Is Collaboration Considered to be Cheating?

If it is, then the branch office in which I work consists of cheaters! We are a small group with only six of us employed in the PEI office. And we work as a team everyday. We collaborate together. And if we don’t know how to do something we ask the person sitting next to us and if that person doesn’t know, the two of us search for the solution. We would ask our other colleagues and search online for the solution. We are praised for our “Teamwork and Cooperation” and it is expected we do this. No one person is an island and is responsible for knowing everything. It is about the initiative to learn the answer or find the solution. We are learning everyday at work through sharing.

And it is this way in life. If I’m doing renovations on my home I don’t expect to know how to do what it is I want to achieve. I use the internet to research and then if necessary I talk to friends, family and experts to ask questions. I’ve learned a lot since we bought our first home – because I went out and found the answers.

Now coming back into the education system after being away from it for 10 years, I was only considering cheating as what was done as part of individual assignments or tests – where it is expected that I am presenting information I have learned and retained. I had not thought of collaborating in class as cheating – after all life consists of collaboration so why would class be different? I agree with one of the statements from class last week regarding parameters. If the parameters are set and the expectations are communicated that collaboration is not permitted in the learning process then I guess it would be considered cheating. However, I feel that would be to the detriment to all of those in the class – and in my workplace. I’m actually looking forward to having my coworkers discuss this topic: are we cheating?

In my workplace, we employ summer students who are typically in 2nd year university students. And in the last few years, we have noticed a pattern in those we have employed. They do not seem to have the same initiative to find the answers to something they don’t know about. If they don’t know how to do something, they just simply state it – they don’t ask others and they don’t search for the solution. We are teaching them to collaborate or search for the answer. This actually became a topic of conversation in our office as to why this is the case, many of us assuming the typical scenario of laziness. But our office’s tech guru (who is in his mid-twenties) stated another reason: technology. They are used to technology having an answer so readily available, through apps, etc that they are losing the ability to know how to find an answer or a solution on their own – even through collaboration. If this is the case, it certainly poses an interesting challenge. Is technology advancing to a state in which our youth are losing the ability to think beyond information that is easily accessible to them?


step by step

I think  I am a step by step person when it comes to computer technology. Tell me how to do it and I will figure it out. This course will guide us away from this process and allow us to explore new roads without someone telling us when to turn or slow down and take our time. Over the past few weeks I had many frustrating moments trying to figure out all the new steps of accessing the proper web sites and posting blogs. Over the past few weeks there were even those light bulb moments where I could say to myself ” you dummy that was easy”

We are learning how to use some new technology skills with this course, but is up to us how we us them in the classroom. It may take a light bulb moment in the future to say I can use this new skill I learned to help myself and students accomplish a new skill.

Computer technology can creates much uncertainty for some people just beginning to connect with the Internet and networking programs. The ability to access any type of information or connect with so many people can be overwhelming

Collaboration is a word that is used so much in the education system today. Connecting to other professionals to solve a problem and learn from each other is a new norm with today’s technology. As adults we are beginning to see the great benefit of collaboration and learning from each other. I feel we as new teachers we should develop ways to have our learners connect with other learners weather in the same room or from another part of the world using networking available to collaborate and learn from others.

The question am I cheating if we learn from the person beside me? My answer is no if it is something we will learn from and take that knowaledge and add more to it to accomplish our life goals and pass on what we have learned to others if it was cheating we cheat everyday when we use the world wide web for valuable information.

Cummunity as Curriculum and Cheating as Learning

This is an interesting concept and a very familiar idea.  After all, what is a mentor or a coach?  What is a family, or a group of friends?  All of these are people who we share ideas with and learn from.  Most of us are naturally drawn to other people with like minds, personally and in our careers.  With these people, we talk about our work day, the course(s) we are taking, share personal triumphs and failures, and learn from each other.  That’s what a community is; that’s what a family does.

When we start a new job, most employers will place us with someone who has been doing the job for a while.  Learning from others that know the job is the most efficient way to learn, and we hope that person shows us the correct way of doing the job, without any of the bad habits.  Learning from an instructor that has worked at the teaching subject is also evident in the teaching.  Someone that teaches simply from a book cannot offer true insight into the subject, nor provide life lessons as examples to help further understanding of the material.

We hear stories all the time of people with little education being very proficient and masterful at a certain task.  They may have learned it from a book, but more often-than-not it was learned by watching others in the community.  I am a big believer in self-improvement and higher education, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be achieved from a book, or formal instruction.  Unfortunately, most of the world does not agree with that because without that “piece of paper” to show your credentials and formal education in a classroom setting, most employers don’t care too much about “life experience” by itself.

So, traditional education may be very important to some, but personally I feel there is no better way to learn than from a mentor, or a coach, family, friends, and the community as a whole because some things just can’t be taught from a book.

Let’s all be cheaters!

Week 2 blog

Cheating as learning ???

Well I just found something out about myself. I’m a cheater and I have been all my life!!! Growing up it was hard to get a book in my hands and actually read it . I was constantly thinking of something else I could be doing instead of reading. Once I got away from high school and got in the work force I soon learned that if I want to know anything work related I better find the best employee and learn from him and ask him the questions that I need to know.

When I got my first job in a welding shop the first thing I did was found out who was there the longest so I could learn from them the proper ways and hoping he could teach me some new tricks . My last job we always paired up new employees with experienced ones, teaching the new employees proper strategies and reinforcing safety along the way .

I just started teaching back in September . The gentlemen that thought before me had passed away suddenly and the position opened up. When I got the news that I was awarded the job I was excited but scared. The previous teacher was all old school so no computer stuff what so ever. He had been teaching for a very long time and I believe the curriculum was all in his head . Lucky for me I had great help the trades teachers were always there for support and questions.

In conclusion what we learn from others or books we always tweak to make it our own or suit our needs. Education has evolved from dusty old books to high speed Internet, which  the information is literally at your finger tips . I like the Internet much better myself because you don’t have to read 400 pages to find an answer . My thoughts you can learn more from experience and great ideas than just flipping a page and forced to read it !!

Working Together – Cheating as Learning

I can remember with what doesn’t seem like that long ago (23 years) sitting in a classroom, and wouldn’t even think of speaking to the person next to me to ask he/she a question (or answer their question directed to me ) on a new topic learned in class. We learned from one person and one person only, the TEACHER. I can remember getting together after class to go over what we missed or had problems understanding. Looking back now, I was able to show them and they were able to show me their knowledge on the topic. I would not consider that cheating, but another way of educating. The only difference from today is that it was done outside the classroom.

When learning in a “community” environment, the ideas are endless. Rather than learning from only one person in the class (that being the teacher), we learn from each other. With that being said, it opens a whole new world of knowledge !
I haven’t had the privilege of teaching in a classroom yet, but I do have student hairstylists that work with me. I try to learn them that in this type of field (or for any type for that matter ) you NEVER stop learning, even when you have reached your highest certification in it, education is always there. I have seen myself in the past, call other professionals in my line or work to get a second opinion on doing things. I do not consider myself to be any less of a professional than they. We try to get together on a regular basis to exchange ideas on different ways of our industry and I LOVE learning to do old things in a NEW way. Because of that. I’ve even seen myself ask my students opinion on things which I would not consider either of those ‘cheating.’ So I guess its fair to say we are community as a curriculum.
I don’t rely on a lot on technology in my work area, but I do think that it is ok to use at a certain extent . If a client were wanting a certain thing done, I wouldn’t think twice about searching for the instructional step by step video on the computer. I look at this as a way of learning from someone else. I do find the younger generation have new ideas and I always welcome that in my workplace from my students.
I have seen myself in this class perhaps miss something Dave was saying. I am thrilled to be sitting next to classmates that I have gotten to know and they are there to help in any way. I have spent so much time on google drive , and the other sites we have been given while at home . Now, I feel really confident where I am now in this class. There is always that uncertainty when we learn something new, and yes it is scary. I felt a sense of relief in my second class of Ed 366 when looking around and knowing I didn’t feel like I was bothering anyone by double checking what I was doing was right. The “stick video” made sense for me after I read the chapter. It made me look at a whole new way of learning with a group. Shared ideas and working together as a whole brings so much more endless knowledge in a classroom.

Week 2 – Why we work together – cheating as learning

The notion that “Old School” is inherently ineffective, one could argue is not really taking into account history. We are all a product of our history and as the old saying goes “those that fail to learn from the past, are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past”. It is safe to say that the best method for advancement is to avoid labels, such as “Old School”. Maybe it would be best to say we are just evolving, taking what is best from the past and using those “Old” tools to evolve into a better future.

Also one might say that there are advantages to “Old School” methods as it allowed for a more slower paced approach to learning. To actually reflect on content as it is not coming at one, in such a face paced way. In today learning environments, one may see gaps in what learners take away from their learning experiences. It seems at time the basics are completely lost in our new collaborative approach to learning. I think the best approach going forward is one of combining old with new and to make sure we have a solid foundation in the basics, so we can be valuable to our network of learners.

In response to your comment about wanting us to “cheat” and learn from our neighbor.  I actually had to do this at the start of class on Tuesday.  I could not remember where to find documents within the Google drive, so I asked Amanda for help.  Now I could have taken the time to click and press tabs, but instead of wasting valuable time I simply tapped into my collaborative network of learners and “got the answer” from my neighbor.

I do agree with learning form the collaborative network around you, and within my program I do encourage this to happen. An example of this would be in the Computer Essentials course, I encourage peer teaching and this is very effective, not only learning the computer content but developing network relationships.


Blog – Week 2

Why we work together – cheating as learning

Before starting this course I read Dave’s blog and realized this wasn’t going to be a traditional technology course and I wondered how I would relate this concept to my everyday practises. With each class (all 2), I am appreciating this non-traditional approach more and more.

I hear/read comments such as, “it’s moving too fast” or “so much content in one session” and “I just don’t know what I’m doing”. But, each time its followed by “yet, I can really see where  I can use this in my classroom” or “but, I’m starting to get the hang of twitter, blogging, google docs..” After all, we have only completed 2 classes folks! Thankfully, I have always enjoyed the “sink or swim” approach in life, so learning in this method suits me.

I had a bit of a “ah-hah” moment in last class when some neighbouring students “cheated” during the geo-earth game. I chuckled to myself and thought, no, not cheating, resourceful! But, with each different situation in the classroom how do you maintain the balance of resourcefulness verses cheating?

I can already see where I will adapt my practises and way of thinking to include some of these technologies in my class room.  Creating platforms, for students to “cheat” will allow for broader learning through sharing of experience, challenging ideas and the passing of knowledge through technology.

The stickman video, as simplistic as it was, clearly outlined the evolution that has happened in knowledge sharing. Community as curriculum, in a time of abundance…these words are beginning to have more clarity and meaning to me.


Week2 Blog – Bring on the Connectivism!

I was a constructivist, but now, perhaps, I’m a connectivist!

I do subscribe to the “community as curriculum” theory. My personal educational philosophy is centred on constructivism, or at least it was until I read Becker’s article, and my personal choice for curriculum design is the Universal Backwards Design model developed by Wiggins and McTighe. With knowledge, now, basically ubiquitous, I see community as curriculum — forming of learning communities and passing of knowledge and information freely — as the next, great step forward. I truly believe this model of learning is what will take us to the promised land (you are left to your own to decide what that promised land might entail!).

My one hesitation with the community as curriculum model is that I think it would be better enhanced if it included some of the larger aspects of the UbD model. The UbD model focuses on a few key points, namely transfer and true understandings with a key focus on assessment. Transfer is basically describing that most people forget 95% of what they learned after a course finishes. And after all, if you can’t remember it, you didn’t learn it, right!? So the UbD model forces you to focus on what larger, transferable leanings you expect the students to take away.

I might be missing the point, but I feel the one weak point of community as curriculum is that it could be a little “loose” in its outcomes if it is adopted by a teacher that doesn’t truly understand how to implement it. I see community as curriculum resting on top of, or perhaps alongside, other curriculum models such as UbD. In that regard, a given course with direct outcomes (Math 101, for example) would be able to operate with a clear focus on larger transfer learnings and yet benefit by the emerging and richly focused community as curriculum model, too. I wonder what Math 101 would look like with a strong influence of community as curriculum? I would love to have taken that course!

I would also add that the old-school prescriptive model of teaching technology (we’ve all taken those computer course where you learn step1, step2, step3, etc.) are horribly misguided. They also are heavily biased towards Piaget’s assimilative knowledge: information comes into the brain and simply gets memorized/implanted but no new connections are made. In this course, I feel it is accommodative in nature. You are learning and making new connections (in your brain) and although this method can be scary at times, it (in my opinion) is the best form of learning that will truly provided transferable learning for the learner. More courses should be designed this way.


Community as Curriculum

Community as Curriculum;
Hate to admit my age; however, it is exactly 30 years ago that I graduated from UPEI. Like the Elton John song, I am still standing after all of these years. I have seen a lot of changes in both the delivery of education and how employment work is done. When I undertook my initial studies in school and UPEI the style of learning mirrored “old school”. Student had little interaction outside of class and any learning for the most part was done isolation from others and those who studied too much were labeled “book worms”.

Both learning and employment changed with the advent of microcomputers. Distance education was developed (prior to internet) and there was more education options made available to students which I call it, “started a virtual learning experience”. In addition many businesses developed efficiency improvements e.g. EDI – electronic invoicing and transfer of data, mostly through modems at the time. This allowed business to exert influence in supply chain management e.g. Wal-Mart.

From my experiences management were reluctant to embrace computers on workers desks. They had the notion that employees would play games and not work. I argued that employees didn’t need computers to not work. This same management thought is still being exhibited today, respecting how employees work. In many cases, one can work from home and not be actually physically at the office. Some studies have shown that employees with the tools at home actually do more work than if they were at the office.

How does this tie into the topic? To me, learning is continuous and one needs to keep trying to absorb new ideas, technology changes to understand how best use and utilize. When I was a student at UPEI, if you were over the age of 25 you stood out! Now this is not the case. I manage student services and see all modes of learning including various online deliveries. School is no longer bricks and mortar; rather the growth of Post Secondary Schools is tied to; marketing, technology infrastructure, band width and IT delivery of the instructors.

In our current era, the tools we use to learn with, e.g. internet, email, I-Pads, etc are also to many as our toys of enjoyment. Never, in the past have I heard folks show affection towards textbooks; however, I have seen many show this affection to their Blackberries, etc. Is this good or bad? For the younger generation it is how they think and operate, for us older 40+ we show some affection towards all new gadgets for many reasons including staying in touch with our children and peer pressure of getting left behind.

I was at Three Oaks School last night with parents respecting the federal and provincial programs my staff delivers. The parents are in my age group. When you speak in front of 100+ parents it is interesting to observe their behavior, questions and concerns. One theme, I have noticed is that parents indicate their children are not self sufficient, read anything or think or their own without their prodding. I usually, like to let this play out between some parents and in some cases spills over to a topic of discussion. I question is this any different than when we were that age, minus the tech gadgets. I encourage parents to speak with me and my staff to avoid issues that left unattended can become a big issue for their children. We are a small staff that looks after various programs for 5,000 students, however, each are treated equally regardless of age, race, sex, etc.

Upon my own reflections, I do find that professors/ instructors could improve with interacting with students as many don’t do this well. The debate today is why should students attend a brick and mortar institution if they are not going to gain personal interaction and have fun in learning. Otherwise, Post Secondary education can be delivered much more cost efficiently through the web technology media.

ED#366 Week 2 Blog Post

Chapter 1: Why we work together – Cheating as learning

Another busy class with lots of information that is actually sinking in. The introduction to Chapter 1 certainly summarizes the course and clarifies the learning process that we are experiencing. To be able to work with and utilize the skills of all members of ED#366 is a definite asset. We are using each others knowledge and skills to learn adding to our knowledge base without having to cheat.

The statement “Why don’t you just tell us what to learn?”, makes me reflect on my own classes, where the learners are given step by step instructions, follow through on these instructions to completion, acknowledge that they fully understand the concept, and when asked to do it again without detailed instructions, they have no idea how to proceed.  Based on individual learning skills, step by step instruction does not always aid in the learning/retention process. My challenge is how to implement changes to my delivery, so that the learners will be able to remember where to find information on the assignment and how to complete it while actually retaining the learning.

I still have a lot of uncertainty regarding the technologies we have used, but I am learning on my own, and with the help of my peers, how to use them more effectively each week. A lot of learning without step by step instruction has taken place in a short time period.

Community as Curriculum is a powerful tool. Your video presented the concept in a simple but yet understandable format that got the message out. Share the knowledge in the classroom, if we ask a question to learn, is it cheating? I don’t think so. I  intend to  use the peer resources in the classroom to fill in the blanks on the learning pieces that I am missing. I truly believe community learning enhances  individual learning and retention through sharing our skill sets with others in the classroom as we proceed through the course.

Time will be the judge of our learning.