Recently, Grad School started offering i-Thenticate, a new tool for graduate students at Virginia Tech. The objective of this tool is to help students to review their papers, article drafts, and dissertation documents to avoid plagiarism. Many of us are teaching assistants, so, this is an excellent tool to use while reviewing written assignments from our students.
In class, we discussed unethical behaviors among professionals and academia. We saw that the production pressure that many professionals face can lead them to commit these types of behaviors. Among our students, plagiarism is a problem because several cases of plagiarism are found annually at Virginia Tech. Procrastination can facilitate academic misconduct in students. In the Internet era, plagiarism among students has increased and is hard to detect with the naked eye. Teaching assistants play a critical role in the promotion of academic integrity and honesty among undergraduate students.
In this sense, I believe that i-Thenticate can facilitate the peer-review process and grading. Which class are you teaching? Have you used i-Thenticate? What would be your reaction if you find abundant plagiarism in one of your students’ assignments?
During the last seven years, I have worked in multidisciplinary teams where professionals from different fields work together to solve specific problems. With the current globalized world and with the ongoing climate change many innovations will be necessary to confront novel challenges. The future in academia should focus on multidisciplinarity to find more effective teaching and research that develop successful answers to the complex problems we will face.
Some important skills necessary when working in multidisciplinary teams include a sense of collective responsibility, respect for each other’s opinions, and consideration of everybody’s ideas in the decision-making process. That is, we need to develop team-work skills. Graduate school is the perfect opportunity to start this process.
A central aspect of why multidisciplinary teams are more successful is the diversity of the backgrounds and approaches. Team members come from different professions, which helps to create connection of different ideas, from different perspectives, that could not be done in isolation.
An important task for every professional is to respect and see as equal other fields of knowledge. Sometimes can be difficult to integrate social sciences, humanities, engineering, and the natural sciences together.
Is working in multidisciplinary teams encouraged in your field? Can you mention an example of professionals from different fields working in a project in your field?
For a class I took this semester I had to write critical reading notes weekly. There were several factors to identify in each reading but the most difficult task for me was to develop a counterargument. This challenge made me think: Are universities preparing their students to develop critical thinking skills? Or are we learning and applying knowledge? Are the young scholars able to discuss knowledge to make better judgments?
I found an article where researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln argued that universities are graduating students that are not prepared to think critically. I wonder if this statement can be generalized to all fields in academia.
Professors should teach how to think instead of what to think. We need to learn how to evaluate the information we receive. When we are undergrad students, we are only memorizing what others have created but we also need to think critically since an early stage. Critical thinking relies on evidence, rationality, discipline, and judgment. We must ask questions, gather information, and reaching reliable conclusions based on these evidences.
If we are considering becoming faculty, we need to acquire new pedagogical approaches to provide critical thinking skills to students that will be exposed to pseudoscience and fake news.
- Flores, K.L. et al. (2012). Deficient Critical Thinking Skills among College Graduates: Implications for leadership. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 44 (2).