Enhancing Student Employability Through The Peer Review Of Professional Online Presences Video

Here is a video version of my talk from the Birmingham City University RESCON Conference 2015. You can see the slides from the original talk and a short discussion here.

The RESCON talk was given a short time slot and hence delivered at a hectic pace. I tend to provide rather more material of interest than is strictly necessary. As is usual with these things, recording the video allowed me to explore and discuss the findings from this small research study.

I do have plenty more material available relating to Professional Online Presences, including plenty of motivational examples and details of good practice. I’m always happy to share these as part of research seminars and training suitable for both students and staff looking to improve how well they are perceived online.

Nursing Essays and Nursing Essay Mills – A Word Cloud Exploration

Here’s a visual word cloud representation of what I talked about in the video for Examining The Ease Of Buying Nursing Essays Online Through Essay Mills And Contract Cheating Sites.

Word Cloud Generated From Automatic Transcript Of Nursing Essay Training

The word cloud was created from the automatic transcription generated for the video by YouTube.

The transcription wasn’t completely accurate, as it messed up quite a few phrases and made a terrible job with people’s names. To be expected, I suppose. There are also a few words in small text in the word cloud which weren’t used in the video. But the general summary and relative importance of the more common words used looks pretty accurate.

It would be an interesting student project or programming project to look at automating the process of turning YouTube videos into word clouds. I wonder if the results would throw up any new ideas, methods to explore videos, or visualisation opportunities?

Examining The Ease Of Buying Nursing Essays Online Through Essay Mills And Contract Cheating Sites

The question about the cheating that goes on in nursing and medicine education has come up frequently in the dealings I’ve had with print, radio and TV media. The reasons for this are understandable. Everyone wants to know that the nurses treating them are qualified and capable of providing safe and suitable care.

Whilst the nurses had reason to associate with have been hard working and a credit to their profession, there is an underclass of potential nurses who do resort to cheating and plagiarism. The wider research I’ve been involved in with Robert Clarke has shown a wide range of services appearing to help students. Many of these services are optimised purely to help nurses, including essay mills and contract cheating sites offering to write nursing essays and produce nursing assignments.

I explore many of these cheating sources that some nursing students are using, along with discussing the wider implications, in this training video.

You can also access this training video and other research presentations on the YouTube account for Thomas Lancaster. The slides on nursing essay cheating can be browsed on SlideShare here.

The whole area of cheating in nursing and health education is one that we’re continuing to explore, particularly in relation to contract cheating, where students are paying third parties to complete assignments for them. The methods that nursing essay mills use to market their services are of interest, as are the reasons why students resort to using these sites to bypass their education but still consider that they will be fit to practice.

Thoughts on the issues relating to cheating and nursing education are welcome and stay tuned for more training, research and discussions in these areas.

An Initial Analysis Of The Contextual Information Available Within Auction Posts On Contract Cheating Agency Websites Video Presentation

Here is a presentation of a recent paper I coauthored with Robert Clarke presented in video form. The presentation muses on the detection opportunities afforded to contract cheating through a consideration of the wider context on which requests on agency sites are made.

The video is also available on the YouTube account for Thomas Lancaster

Automated methods of detecting contract cheating are one of the areas in which there is currently a real need. Whilst people like Robert Clarke provide a human detection process, this can never be 100% successful. For instance, there’s no way that a human can be continually monitoring every post on an agency site such as Freelancer.

Whilst an intelligent system would not be a sole solution to this problem, since it would require human checking, it would also increase the consistency through which posts are monitored, and would allow more information from such sites to be captured.

How Can We Improve Industrial Sandwich Year Placements For Computing Students?

The Higher Education Academy project, Improving Industrial Sandwich Year Placements For Computing Students, is one of the most rewarding ones that I’ve worked on.

The final report, joint authored by Kawal Banga (my Research Associate) and me has been published, adds to the volume of research on student placements and employments, and ties in well with the material we’ve already presented at workshops, conferences and through seminars.

Lancaster, T. and Banga, K. (2014), Improving Industrial Sandwich Year Placements For Computing Students Final Report, Higher Education Academy.

The report finds that the sector needs to do more to encourage students to take a placement.

There are many barriers to placements, including students not wanting to pay fees for a placement year, a lack of student mobility from their local area, students lacking confidence to apply for placements (especially when facing rejection) and a perceived limit to the number of placements available. Despite that, 33% of eligible students were found to take a placement across the sector as a whole.

Examples of good practice were identified as well, including universities developing alternatives to placements to improve student employability skills and developing their own case studies and quantitative data to show their students the benefits of completing a placement.

Recommendations

Based on the project findings, the report makes 10 recommendations for the sector:

  • Motivate and persuade students of the benefits of placements
  • Better prepare students to apply for placements and to use the time out on placement to the advantage of their future career
  • Work closely with employers, local SMEs and external agencies to create placement opportunities
  • Partner with other local HEIs to offer placements
  • Allow students to work together to establish their own companies as a placement opportunity
  • Develop peer methods of placement support amongst students
  • Follow Codes of Practice for placements
  • Widely share useful placement resources and findings
  • Use virtual visits to increase the support available to students
  • Develop robust training methods and processes for placement staff

The opportunities to innovate are there for the universities willing to take them!

I continue to teach student employability and to show students how they can best prepare themselves to get a placement. I’m already using the research to help to motivate students.

The final report is available directly through the HEA and online.

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