Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More on turnitin.

So this story got me thinking about turnitin again. Plus Russel Arben Fox asked me to blog about it again.  So I guess I will.

In the above linked story, a Latina student was accused of plagiarism because her instructor didn't believe she could use big, fancy words.   The instructor just knew that the student didn't write the paper.  The comments section on the facebook feed I got the story from was filled with faculty and graduate students of color, all of whom had similar stories.  It was pretty depressing.  As I've pointed out before, using turnitin for all my students helps them avoid plagiarism because I allow them to see their match scores and correct any problems.  But it helps me avoid prejudgement about my students as well.   When I use turnitin, I don't make assumptions about which students are more likely to plagiarize and which are not.  I've always tried to grade blind, which I can't do in turnitin (could you guys add that feature?), but I can at least treat all my students fairly.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Signs of the times

I sometimes run a Civil War simulation in my US History classes.  This year APUSH got a speed version of two days.  The kids did a great job with it, but it was a close call for the Union as the Confederacy almost won.  The Confederates played offense early, invested in a navy and captured Washington DC on the second turn when the union forgot to defend it.  Lincoln escaped when the Confederacy missed a capture roll on 2d12.  However, by the fourth turn, the union was on the path to victory and the British (who entered the Pacific Northwest "to keep the peace" after the fall of DC) were evacuating Portland and heading back to Canada.   The kids chose sides and all the girls were the Union and the boys were the Confederacy.  It was a small group because many of my kids were on a trip. 

They were here* 

Follow that link.  I'll wait.

The kids who were on trips who did not participate in the simulation had to read Ari Kelman's Battle Lines on the plane, so their time was totally wasted. 

*I would have been there too had things at school broken slightly differently.  I was the next chaperone on the list.