I recently saw a disgrunted tweet from a big elearning company because another smaller elearning company had blantantly copied a significant amount of their blog word by word then posted it in their own blog the next day. Needless to say they were taken back that another company had copied their hard work without even acknowledging the source! The sad fact is that this sort of behaviour is not uncommon… I’ve come across this kind of cheating frequently where people pass off others work as their own. For example, I worked for one agency where an instructional designer created course content directly from the web by copying and pasting the text from different websites to create their “own” content for their training guides.
This kind of cheating is wrong and unnecessary. Especially when we can create original content easily and without having to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel. Here are a couple of ways in which you can use what already exists without cheating.
Acknowledge your source
The first most obvious way to avoid cheating or plagiarising is to acknowledge your source (University 101). If someone has a good idea paraphrase them or directly quote while acknowledging the source. It is perfectly acceptable to do this as you are illustrating how you are using someone else’s idea to build your own.
Also, when using someone else’s web content, such as a Youtube video, you can link directly to the external content from within your elearning course. This way the learner can see who produced the video as it hasn’t been embedded (and potentially changed) in your course.
Use stock sites
Looking for free images can often be a false economy with the extra time spent searching for the right image that doesn’t have copyright restrictions. Graphic images, sounds and music are often heavily copyrighted and rightfully so. For this reason it makes sense to put aside a budget in each elearning project to purchase images and/or music off a stock site. Purchasing off a stock site means that you don’t have to worry about copyright. Also stock items are high quality and relatively cheap in comparison to the effort of initially creating.
Here’s some stock sites I frequently use:
In short you don’t have to cheat to produce a low budget elearning course (or blog for that fact). What strategies do you use to avoid cheating while still working smart?