Sunday, April 13, 2014

Analysis and Proposal for a Unit of Instruction

Overview of the problem:
Citation and plagiarism has become a growing concern at Algonquin College. As faculty within the school of business the author has noted the apparent misunderstanding by many students of how to correctly cite sources within their papers, projects, and proposals. This divergence has increased over the last several years, as growing numbers of students include quotes without referencing, and facts and figures without footnotes or inline citations. The following proposal will explore the needs assessment approach, along with the details of the proposal to be put forward to address this concern.

Needs Assessment:
Within every program, learners are taught how to do APA referencing and citation in the core English courses, however those faculty teaching Marketing Research have found it necessary to “re-teach” this skill. A 2011 study by Robinson and Goodman noted even medical researchers have been guilty of this, only 21% of pre-existing trials were being cited in their research. This “very limited citation is particularly concerning because it indicates that evidence is missing and because selection of the few trials that are cited is likely to have been biased (Robinson & Goodman, 2011)” Anecdotally, the number of students at the college omitting citations has seemingly been on the rise over the last 4-5 years. 

ENL1813 – Communications 1, has two course learning outcomes meant to address the problem:  Students can reliably demonstrate the ability to...
1.    Locate, select and organize task-relevant and accurate information drawn from a variety of sources.
2.    Integrate and document information using commonly accepted citation guidelines.
As a result upon reflection of the key steps in the problem model, specifically guideline number 4, it would follow that the next step would be to proceed to the Discrepancy Model in order to complete the needs assessment.

While operationally learners are capable of writing and creating the citations, they appear to still be unsure when to use it. The discussion is frequently on avoiding plagiarism by “putting things into their own words” however, those thoughts and premises used to construct their argument also requires the same acknowledgement. The assumption is that it is not that students do not know HOW to cite and reference but rather WHY and WHEN to do it. 

Proposed Unit of Instruction:
In summary, the proposed unit of instruction will be a learning module introducing concepts of citation and referencing through a series of analogies rooted in daily conversation, social media, and school relationships. This interactive multimedia learning unit will allow learners to become familiar with, organize and practice using APA in-text citation to help them strengthen the quality of their written reports. This online module on citation and referencing will be made available to add into existing Business courses in order to prepare students before submitting their papers and reports for grading.  The proposed structure is as follows:

Introduction: A short introduction which illustrates the topic through a familiar contemporary situation; these may be delivered in the form of animations, lecturettes to help bridge learning. 
Content delivery: Lesson material may also be delivered via Canvas using a combination of videos and narrated slides to allow learners to self pace their learning.
Formative Exercises: Flashcards with Quizlet, activities and games to allow the learners to interact with the material as well as receive feedback on their progress and accuracy.
Summative Exercises: Will take the form of Editing, Revising and Creating documents using interactive quiz tools and the website Plagiarisma. Questions which include drop down fill in the blank activities, online document submissions will assess the learner’s ability to apply APA citation guidelines.
The learning module will be deployed using  Canvas. Proposed duration is one hour in length, with clear points of transition where learners may stop and restart the module if they require more practice. Plus there will be opportunity to skip ahead to the next assessment if learners are confident in their proficiency at a certain stage in the module.

A brief tour of the proposed unit of instruction can be seen in the post about Canvas

The documents related to this assignment are listed here:

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