Should we offer 24/7 service to our students?

Topics: Blog, Editorial

This is a different kind of post.

First, I want to announce that I have a new editorial team for the Integrity Matters! Blog. Joining me are Courtney Cullen (University of Georgia), Brenda Quaye (Miami University of Ohio), and Ceceilia Parnther (St. John’s University). We’ve been discussing changes to the blog which we plan to roll out in August, so stay tuned for that.

Second, aligned with some of the changes we’ve been discussing, I want to try an experiment. So, for this post, I’ve enabled the comments section to see if we can start some interesting, respectful, honest, responsible, fair and trustworthy conversations in response to blog postings. I want to see if we get too many trolls or if our readers and members would find value in a forum for high level discussions.

So, here it goes. I’m going to start this experiment with a simple premise and question:

Let us assume, for argument sake, that one reason some of our students go to online contract cheating providers, editing services, tutoring services, and file sharing sites is because they are not getting what they need from us, when they need it. Our students live in a 24/7 world, but colleges and universities still operate (predominantly) on a Monday-Friday, 8-5 schedule. So, if a student is working on their assignment at midnight and they have a legitimate need for help, to whom can they turn? If they are finishing their paper at 3 am, is an on-campus writing tutor available for help?

The answer is likely no. So, here’s the question for discussion:

Instead of making our students work around our schedules and/or guess which online companies are legitimate/integrous and which ones are not, should we be offering 24/7 academic help services? For example, we could contract with a third-party provider or we could band together and create our own global organization so that writing tutors in London at 8 am, for example, could be helping students in San Diego at midnight. The issue, of course, is ensuring that we are providing quality support to our students with integrity; in other words, our tutors and academic support staff would need to be trained to help, not cheat. Many of our libraries figured this out a while ago when they created WorldCat Library – not only can you search libraries from around the world, but you can ask a librarian for help and someone is always available.

What do you think? Could this idea  prevent cheating while providing our students with more supportive learning environments? Or, would we just be catering to students’ procrastinating tendencies when we should be teaching them to be more responsible, to manage their time, and develop the strategies for working within professional standards and structures with integrity?

Post your thoughts below and let the discussion begin!

 

About the Author
Tricia Bertram Gallant, Ph.D. is the author of Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century: A Teaching and Learning Imperative (Jossey-Bass, 2008), co-author of Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), editor of Creating the Ethical Academy: A Systems Approach to Understanding Misconduct & Empowering Change in Higher Education (Routledge, 2011), and section editor for the Handbook of Academic Integrity (Springer, 2016). She is the Director of the UC San Diego Academic Integrity Office and Board Member of the International Center for Academic Integrity, and has been an ethics lecturer with the Rady School of Management. When Tricia blogs, the content is hers and should not be attributed to her employer or ICAI.
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