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Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

24 June, 2016

As Wikipedia defines Academic Integrity, it is “the moral code or ethical policy of academia. This includes values such as avoidance of cheating or plagiarism; maintenance of academic standards; honesty and rigor in research and academic publishing.”

Why do students violate the academic integrity code?

Here are the reasons why students violate the academic code:

  1. They do have enough confidence in their ability to do well in a course.
  2. They are not clear about how to integrate others’ ideas and words in their own work.
  3. They are under immense time pressure.
  4. It is easier than doing the work themselves.
  5. It seems acceptable—everyone else is doing it.
  6. Course design and assessment schema highlights grades over learning experiences.

Why does course design matter?

The way a course is structured can affect students’:

  1. Confidence to perform well in the course.
  2. Ability to cheat easily.
  3. Sense of integrity.
  4. Level of understanding of academic code violations and the related consequences.
  5. Ability to synthesize the work of others in their own work.
  6. Comfort in asking questions about academic integrity.
  7. Strategies to assignments; students may see assignments as only contributing to their grade as opposed to authentic learning experiences.

How can you design your course to encourage academic integrity?

Meizlish (2005, p.3-6) suggests the following techniques to promote academic integrity:

  1. Add an academic integrity statement in your syllabus and give a space in class to discuss expectations and to address any questions students may have.
  2. Motivate questions and honest dialogue by acknowledging that issues of academic integrity can be confusing, even for professionals.
  3. Divide larger assignments into smaller, manageable chunks.
  4. Make sure that students have chances to practice skills, develop knowledge, and receive some feedback on their performance before giving high stakes assignments or tests.
  5. If you decide to use a plagiarism detection tool such ascom, explain how it works, how students can use it to monitor their own work, and how you will use it to check for plagiarism.
  6. Utilize (and rotate) authentic questions in your assignments; for example, connect assignments to current events.
  7. Create original projects and/or papers that need multiple revisions.