Colin Simpson’s Ed-Tech must-reads of the week

Go8 unis challenge anti-plagiarism software merger from the Australian Financial Review.

While ‘text-matching’ or ‘similarity checking’ are probably more accurate terms for what tools like Turnitin and Ouriginal (formerly Urkund) do, they are the big two companies in the academic integrity / anti-plagiarism space. The announcement earlier this year that Turnitin planned to acquire Ouriginal raised some concerns in the sector about the impact that this may have on competition, support and innovation. The ACCC started an investigation in July and this article about the submission from the Group of Eight universities nicely sums up some of the issues.


Interaction in asynchronous discussion boards: a campus-wide analysis to better understand regular and substantive interaction from Education and Information Technologies Journal.

Discussion forums have been a mainstay of on-line learning for as long as we have had on-line learning. Used well, they contribute to social, teaching and cognitive presence in a space that can sometimes be isolating. In spite of the time we have had to develop forums as teaching tools, their efficacy varies wildly. This journal article from Gasell, Lowenthal, Uribe-Florez and Ching draws on the wealth of analytic data now available in the LMS to see how forums are used and whether there is an optimal level of teacher engagement. It’s largely quantitative but still offers some insights and suggestions for faculty development.


Some of the most iconic 9/11 news coverage is lost. Blame Adobe Flash from CNN Business.

For a good few decades Adobe Flash dominated interactive multimedia content on-line. This was also true of many educational resources, and when support for Flash finally ended at the start of 2021 – the ‘Flashapocalypse’ – there was a significant body of work done in education institutions to ensure that resources were converted. Fortunately, the writing had been on the wall for some time. This CNN article describes the impact on the wider web and particularly the strategies that have been used to preserve a wealth of rich on-line media that could be lost with the (virtual) flick of a switch.


Digital disruption in the time of COVID-19: Learning technologists’ accounts of institutional barriers to online learning, teaching and assessment in UK universities from International Journal of Academic Development (pre-print),

Learning (or education) technologists are most commonly professional staff responsible for supporting the effective use of technologies to enable better learning and teaching. They bridge IT departments and teaching centres, holding expertise in both spaces. Unsurprisingly, with the rapid pivot to technology enhanced learning since COVID19, they (we) have been busy helping institutions move to the “new normal.” This study from Watermeyer, Crick and Knight explores this shift through the eyes of these people on the ground and captures their insights into what has changed, whether this change will endure and why. It does not pull punches.


The meme is the message from Taraneh Azar Part of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the worldwide web was that it would be a home for creators as much as consumers. n Insome ways, memes as easily created, constantly evolving pieces of micro-content have realised that vision. Taraneh Azar, a student at Northeastern University, has builtan incredibly rich resource outlining some of the history, theory, concepts and exemplars of memes and meme culture. It’s a rabbit hole but always interesting.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner