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:
- They do have enough confidence in their ability to do well in a course.
- They are not clear about how to integrate others’ ideas and words in their own work.
- They are under immense time pressure.
- It is easier than doing the work themselves.
- It seems acceptable—everyone else is doing it.
- Course design and assessment schema highlights grades over learning experiences.
Why does course design matter?
The way a course is structured can affect students’:
- Confidence to perform well in the course.
- Ability to cheat easily.
- Sense of integrity.
- Level of understanding of academic code violations and the related consequences.
- Ability to synthesize the work of others in their own work.
- Comfort in asking questions about academic integrity.
- 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:
- 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.
- Motivate questions and honest dialogue by acknowledging that issues of academic integrity can be confusing, even for professionals.
- Divide larger assignments into smaller, manageable chunks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Utilize (and rotate) authentic questions in your assignments; for example, connect assignments to current events.
- Create original projects and/or papers that need multiple revisions.