BEWARE, students who cut, copy, and paste from the Internet.

To help professors catch students lifting text from the Web for school requirements such as essays and term papers, the Educational Technology (EdTech) Center has installed an anti-plagiarism software in line with its expansion program.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Dinah Briones, EdTech assistant director for productions and applications, said the “Safe Assign” software has been incorporated into the Blackboard software of the center’s e-Leap or e-Learning Access Program system to keep dishonest students from lifting copyrighted work and using them as material for paper requirements.

Once a student submits a project through the Blackboard, the plagiarized sentences will be highlighted, along with corresponding URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the website where they came from.

“This will definitely teach students the value of honesty,” Briones said.

According to the UST Student Handbook, acts of dishonesty such as plagiarism and forgery, among others, can be subject to suspension, probation or expulsion depending on the gravity of the offense.

Meanwhile, the EdTech’s Blackboard software system has been upgraded from version 7.3 to 8 and will be fully operational at the start of academic year 2008-2009.

The improved version of the Blackboard also boasts of other features such as the “pilot contents system,” an online student portfolio designed for easier management of academic materials, and the reprogramming of the “grades center” which now runs through Microsoft Excel for easier encoding.

Last March 26, EdTech personnel and administrators led by its director Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P., graced the blessing of the center’s newly renovated office which now occupies the entire right wing of the second floor of the Miguel de Benavides Library.

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“The expansion of the EdTech Center is in relation with our vision of providing the students better venues for using IT in their chosen areas of specialization,” Cabading explained. “The plan to expand was actually created during the second semester of school year 2006. We were only able to push through now because of budgetary reasons in the past.”

Aside from the newly refurbished rooms of the EdTech director, assistant director and section head, the multimedia room which was previously divided into two rooms was expanded to accommodate more students.

The new e-Leap room is now divided into cubicles to facilitate online examinations and activities. Laptops have replaced desktop computers.

With a consistent line-up of projects for the coming school year, EdTech aims to further develop and innovate in the field of e-learning, even sending personnel to countries such as Taiwan for formal training.

“We hope that this is only a tentative expansion. There have been plans to create a new building much similar to the Tan Yan Kee Student Center which will house all institutions concerning IT – the EdTech Center and STePs,” Cabading added. “Included in this plan is the separation of the computer science course from the Faculty of Engineering to establish itself as a separate college.” M.R.A.Barrios

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