Academic Integrity Campaign

Since the transition to online learning in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Langara College was witness to a common trend among post-secondary institutions at this time: a massive increase in academic integrity concerns and reports of academic integrity violations occurring due to a variety of factors. The College saw a 40% increase in reported cases between 2019 and 2020, with one department actually seeing a 300% increase in reported incidents in 2020 (from 64 to 279).

The college worked fast to develop resources for both students and faculty who were feeling overwhelmed before working to develop a coordinated campaign dedicated to addressing academic integrity knowledge and resources among faculty, staff and students. Langara College’s Academic Integrity Advisory Committee proposed and received funding for our 2021 Academic Integrity Campaign. The key message was to acknowledge that promoting academic integrity is everyone’s responsibility at the college, with these specific campaign goals:

  1. Identify academic integrity as an institutional priority
  2. Ensure that employees and students feel supported when they have concerns about academic integrity
  3. Emphasize that integrity is important in all areas of life

This campaign launched in February 2021, first with a video from Langara’s Senior Leadership Team confirming the College’s dedication to academic integrity, followed by a Meme Contest to encourage student engagement and voices in the campaign.

Academic Integrity Meme Contest

The Meme Contest was inspired by an article found in the Dalhousie University News, in which Dr. Stamp (a teaching fellow at Dalhousie’s Department of Psychology and Neurosicence) developed a meme assignment for her students in spring 2020 “to help counter some of the negativity around these worries and inject a bit of humour into an otherwise challenging situation.” The idea was presented to the Academic Integrity Advisory Committee, who responded incredibly positively to expanding and adapting this idea for the entire Langara College community.

When developing the meme contest, the committee focused on emphasizing student voices in academic integrity, allowing students to share their thoughts and feelings about incidents or cheating and plagiarism and to help get honest students fired up and talking about academic integrity. We also wanted to help encourage students to discuss academic integrity in a fun, engaging, and creative way.

The committee was able to develop contest rules and guidelines quite quickly; we were focused on ensuring that the contest would be accessible and approachable to all students. Instead of a grading rubric, we focused on offering tips to students to help increase their chances of being shortlisted. The contest was launched on Langara College’s main social media channel, and linked to a page on the Langara website where students could enter their submissions, which consisted of their meme and a statement on why academic integrity matters to them. 

Choosing Winners!

After the submission deadline, the memes were shared with the Academic Integrity Advisory Committee who blindly voted on the submissions in order to short-list 6 memes. These short-listed memes were then posted to Langara College’s Instagram Account, with the note that the top three memes with the most shares and likes would all receive a $100 Visa Gift Card.

In the end, these were our winners:

Winner 1

 ICAI September 2021 Blog AI Meme Winner 1 Langara College

Winner 2

ICAI September 2021 Blog Langara College AI Meme Winner 2

Winner 3

ICAI September 2021 Blog Langara College AI Meme Winner 3

Contest Highlights

Out of the 42 submissions in less than 4 weeks from Langara students, 6 were shortlisted to be posted to Langara’s Instagram account. At this time, as most College activities were virtual, the Langara College social media channels were actually posting at an all-time high and seeing a decrease in engagement. Despite this, this Meme Contest shifted the engagement on the channel resulting in one of Langara College’s most successful social media campaigns.

Some highlights from the engagement on social media for this contest include:

  • Reach of 38,335 individuals
  • Total of 2,802 likes and shares, and 2916 engagements, on the 6 finalists posts
  • A 404% increase in website pageviews on the student academic integrity site
  • A 467% increase in unique website pageviews on the same site
  • And more than a 300% increase on Time on Page for this same site

But It Didn’t Stop There

Langara College often posts content on social media around the end of the College semesters – when there is an uptick in academic integrity violations and students experience the highest levels of stress. When developing new posts for this time of year, the coordinators of this campaign drew insight from the academic integrity statements that students had submitted with their meme contest submissions.

We saw statements that were personal, relatable, and concise. We reached out to the students who submitted these statements to ask if they would agree to sharing their words on social media, only to receive quick responses from students excited for their words to be shared. These statements were developed into posts, which were shared with academic supports available on campus.

Examples of Student Insight Posts

ICAI September 2021 Blog Langara College AI Meme Contest Social Media 1

 

ICAI September 2021 Blog Langara College AI Meme Contest Social Media 2png

 

ICAI September 2021 Blog Langara College AI Meme Contest Social Media 3

Continuing the Student-Centered Approach


We have found this contest to be an incredible success for our institutions and students. However, it’s important to recognize that the success of this contest was  likely due to that fact that it was exciting, new and engaging. A contest like this had never occurred on our campus before.

And therefore, we need to continue to develop exciting new ways to encourage students to have a role in discussions on academic integrity. Student voices are essential to how we talk about academic integrity; they are often some of the most effective and can speak to their peers in a way that administration and faculty may not be able to.