This recent article from the New York Times addresses the challenge of preventing cheating on homework projects and tests. The use of technology to check assignments for plagiarism and to monitor students during exams certainly seems to be growing. However, not all instructors or institutions buy into this approach, with some advocating the less-adversarial approach of instilling an atmosphere of honor and trust.
This is not a simple either/or question, to be sure, but in terms of overall emphasis, do you lean toward fostering an environment of trust or relying on monitoring systems to prevent cheating? Is the honor system realistic, even if it is the preferred strategy?
This blog post from the developers of the FreshBooks online business accounting system demonstrates audience focus in multiple ways, starting with the effort behind the message. Every business worries about how quickly customers will pay their bills, so FreshBooks analyzed the customer data it had on hand to see which payment terms and invoice messages generated the quickest responses. This alone is remarkable customer service; the audience-focused presentation of the information makes it that much better.
We have annotated a copy of the post that you can share with your students (on two PowerPoint slides).
(The PowerPoint slides were updated on 10-09-10 to correct two of the annotations.)