variety of devices making it a mobile application. It automatically saves and can be collaborative. Visit to learn more.

Because of the visual and text features of OneNote, I would love for students to use this as a digital storyboard as they brainstorm ideas for projects. I can also see me using OneNote to gather and sort visual and text information to use as I design a lesson. I love that I could also collaborate with a colleague using OneNote as we collaborate on a lesson.

Often students struggle with organization. Staying organized is very important as students regulate their own learning (Koszalka & Ntloedibe-Kuswani, 2010). Trello is a great way to create boards, lists, and cards with to do lists and/or agendas to help one stay organized. Trello also is a mobile app that groups can use to collaborate and to track tasks and to see what still needs to be done. Trello will send emails to notify members of a group when another person in the groups checks something off in Trello or creates a new card (task). Cards can be color coded and tasks can have due dates. Visit to learn more or to sign up.

I can see students using Trello for any group project. First they would use Trello to generate a to do list. Then they would make assignments and can monitor the tasks being completed. Students can work collaboratively without ever needing to be in the same physical location. I can also see myself using Trello as I organize my professional duties. I can create “cards” for lessons, students, communications, and resources. Being able to access my to do lists anywhere will be really helpful.


Park, Y. (2011). A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: Categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(2), 78–102.

Koszalka, T. A., & Ntloedibe-Kuswani, G. S. (2010). Literature on the safe and disruptive learning potential of mobile technologies. Distance Education, 31(2), 139–157.