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Reflection as an Assessment Tool
Because the foundation of ethics is the community consensus of what is right and wrong for the group, having the students work in a group and reach a concensus can be one of the best forms of assessment. Also, because of the need for students to practice their writing skills, having the group present a paper to the rest of the class for consideration and refinement is also a plus. Depending on the depth you would like your students to demonstrate, a 1-5 page paper is usually appropriate. Some questions that will demonstrate their critical analysis skills include:
What should be the result of not complying with an Acceptable Use Policy?
Should students have to buy textbooks if they can get them on CD/DVD?
If they can find a book online for free, should they download it?
Should students be allowed to have a reduced rate for books on CD?
This is a handout used by the English and Philosophy Department at Del Mar College for students to know how an A, B, C, D or F paper is assessed at the college level. Download: Expectations for Formal Written Work.doc These are some links that could be used as examples for support your students during the writing process.
The OWL at Purdue offers online handouts covering writing, research, grammar, and MLA and APA style. This is a very well organized site and offer students a great deal of immediate and timely information. The 'correct' way (today) to deal with electronic resources is covered. If you do not have a writing lab on your campus this becomes a rock solid resource. Link: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
Now, having said that and given some basic tools, you will also have to check for plagarism. If you do not have a campus software like Turn it In™ on your campus, a really good free tool is Google. Yes, the Google we all know and love. If you encounter writing that just doesn't sound like that 18-year-old student, type in the sentence and use quotation marks at the beginning and end. If it was a cut and paste job, google will show you exactly which site was copied.
Students know the technology and are unafraid to try new things and share new tricks within their community. We, as instructors, can tap into that wonderful source of information and facilitate the discussions about the impact the new technolgies have had, are having, and will have on our community.