Update to “Your Blackboard Site May be Viewable”

This October 22nd Lounge post informed us that our course sites are now viewable to anyone logged-in to Blackboard, unless the settings have been changed to not allow guess access. For comparison’s sake and because I can be nosy about certain things, I spent some time poking around the syllabi from different campuses. I did the same for CDL syllabi. Guess what I found in the CDL syllabus for one of the courses I teach at HWC? An entire section of my syllabus pasted into theirs–390 of my words, verbatim, that explain the different types of assignments students complete in the course.

After seeing this, I remembered a phone call I received from a CDL instructional designer early last year. He explained that they were updating the syllabus for this class because the textbook they had been using had gone out of print. He then asked me if I would email him my course materials–syllabus, assignments, rubrics, everything I had. I said no, explaining that CDL course design or redesign is something faculty are paid for. A few days later, I received an email from one of the deans at CDL, asking if I would be interested in redesigning the course for a stipend. I respectfully declined. And that was the last I heard about it, until last week when I took a peep at the syllabus on Blackboard and saw that imitation–I mean duplication–is apparently the sincerest form of flattery.

I guess the moral of this scene from Bizarro World is this: don’t ask for what should be offered; just take it.

4 thoughts on “Update to “Your Blackboard Site May be Viewable”

  1. We teach our students about Academic Honesty and Plagiarism. I have always wondered where to draw the line between “sharing” and “appropriation/stealing” when it comes to our course design/syllabi. I have seen some of my syllabus “work” magically appear in other places. Is plagiarism only bad when students do it?

  2. It is plagiarism pure and simple. Shame on them. Take confort in the fact that the true talent is in being able to create the curriculum materials in the first place.

  3. I have no idea where that line is either, Curious G. I “borrow” great assignment ideas all the time from my colleagues, but I ask nicely before I do it, I use my own language to make the assignment fit my specific needs, I tell them how it goes when I use it in class, I give them suggestions I come with about improving it. I’m not saying that’s not stealing or plagiarizing, but I sleep a lot better at night than I would if I was secretly swiping stuff and doing the old copy/paste.

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