Resources for working with students with disabilities

by Hannah Brown
Master’s student, University of Florida

Here are some resources based on my class presentation on working student students with disabilities.

First off, here’s where to find UF’s procedures at the Disability Resource Center:

Second, here’s the citation for the ethnography on students with learning disabilities that I used in my presentation: 

Stage, F. and Milne, N. (1996) Invisible Scholars: Students with Learning Disabilities. The Journal of Higher Education.  Vol 67 (4). p.426-445.

You can find this article, and the others below, online through JSTOR.

Other resources used:

(2006) Section 504 Online Introductory Tutorial. Florida Department of Education. Retrieved April 14, 2013 from .

Hanafin, J., Shevlin, M., Kenny, M. and McNeela, E. (2007). Including Young People with Disabilities: Assessment Challenges in Higher Education. Higher Education. Vol 54 (3), p. 435-448.

Leuchovius, D. (2003). ADA Q&A… The ADA, Section 504 & Postsecondary Education. Retrieved April 14, 2013 from

Terman, D., Larner, M., Stevenson, C. and Behrman, R. (1996). Special Education for   Students with Disabilities: Analysis and Recommendations. The Future of Education, Vol. 6(1),  p. 4-24.  

Also, here are a few links to some interesting YouTube videos:

Hannah Brown is a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).

How teachers prevent (or promote) academic dishonesty

by Daniel Axelrod
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

A few of the final embers from Harvard’s year-old cheating scandal recently slipped into the ashes when the university revealed that an administrative leak about the incident had been inadvertent.

Ultimately, Harvard forced 60 students to withdraw from school for varying periods of time after they shared answers from a take-home final exam for a class about Congress.

But instead of gawking, it’s worth discussing what teachers can learn to prevent such incidents.

So, Dr. Norm Lewis, a University of Florida journalism professor who studies academic dishonesty, shared with me eight simple solutions for teachers to stop it before it starts:

1.     Be clear about your expectations for academic honesty. At the semester’s start, don’t skip or gloss over the academic dishonesty policies in a syllabus. The first class is the ideal occasion to remind students of the definitions for, and the consequences of, different types of cheating and plagiarism.

2.     Set the right tone. Convey the ideas that good students will be rewarded for effort, and success comes from hard work (not luck or arbitrary judgments by the instructor).

3.     Be there to help your students. True accessibility transcends office hours. From the get-go, let students know they can ask questions and meet with the teacher for feedback.

4.     Lower the stakes. One assignment need not disproportionately count toward a final grade, and students deserve chances to rewrite what they submit. Academic dishonesty is more likely if grade pressures are too high, if students think they can’t handle the work, or if they believe the professor is demanding perfection. So, teachers should adopt attitudes, and institute policies, that prioritize learning over grading.

5.     Prevent last-minute efforts. Leave students ample time to complete assignments, and let them submit work in stages.

6.     Do some detective work. Call or view the students’ sources to see whether they were consulted, if they were properly cited, and to gauge the originality of the submission.

7.     Get to know your students. Besides using a diagnostic assessment to discern students’ creative voices and measure their abilities, simply learning students’ names, and forging real relationships, are the perfect ways to disincentivize/prevent academic dishonesty.

 8.     Close the loopholes. Complete the same tests and assignments given to the students. Consider every crevice, and then start caulking.

Plagiarism and cheating will always exist. But, like students, teachers are accountable for academic dishonesty, too. To ensure academic integrity, the first question an educator should ask is: “Do my practices and priorities prevent or promote it?”

 Daniel Axelrod is a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).

3 tips for incorporating technology into your college courses

by Megan Mallicoat
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

There is a compelling reason to embrace technology as you teach: technology has already captured the minds and hearts of our students. As the world becomes increasingly technology-driven, students must understand how to learn technology and how to use technology to learn. This understanding enables them to become lifelong learners.

As teachers, even though we may not be as naturally immersed in technology as are our students, technology also provides new ways to connect with students. Here are three practical suggestions to incorporate technology into your lesson plans:

1.    Communicate important information with Twitter. Remind students of upcoming deadlines and important events. Post links to interesting websites. Supplement class discussions with follow-up references. Be ready for them to want to use Twitter for topics best discussed in person during office hours, though. Remind them some things require more than 140 characters.

2.     Encourage creativity with social media tools like Instagram, Vine and Storify. These Web 2.0 tools are probably already loaded onto your students’ smartphones. Take advantage of your students’ love for 24/7 social connection, and translate it into class-related creativity.

3.     Ask them to organize group projects with Web 2.0 project management tools. Once released into the real world, many fresh graduates will need to know how to use project management tools. Why not start now? Tools such as Wikispaces, Google Groups, and Facebook Groups make it easy to collaborate. In some cases, these tools can also help you track how much effort each group member is contributing to the project — which comes in handy when it’s time to grade.


Megan Mallicoat is a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).