This is a follow-up to Michael Feldstein's post on Chegg (covered here) and explores what educators can do about online cheating. The first set of solutions consists essentially of ways of making the test harder, and prompts Dave Cormier to ask, "if last year's exam was fair, and this year’s exam is harder... doesn't that make this year's exam unfair?" He then looks at the contrast between well-structured and ill-structured problems. The former are clear and have clearly right answers, and constitute the majority of questions used in academia. But they're also the ones students can cheat on. Ill-structured questions don't have clear right and wrong answers. So why don't we just start using them? Well, they're harder to mark, and they may introduce unfairness in grading. So that leads us to... part 2, which will appear sometime in the future.
Kieran Forde sent me a pointer to a list of articles on the topic of 'unpublishing' in journalism. It raises for me a host of questions. After all, while on one hand newspapers complain about people using their headlines for free, on the other hand they use their own sources for free. Newspapers do not create the news (or at least, they shouldn't), they observe and chronicle the lives of people in the community. So who owns these stories? Newspapers assume they have full ownership, which is why they demand to get paid for any mention of them, but recent rules regarding ownership and management of data may be challenging that presumption. The old phrase describing ownership - "nothing about me without me" - takes on new meaning when the start talking about news, history and education.
The headline is a bit click-baity but the topic of internet regulation has acquired a renewed importance in the current Covid age. We pay the price when "U.S. bankers and policymakers (have) a much higher appetite for risk (and criminal wrong-doing) than those in other countries." And the issues are a lot more complex than the headline would suggest. Arguably, there are four internets: Silicon Valley’s open internet, Brussels’ bourgeois internet, Beijing’s authoritarian internet, and DC’s commercial internet (these names are not mine; I would have called them 'libertarian', 'managerial', 'centralized' and 'commercial' respectively). But still, "Platforms need to be made as sensitive to other countries’ needs, laws and values as they are to Americans’." And it's hard to get the recipe just right: should Trump and Qanon have been banned? Should Twitter respond to government calls to block the Indian farmers' protests? What about Hong Kong? The Arab Spring? How do we correct the internet, while at the same time correcting traditional news media? And how does this extend into other sectors: financial regulation, digital currency, education...?
I have a very strong inner voice that talks to me constantly (though I can sometimes shut it off with music, a skill I had to learn). I am fond of my inner voice; it literally is me. But like the author, I have no "mind's eye". I can't 'see' things when I visualize; all my mental conceptions are abstract (except for audio). To me, that's normal; I can't imagine people being able to 'see' things in their mind (I remember when I was younger trying very hard just to visualize a circle; it never really came to me). It's normally not a problem for me, except that I have difficulty recognizing faces (and therefore names). And I have always had an excellent memory otherwise. All this reinforces to me once again how different individual people can be and (therefore) how diverse their learning needs must be (no matter what you think of learning styles).
This is a fairly basic list of alternatives to feedback of the form 'correct' and 'incorrect' but it's worth thinking about. The section on incentivized feedback made me think about No Man's Sky. The interface is basically based on point-and-click (such as shooting things) because it gives you basically an infinite command set. But it's a hard skill to master. So the game steps you through it, requiring you to 'mine' minerals and plants by pointing and 'shooting' with a 'terrain manipulator', and then to 'scan' plants and moving animals by pointing and 'shooting' with a 'scanner'. You never get negative feedback, only rewards when you do it correctly. Maybe that's why the game makes me feel good. Via Mike Taylor.
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