For the past year, I’ve been participating in the ACRL Instruction Section’s mentoring program. It’s been an excellent opportunity to talk to someone with more experience about her instruction practice, techniques for building relationships with faculty, and also occasionally just hearing that I’m doing a good job from someone with an entirely external perspective. One of the things that she introduced me to was using google slides as an instruction tool beyond just making a slide deck. She’s used google slides as a surrogate for underlining things that would have been projected on a whiteboard. When I was asked to talk about academic honesty in the digital humanities context, I saw the perfect opportunity to try this out.
I was asked to put together a short, 30-minute session on academic honesty in digital spaces (basically don’t plagiarize code or mark up). I do my damndest not to just lecture at people when I’m teaching, so I decided to use the slide annotation exercise to annotate the UCCS honor code. I led a short, 10-minute discussion on what academic honesty meant to the students and why we cite our sources and then moved into the slide annotation.
We had a fantastic discussion/annotation session after reading through the section on plagiarism. Not only did we get to talking about how we might update the honor code for digital activities like coding or marking up text in XML, but also fair use and transformative works, ad and sponsored content disclosure, and how naming a place is an act of power and mapping is an exercise in asserting and fixing knowledge over space. That last one was relevant because it was a class on digital mapping. I was able to repeat the annotation exercise for another one of this professor’s classes later in the semester, and we’ve gotten to talking about how the exercise might be expanded into a more extended session.
What worked: the slide annotation went smoothly, and the primer of the conversation on the meaning of academic honesty really got the gears going for the active learning portion.
What didn’t: not everyone was able to get into the slide on their setup (not enough screen space), so most of the discussion took place in the chat and over the Teams call while other students could edit the slide directly. I expected this as a possibility, but it’s still a lot of plates to spin and it is a pretty objective example of something literally not functioning.
What I’d change: as we’re talking about expanding the class into a longer session, something I’d like to cover in more detail is fair use in the academic context. Ambitiously, I’d like to bring in Google v Oracle, the Blurred Lines case, or maybe both to discuss the line between appropriation and theft of code or music. All that with the caveat that in a class there’s a higher standard of citation necessary, of course. I would probably leave the slide annotation exercise as is and build a discussion around it.
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You can also view the current state of these activities on my instruction menu: