October 2023

It was a great joy to co-host the International Day of Action for Academic Integrity #IDoA2023 on October 18 with Rachel Gorjup, University of Toronto Mississauga. This is the first year with the new positive and educational title of the event (from the previous title of ‘International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating’) which enabled us to broaden the scope and interest in the event. Our carefully framed theme for this year of ‘Championing academic integrity in the age of AI’ also kept our focus firmly on promoting academic integrity all day, while acknowledging the current challenges with Artificial Intelligence.

Panel perspectives

One of the key ways we aimed to champion academic integrity this year was through our five student panels across the day. It was really inspiring to listen to student perspectives, experiences, knowledge and insights from students in 11 countries (New Zealand, Australia, UK, Nigeria, UAE, Turkey, Czechia, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and Chile) who represented all levels of education from high school to undergraduate, Master’s and PhD. Our first student panel facilitated by Sheryll McIntosh from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, involved four PhD students discussing the burning questions surrounding use of AI in their studies such as short and long-term impacts, equity of access and accuracy of output. They shared their wisdom in debating where knowledge comes from, and thus the position of AI within knowledge which may be ‘inaccurate but convincing’. I was involved in the next panel with students from my university Oxford Brookes, UK, Claudia Gottwald and students from the University of Adelaide, Australia and Emilienne Akpan and students from the American University of Nigeria; we have all been collaborating for some months as an international network of student academic integrity champions. In this panel, the students debated whether AI can ethically be used to frame your thinking, the benefits of engaging with AI such as improving workflow and getting feedback or evaluation of a draft, the concerns about data privacy and the recommendation for the future introduction of custom AI tools within institutions. In the third panel which brought together members of the IDoA student planning group from Nigeria, Canada and Turkey co-hosted by IDoA co-chair Rachel Gorjup, Dr Jennie Miron from Humber College, Canada and myself, students discussed navigating social media responsibly and avoiding cheating traps. We discussed how custom writing companies may try to deceive and manipulate students into thinking they are providing legitimate help, or that students can gain positively from connecting with them. Students noted that they could be possible targets of these companies, needed to choose legitimate support from their institutions and realize that there is a difference between social media followers and people you really know, trust and are friends with. As Jennie asked: ‘Do you know anyone who has 1,000 friends?’
The following panel was led with great enthusiasm by Dr Zeenath Reza Khan from the University of Wollongong Dubai, with students from Dubai, Turkey and Czechia, including a remarkable range of high school, undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students debating the responsibilities around AI for students, faculty and institutions. Students demonstrated impressive awareness of AI issues and their own agency in approaches to AI. The final student panel was in Spanish (with translation available), led by Dr Lucila Puente from Tec de Monterrey with students from Mexico, Guatemala and Chile. In discussing two real-life scenarios, the students engaged energetically in the debate around ethical use of AI for studying and learning and presented practical ideas for their study and future work involving AI. This final student panel was particularly important in integrating a non-English medium session into the International Day of Action, giving voice and benefit to the highly motivated Latin American academic integrity community, and demonstrating the international reach of the day. This session gained the highest number of attendees over the day (189 participants), which shows the level of interest generated!

Dialogic discussions
In addition to the student panels, another popular and engaging session format was faculty dialogues. The first dialogue of the day came in the form of a ‘fireside chat’ between Dr Monica Ward and Eoin Crossen from Dublin City University, Ireland. Monica and Eoin discussed the benefits of interactive oral assessment as a positive response to concerns about unethical use of AI in assignments, particularly as a means of testing whether students ‘know their onions’! The next dialogue was between Dr Thomas Lancaster from Imperial College and Dr Irene Glendinning from Coventry University, long-standing contributors to this event whose conversations always offer very useful food for thought. Their lively discussion this time about academic integrity in 2023 included concerns about AI hallucinations, privacy and copyright, AI detection tools and the need to keep checking the accuracy of any AI generated output. The third conversation was between Dr Salim Razi and Burcu Özge Razi from Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey. Salim presented the anonymous multi-mediated writing model while Burcu discussed her MA research into a ‘wind of change’ model to approach AI positively and nurture academic development. The fourth conversation was between Emma Duke-Williams, University of Dundee and Dr Laura Lane, Brock University Canada who exchanged views about how academic integrity and AI are being currently handled in their institutions, concluding that academic integrity should not be taken over by AI. Their conversation provided a great example of the value of a comparative exchange between colleagues in different institutions and different countries. The last conversation between Dr Benjamin Liu, University of Auckland, New Zealand and Kim Pettigrew, University of New South Wales, Australia, moved to discuss the potential legal issues in use of AI by students. The main messages were to be more careful of AI platforms, look at privacy and copyright and recognize that ‘AI has unimaginable potential for all of us’.

Individual insights

That warning was also sounded in the first of the individual sessions of the day, by Prof Ann Rogerson from University of Wollongong, Australia. She argued that training for both staff and students to check terms and conditions with any technology is essential, yet tends to be forgotten. The next individual session was by Jamie Cawthra who presented the benefits of Menti discussions as an inclusive, accessible and flexible way to teach about academic integrity and appropriate use of AI, and engaged the audience very interactively through the Menti poll results. The third individual session was from Dr Liz Newton of London South Bank University, UK on staff collaboration to increase academic integrity and emphasized the sound advice to avoid ‘fishing trips for breaches’. The fourth individual session was delivered by Dr Brenda McDermott from University of Calgary, Canada in which she presented her innovative framework for evaluating different AI interfaces and highlighted that tools do not have responsibility, humans have the responsibility to judge and make decisions, so to use AI appropriately requires training humans and AI. She also introduced us to the collaborative practice of a ‘waterfall chat’ by asking a question where everyone enters their response at the same moment, creating a waterfall of answers. The fifth individual session was a very powerful talk by Dr Tricia Bertram Gallant, University of California San Diego calling on attendees to have the courage to change the way they teach, learn and assess in the era of AI, not just through incidental changes but significant transformation. The final individual session was given by Dr Jessica Kalra from the University of British Columbia, Canada who presented an engaging analogy of health care education in parallel to academic integrity education and the use of Universal Design for Learning to help build a positive and accessible culture of learning.

Round up

As co-hosts of a packed schedule across the day of nearly 15 hours, 18 sessions, 59 presenters in 15 countries of whom 32 were students, with 1,479 attendances across the day from 23 countries, Rachel and I finally wound up the day! We gave a summary of sessions and an important vote of thanks to all panelists, planning committee members, ICAI Board of Directors and the wonderfully engaged attendees. Recordings are now available via the IDoA website. We are already looking forward to next year! If you have suggestions, please get in touch .


Thank you for being a member of ICAI. Not a member of ICAI yet? Check out the benefits of membership at https://academicintegrity.org/about/member-benefits and consider joining us by contacting . Be part of something great. 

“And now, Margaret is here to talk about everyone’s favor topic, academic integrity.” This was the introduction I received at a recent meeting of senior administrators at my university.

There was nothing unusual in these words. Academic integrity is widely viewed by faculty, administrators, students and parents as a distasteful problem, something we would wish away if we could. I admit there are moments I wish this myself.

But after more than a decade overseeing academic integrity policy and case management in collaboration with wonderful colleagues, I have arrived at a more radical and more practical conclusion: The breakneck expansion of generative artificial intelligence offers a rare opportunity – and an ethical imperative - to radically transform the approach most American colleges and universities take to academic integrity.

This is not a one-size-fits all proposition. Rather, it is a call for institutions to evaluate the resources they devote to promoting academic integrity and whether they are using these resources as effectively as possible for what we at Syracuse University have dubbed Teaching and Learning in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Why would such a (re)evaluation be necessary?  What would it look like?

Let’s consider the experience of a typical first-year college student who arrived on campus last month. Many such students are taking at least one course that relies exclusively on a single textbook. Said text likely excludes references entirely (think calculus or chemistry) or buries them in final pages before the index (e.g. sociology or psychology). In many courses without textbooks, first-semester students encounter assignments focusing on individual reflection and expression through journal or personal essay writing (no references needed), and yet other courses in which assignments involve analysis of a prescribed set of assigned readings and so do not require citation. All this said, there is a good chance that this same student will be assigned at least one research paper in which in-text citation, paraphrasing, summarizing and a reference list are standard requirements. Their professor may explain that these requirements are expected in academic writing. The professor may devote class time to discussion of appropriate use of sources and even introduce students to a required citation format, such MLA or APA.

From the perspective of a faculty member steeped in teaching and perhaps actively engaged in research, this should suffice.

But a student – especially a first-year student – may be mystified, especially in the era of artificial intelligence (AI). Even before generative AI landed in our inboxes and search engines last winter, many students were confused by faculty members’ seeming obsession with citation. All too often, students interpreted training in citation styles as evidence that faculty cared about formatting and punctuation in citation rather than the basic principle of conveying to a reader (or viewer or listener) that you, the author (presenter or reader) have drawn upon another person or entity’s ideas or creative work and providing sufficient detail to identify and review this source.

With the arrival of AI, even experienced college students are genuinely puzzled by the widely varied AIAI expectations they encounter not only across different courses taught by different faculty but also across assignments and exams in the same course.

“Hello Professor,” a student wrote in a recent email communication about academic integrity. “In my writing class this semester we learned about how AI can be a helpful tool when writing such as to help outline your thoughts… I take academic integrity very seriously, and I was not aware this use of AI” was prohibited in your course.

“I’ve used Grammarly for years,” another student told me. “Suddenly, GrammarlyGO [a generative AI tool] showed up inside my Grammarly account. It kind of ambushed me.”  

This puzzlement isn’t surprising. It’s all but impossible these days to open a browser without encountering an AI product on offer or one that’s already built in. So it should not come as any surprise that ICAI members and institutions are grappling with how to respond.

More or better enforcement is not a promising approach. As Turnitin acknowledges on its website: “Our AI writing detection model may not always be accurate (it may misidentify both human and AI-generated text) so it should not be used as the sole basis for adverse actions against a student. It takes further scrutiny and human judgment in conjunction with an organization's application of its specific academic policies to determine whether any academic misconduct has occurred.”

The risk of false negatives and false positives raise concerns about fairness in enforcement of academic integrity policies. But ethical concerns over false positives are especially troubling because detection systems and individual faculty may be more likely to misidentify simple or unsophisticated English as AI generated, according to a published analysis by Stanford faculty and graduate students. That could put international students who are not native English speakers and native speakers who attended less well-resourced high schools, including many first generation, low-income and under-represented minority students, at greater risk of being falsely reported.

To be clear, I am not calling for an end to reporting suspected academic integrity violations. Rather, I believe it is time to evaluate what share of our institutional resources are devoted to enforcement and what share to education – and for institutions with limited resources to consider whether they it makes sense to shift more toward education.

We need to make a case to students for the value of our academic culture. This means explaining that academic research is distinctive in that it prizes tracing the origin of the ideas that made new research possible almost as much as the new research findings themselves. This emphasis on past research and on potential future research made iPhones and COVID-19 vaccines available, as well as countless humanistic and social science discoveries. This focus on the research arc is what sets academic writing apart from news articles, social media, essays, inter-office memos, and blogs like this one, even though all these forms of writing are widespread in higher education, including among the reading and writing assignments college students encounter daily.

Suspected academic integrity violations hold up a mirror to what can be a cavernous gap between student and faculty understanding of academic expectations. The good news is that we already have the tool we need to explain these expectations to students: course-, assignment-, and exam- specific learning objectives. Academic expectations vary across courses and sometimes across assignments and exams within the same course because the learning objectives for those courses and assessments differ. Professor Z requires her students to use an AI tool to draft their first essay because the learning objective of this assignment entails evaluating bias in AI-generated writing. She prohibits her students from using AI tools to craft their second essay because it is designed to help students develop their voice as authors.

At Syracuse, our student academic support center and faculty center for teaching and learning began collaborating last spring to encourage faculty to clearly explain the nature and rationale of their academic integrity expectations to students and to encourage students to ask questions when expectations are unclear to them. This effort includes broadened syllabus language conveying students’ responsibility for inquiring about the permissibility of using AI tools and text and video advice to support faculty in considering when and how to incorporate, limit or prohibit use of AI tools in alignment with their course learning objectives. We have established a related faculty working group and are partnering with stakeholders across campus this academic year as we continue evaluating how we can best use our resources to support teaching and learning in the age of artificial intelligence.

References:

Liang, W., Yuksekgonul, M., Mao, Y., Wu, E., & Zou, J. (2023). GPT detectors are biased against non-native English writers. arXiv preprint arXiv:2304.02819.


Thank you for being a member of ICAI. Not a member of ICAI yet? Check out the benefits of membership at https://academicintegrity.org/about/member-benefits and consider joining us by contacting . Be part of something great.

The final pillar for Giving Voice to Values (Gentile, 2012) is reasons and rationalizations. In academic integrity work, student rationalizations for academic misconduct are dominant in the decision-making process when students cheat (Stephens, 2017).  In general, people want to be “good” and will always rationalize their behavior by disengaging morally to avoid cognitive dissonance. If educators expect students to stand up for academic integrity, for example through a requirement that they report their peers for academic misconduct in an honor code, then they should train those students to identify and recognize when those rationalizations occur. Gentile (2012) argues that recognizing and naming the unethical argument reduces its power. At this point it is no longer an assumption; thus, students can choose to act against that assumption.

Some common arguments provided by Gentile (2012) include expected or standard practice, materiality, locus of loyalty, and locus of responsibility. Observe the standard practices of your own courses and your expectations for student work. Require citations, even for small assignments or when quoting from the textbook. The example you set normalizes student behaviors, making it abnormal to write anything without citations. Ask students to stand up for your class when they are doing assignments and give them a script. For example, in a computer science class you may be allowed to discuss a topic without sharing code. Give them an example of what is and is not permissible on that assignment. When a classmate asks for help, the student in question will then possess the language to help appropriately and to say no if their peer pressures them to give more help than is allowed.

For materiality, students are often forced in GPA dependency. Students must maintain a certain GPA to remain enrolled in school, receive certain financial aid (e.g., the HOPE Scholarship in Georgia), or maintain other statuses (e.g., Honors students). Students may hear their peers say, “If I do not receive a high grade on this assignment, I will not pass this class. Then I will have to drop out of school.” Most people have some form of empathy and compassion that might compel them to stay quiet when they see misconduct in this instance. Help your students flip this script. Have them question peers about whether one bad grade will realistically damage their academic careers, or if they are just stressed. Give students a list of resources to help their friends if they are on the brink of losing a scholarship instead of cheating.

This may all be born out of some sense, or locus, of loyalty. When students feel they owe their loyalty to their peers, they are not likely to speak up in support of academic integrity. In your class, help students be loyal to the knowledge they can gain when they apply themselves. Help them develop loyalty to the skills they will develop across the institution that will help them reach their dreams. Cultivate loyalty to the field of study and what it means to be a practitioner in that field. If you can build that loyalty, you help students overcome their excuses for not calling out a fellow student for academic misconduct.

Finally, there is the locus of responsibility. Students may see academic misconduct and trust that the instructor will catch it. Why should they intervene when it is not their job? It is vital that you help them understand that they are part of the campus culture. When they do not stand up for academic integrity, they associate themselves with a culture of cheating. They need the language to explain to classmates that they value the degrees they will earn. If they are getting the degrees without earning them, it will impact long-term employability. It is their job to push back against their peers in this instance, just as it is your responsibility to report academic misconduct according to your institution’s policy.

After four weeks and seven pillars, I hope you feel empowered to give your students the courage and opportunities to champion academic integrity. Like Giving Voice to Values, the final pillar of academic integrity is courage. Courage is triggered by different things for different people. Your students may show courage in voicing their values because the alternative is unbearable, because they have hope, or simply because they find academic integrity a service worth championing. Whatever this may be, you can help them get there.

How are you giving students opportunities to champion academic integrity? Share by commenting below or by posting on social media.

Resources:

Gentile, M. C. (2012). Giving voice to values: How to speak your mind when you know what’s right. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Stephens, J. M. (2017). How to cheat and not feel guilty: Cognitive dissonance and its amelioration in the domain of academic dishonesty. Theory Into Practice56(2), pp. 111-120. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2017.1283571 


Thank you for being a member of ICAI. Not a member of ICAI yet? Check out the benefits of membership at https://academicintegrity.org/about/member-benefits and consider joining us by contacting . Be part of something great.

This week, I am exploring the next two pillars of Gentile’s (2012) Giving Voice to Values: self-knowledge and voice. When people possess a more intimate knowledge of themselves, they can better uphold their desired self-image. This can help people focus on aligning their values with how they view themselves, making them more likely to speak and act on those values. Self-knowledge also provides an insight into people’s “voice” or their approach to standing up for personal values. It can put people in touch with the appropriate framework.

Borrowing from Dees & Crampton (1991)’s framework, we can understand idealists as those who act on their values no matter the cost, opportunists as those who focus on material well-being over values, and pragmatists as those who balance material welfare with values. Gentile argues that people need to view voicing vales as the pragmatic choice, and to do this we need “…to create our own narrative about who we are and how being this particular person enables us to act on our values, as well as what particular risks we face due to this identity” (Gentile, 2012, p. 113). Gentile provides self-assessment questions to begin this reflection process.

I use a free personality test to encourage students to think about how they build their identities. Then, we discuss their results. We review strengths, tying them in to serving as an Academic Honesty Panelist or a Peer Educator. Then we consider how these strengths will serve them as an ethical leader in future careers. We also review their weaknesses, discussing how they can be transformed into skills or how we can compensate for them in our decision making. We tie values to personality, navigating surprises and practicing standing up for ethical behavior.

 I have found that this is time well spent for students, as they reframe the idea of “‘voice’ as ‘dialogue,’ which includes a goodly dollop of ‘listening’…[because] by listening we sometimes identify the most effective ways to influence our audience” (Gentile, 2012, p. 138). By playing to their strengths, students can evaluate situations and consider how to best approach voicing their values.

Helping students find their voice with academic integrity requires a multifaceted approach. Students can watch mentors voice their opinions, so I would encourage you to watch what older students are doing and saying about academic integrity. Students are often intimidated by faculty and staff, but they listen to peers who have lived similar experiences.

Gentile (2012) recommends that readers view opinions and preferences from supervisors not as orders, but as suggestions. There are pedagogical techniques that can help you build this into your assessments. Plus, they follow suggestions from Lang (2013) and others for providing students autonomy and agency in their assessments, both of which promote academic integrity.

Students can also learn how to voice their values in both form and substance. While substance matters – we certainly want students to be versed in academic integrity – form can have the greatest impact. If a student is a charismatic leader, they may sway a group to turn in honest work or stop the class GroupMe from running wild. But not every student is comfortable putting their name on the line in front of others. We can help those students navigate through questioning and finding a one-on-one environment with lower stakes.

By any means, we must provide opportunities for students to do the right thing; it is increasingly important that they stand up for academic integrity on our campuses. Help them get involved and develop a strong support network with the International Day of Action for Academic Integrity on October 18!

Tell us how you are getting students involved with voicing their values by commenting below or finding us on social media!

Resources:

Dees, G. & Crampton, P. (1991). Shrewd bargaining on the moral frontier: Toward a theory of morality in practice. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1(2), pp. 135– 167. https://doi.org/10.2307/3857260

Gentile, M. C. (2012). Giving voice to values: How to speak your mind when you know what’s right. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Thank you for being a member of ICAI. Not a member of ICAI yet? Check out the benefits of membership at https://academicintegrity.org/about/member-benefits and consider joining us by contacting . Be part of something great.