The Francophone Distance Education Network of Canada (REFAD), in partnership with TELUQ, held its annual conference on May 24 and 25 in Quebec City under the theme Online security, plagiarism and cyberbullying: the challenges of distance learning.
Since 1988 REFAD has brought together people and organizations interested in promoting and developing education in French through distance education. Since its creation, the organization has produced nearly fifty guides, publications, briefs and research reports, on various themes such as perseverance and skills in distance learning, online assessment or the success of students.
This latest edition of the annual conference aimed to identify current best practices in distance learning, the roles of the various stakeholders, as well as concrete solutions to these various challenges, while keeping the learner at the center of concerns.
Plagiarism in the spotlight
Plagiarism was the central theme of the first day of the conference. It was Nicole Perreault, host of the TIC Respondents' Network (REPTIC), who started the ball rolling. The one who has written numerous articles on the educational potential of technologies and on electronic plagiarism gave a opening conference.
The presentations that followed enabled different facets of this central challenge of distance learning to be addressed:
- Do they even know they are plagiarizing?
- Plagiarism, apply sanctions or take proactive measures?
- Using anti-plagiarism software: for or against?
- Plagiarism prevention: a win-win partnership
It was also on this first day that the presentation of the results of the REFAD surveys 2017-2018 as well as the launch of the MEMO project (Massive online module open to distance learning).
Safety and ethics
For day 2 of the conference, the opening conference was delivered by Richard Khoury, who heads a pan-Canadian public-private partnership to fight cybertoxicity in online communities at Laval University's Big Data Research Center.
The topics covered for this second day were in the field of cybersecurity and applied ethics:
- Another look at handling plagiarism complaints in distance education
- Online safety, cyberbullying and cyberstalking
- Design of a secure online learning environment that adheres to the behaviors of learners in the digital age
- A simple game: identity and digital citizenship. More efficient, secure and ethical use of the Internet and social networks.
The conferences and individual papers of the colloquium are available online at the REFAD YouTube channel.
PowerPoint presentations by speakers and workshop leaders can also be viewed online via this link.
To find out more about REFAD's activities, you can follow their Facebook page.