Helping students understand academic integrity (AI) and how it applies to them is a difficult task. How do you engage students to learn about a topic they either think they know or one that they think doesn’t apply to them (i.e., they’ll never break the rules or cheat)?

Traditional methods such as lectures and notations on course outlines are not very effective. Students need to engage with academic integrity and so educators must go where the students are - which is online!

Mobile applications (Apps) are an ideal way to immerse students in a topic. Apps are easily accessible to every student with a mobile phone or tablet, which allows for learning at anytime and anywhere.  

A research team at the University of Waterloo, developed a mobile application (App) based on the six fundamental values of academic integrity from the International Center for Academic Integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage.

The App features six modules, one for each value. Each module has two value-based scenarios that a student must think through and respond to questions. The scenarios are scaffolded so they build upon information provided in the first scenario. The scenarios were developed with input from faculty, students and staff, and are based on realistic responses from a student perspective.

Emphasis is placed on the importance of each value and how it applies in various life situations. This approach to promoting AI is unique and does not rely on definitions associated with academic misconduct like plagiarism or unauthorized collaboration. If students can follow the six values – they will uphold academic integrity.

Content in the App is geared toward higher education, but does not mention universities or colleges, and it is not branded in any way. Thus, any college or university could use this App with their students. The scenarios also include responses that point to generic services that are available at most educational institutions such as the library, writing center or counselling services.

The content of the App is open access under a Creative Commons license, and is available for other educational institutions to brand and customize to their unique needs and/or audience. Given that the ICAI values are internationally recognized, this App could be used anywhere in the world. It is currently available in three languages: English, basic Chinese and French, and there is interest in developing it in other languages such as Spanish and Punjabi.

To date the research team has tested the App with over 700 students at the University of Waterloo. Preliminary findings show that the modules significantly enhanced students’ knowledge of academic integrity. Further research testing of the App is in progress.

To learn more visit:

YouTube:  (Purpose of the app) (Demonstration of the app)

Apple App store download:

Google Play store download: