How can teachers strengthen the originality of their students? Experts and participants addressed this question in a webinar hosted by Ouriginal
(Stockholm, August 2021) - Ouriginal, Europe's leading provider of solutions for plagiarism detection and prevention, hosted a webinar on "Encouraging originality in students: Why it starts with training the teachers" on August 24. Sonja Bjelobaba, the research associate at the Center for Research Ethics and Bioethics at Uppsala University in Sweden, and Verena Kunz-Gehrmann, chief marketing officer at Ouriginal, spoke to more than 200 participants about findings from their research on integrity and originality, and practical experiences.
"We were extremely pleased with the high number of participants, which made it clear that teachers, in particular, are interested in learning how originality can be fostered in their students. They were also shown ways to evaluate for themselves whether their own learning methods and approaches are successful," says Verena Kunz-Gehrmann.
Teachers also need to be trained for integrity and originality
Ouriginal has recognized via various surveys that more and more teachers and instructors in academia want to ensure originality in submitted work. This knowledge served as the basis for the webinar. Different approaches were incorporated from diverse institutions and disciplines. One commonality became apparent - the goal of protecting and strengthening academic integrity. However, the evaluation of originality can be different for scientific contributions than for literary works. "Therefore, it is important to train teachers themselves on originality and academic integrity," notes Verena Kunz-Gehrmann.
Tools, methods, and implications of the pandemic for education
The webinar started with a definition of originality and a discussion of how it differs from creativity. This included whether originality differs across different segments: For example, depending on the level of the educational institution (school vs. university) or even in different disciplines (humanities vs. natural sciences). How do teachers need to view originality in order to foster it in their students, but equally in their own work? The seminar also looked at the impact of the pandemic on education - and whether ad hoc digitization has had more positive or negative effects on everyone involved.
Sonja Bjelobaba concluded after the initial discussions: originality differs greatly in different settings and environments. Not only the discipline but also social and cultural background could play a major role. Originality is a process, and starts with learners deeply internalizing content, Bjelobaba emphasized. "Learners need to understand why originality is so important to themselves," Bjelobaba said. "This understanding doesn't start with writing, but with reading and understanding content. Teachers, on the other hand, need to keep their focus on the 'why and how' of original writing, not on sanctioning it if it's cheated." For learners to develop and unleash their full capabilities and their originality, discussions for instructional purposes would always need to take place in safe and open environments.
Accompanying the learner's development
To evaluate and assess learning progress, Dr. Bjelobaba suggested dividing the final exams, which usually ask for the material of an entire apprenticeship year or semester, into smaller units. These should be spread out over the entire apprenticeship year or semester. In this way, the development of a learner can be recognized and included in the assessment. Online teaching and learning environments present special challenges to teachers and learners alike, but also offer numerous advantages. Dr. Bjelobaba pointed out that discussions in online environments tend to be much more democratic, with more learners actively participating than in normal, traditional classrooms or lecture halls.
The numerous responses and lively participation at the event made it clear that there are still many unanswered questions about originality in education. Further discussions on this topic are, therefore, being planned at Ouriginal.
A full-length recording of the webinar is available online at https://www.ouriginal.com/on-demand-webinar-encouraging-originality-in-students-why-it-starts-with-training-the-teachers/
Ouriginal is a text-matching software used to assess the originality of any given text. It was born when two companies, PlagScan and Urkund came together with the goal of offering a bold solution that enhances students' potential to think original and saves teachers’ time when evaluating assignments. With more than three decades of combined knowledge and expertise, we deliver cutting-edge technology, catering to our customers' needs.