September 2020

As we gear up to celebrate the 5th International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating, I thought it apt to share an incident that took place in my daughter’s old school with regards to her science project.

Oh yes, I am back with yet another hair-raising experience.

When my daughter was in Year 4 (she is in Year 7 now), we got a circular from school that they were going to introduce a “Science Fair” where students would get to “make” a project, bring it to school, display it and present it to judges. Being from a science background, we all got excited about this new adventure my daughter was going to join in.

After much brainstorming for a good two – three days, my daughter heard about all sorts of projects we did as kids in school and picked up on one that would be unique and something only she would be able to offer to the judges – testing a hypothesis on which kind of leaf helps increase growth of pet tortoises – Alfa Alfa or Lettuce. Now I know you are wondering why this would be so unique – because she would interview her grandfather, my father who is an Ornithologist and an avid conservationist and headed the Dubai Zoo for what was back then almost 30 years. You see, we grew up in the Dubai Zoo and had very different experiences as children than most, one of which was that most of our school projects revolved around animals. It seems the next generation was catching on too!

My daughter spent a week researching, interviewing my father, talking to the zookeepers in charge of the tortoise babies. In the process, she learned how to prepare the food, how to measure the food, how to measure the weight of the tortoises, how to record the weights and to graph them – the whole shebang! We could not have been prouder parents!

She went out looking for all the material she would need, bought the charts and boards with her pocket money, asked me to design the slides so she could then put the text and images in and then practiced her presentation. She was ready and excited.

As always was her practice by now, she aptly put down her name and then she added the “WiHF” – with help from and proceeded to add her grand father’s name, the two zookeepers and my name.

The much-awaited day of the competition arrived, and my daughter very proudly joined in, set up all her boards, displayed her tortoises, all the equipment she had used, and she was ready. We wished her luck and left. The fair was open only to the school students and staff.

Eagerly awaiting her reactions from her first science fair, both my husband and I went to pick her up that day from school. Lo and behold, her shoulders were drooping, eyes were downtrodden, my baby looked dejected! We were both surprised to see her like that because we know we hadn’t brought her up to be that upset if she didn’t win something – for us participation and giving your all has always been paramount importance.

After some prodding, my daughter told us she was being disqualified from the Science Fair. Were completely flabbergasted and honestly did not know how to react.

“Mom, the judges were shocked that I had help and said that was not allowed and so said they wouldn’t consider my project for the judging”, my daughter whimpered out, seemingly confused.

I saw red.

Yes, yes I did and I am not ashamed to admit it. The ignorance and unfairness of the action blew my mind.

The next day and for a few more days after, I was knocking on the class teacher’s door, the headmistresses’ door, the principal’s door… any door I could find.

My message was simple.

This was not about winning or losing. It was about integrity.

I finally got a chance to meet the judges, looked them in the eye and asked them to tell me if they honestly thought the kaleidoscope the size of a table or the planetary system the size of half a room was built by a child without any help. They couldn’t look me in the eye, and they couldn’t disagree.

“Why then would you penalize and punish a child who is being honest about the help she took and not claiming the work to be hers when it completely isn’t?”

Needless to say, I got a chance to give them not just a piece of my mind but a good share more on contract cheating and how they were breeding a culture of it right there in their school!

Having done all I could, I sat down with my daughter and explained to her that she had done nothing wrong. She was being honest, and she was building integrity as part of who she was and that was nothing to be ashamed of or to feel bad about. We got ice crème and hung out.

Soon after I had to leave for a conference (as it happens, my first attending an Academic Integrity one in Ephesus, Turkey – yes, it was the ENAI Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond conference). On the second day of the conference, my daughter sent me a very excited message – not only had the judges rescinded their decision to disqualify her, but she was also named a winner in her group!

This was cherry on top for sure. My daughter got to stand up in front of her class and explain why she wrote “WiHF”, what it meant and why it was so important to acknowledge when someone else did help with the project.

The next year on my daughter tried harder and harder to do her projects by herself, so she would be able to proudly put only her name on the projects.

This is still one family, one experience. But it is in no means an isolated incident. We need to have more dialogue on school curricula and assessment design, training school-teachers the right way so that they are able to instill the right values in the children from a young age. By the time students join university, students have probably had 12 academic years of taking credit for someone else’s work! When in university, it would then seem normal to reach out to a parent, a sibling, a roommate, or an essay mill to do the work and claim the credit, right?

Let’s break the chain. Let’s work together and bring focus back on schools and how we can ensure the entire academic system is helping students be better, socially responsible human beings.

Have you registered to participate in this years’ International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating? If not,

P/s: Rest assured I am happy to report I have changed my daughter’s school.

Cuando algo se comparte, se multiplica el resultado y cuando lo que se comparte es sobre integridad académica, ganamos todos como comunidad.

La Universidad de Monterrey tiene el compromiso de compartir prácticas y experiencias que reconozcan, vivan y promuevan los valores de la integridad académica entre profesores, estudiantes y colaboradores de las instituciones educativas.

Esto lo hace a través del Congreso de Integridad Académica. En esta ocasión, en su octava edición, es organizado en colaboración con otras universidades latinoamericanas de gran prestigio: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile,  Universidad EAFIT de Colombia,  Universidad Panamericana y  Tecnológico de Monterrey de México.

El programa de este año, incluye la participación de más de 30 conferencistas de gran trayectoria, entre los que destacan el Dr. Thomas Lancaster, del Imperial College del Reino Unido, quién compartirá los resultados de su investigación en torno a la compra-venta de trabajos; el Dr. Tomáš Foltýnek, de Mendel University in Brno y presidente de la European Netowork for Academic Integrity (ENAI), quien transmitirá su experiencia en la prevención y detección del plagio académico a través del uso de tecnología; y el Dr. David Rettinger de la University of Mary Washington y miembro emérito de la junta de gobierno del International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) quien mostrará los resultados de un diagnóstico sobre el estado de la integridad académica en las instituciones de educación superior norteamericanas utilizando el nuevo instrumento desarrollado por el ICAI.

La deshonestidad académica obstaculiza el aprendizaje de los estudiantes y este fenómeno debe enfrentarse como una oportunidad de reflexión y formación. Es preciso gestionar los reportes de deshonestidad académica de acuerdo con los reglamentos y políticas vigentes. El Dr. Paul Sopcak, de MacEwan University en Canadá y la Dra. Courtney Cullen, de University of Georgia en Estados Unidos, nos compartirán su historia de éxito aplicando un enfoque de “justicia restaurativa” para lograr una mayor efectividad en el proceso de gestión de faltas.

Lograr que los estudiantes obtengan un aprendizaje de calidad es el “compromiso de toda institución educativa”, y no hay forma de lograrlo sin la integridad académica.  Esto representa todo un reto, particularmente en el entorno actual que nos ha obligado a ofrecer nuestro servicio a la distancia y en la modalidad en línea. Sin duda alguna, podemos obtener grandes beneficios si unimos esfuerzos y compartimos buenas prácticas. La Dra. Amanda Mckenzie, de Waterloo University en Canadá y el Ing. José Antonio Herrera, rector de la Universidad Vasco de Quiroga y presidente de la Red Juntos por Michoacán, en México,nos darán un testimonio de ello.

Conoceremos más sobre estos y otros interesantes temas, en el 8° Congreso de Integridad Académica que se llevará a cabo los próximos 24 y 25 de septiembre de 2020 desde una plataforma virtual.

¡Los invitamos a que nos acompañen y juntos construyamos la excelencia en el aprendizaje y una cultura de integridad! Para obtener mayor información pueden consultar la siguiente liga: o contactarme directamente en el correo electrónico: . Si estás interesado, contamos con algunas becas disponibles.

Escrito por: Lic. Elmi Salazar Báez, Coordinadora de Proyectos de Integridad Académica del Centro de Integridad de la Universidad de Monterrey

Academic Libraries and their staff across campuses worldwide focus on supporting students in their learning journeys. Using information literacy tools, they contribute to students critical thinking skills and work with students to help them understand their role in contributing to the “scholarly conversation” in their disciplines.

The Association of College and Research Libraries Framework on Information Literacy highlights many areas in which students are developing their “knowledge practices” and “dispositions” as information literate individuals. Working within this framework librarians have an opportunity to speak to the students’ role in producing scholarship and their commitment to sourcing material that is based on truthful, authoritative knowledge that has been shared throughout a lifetime of scholarly exploration. Librarians are experts in situating academic integrity within this scholarly conversation.

At the University of Calgary we have a team of four librarians who work with the Academic Integrity Coordinator in the Student Success Centre to deliver programming year round.  This dynamic team works together to offer sessions to students interested in learning more about academic integrity as well as those who have academic misconduct violations. The benefits of engaging your librarians in this type of teaching are endless and go beyond the librarians understanding of plagiarism or citation. By taking time to explore how knowledge is constructed they provide examples as to why there is great importance placed on the ICAI fundamental values. Librarians bring their insights into how knowledge is constructed and why it is a priority to create knowledge that is honest, trustworthy and fair. By digging deep into topics such as the origins of the anti-vaccination movement and the role misinformation plays in pushing false research forward, students better understand the impact unethical research can have on themselves and the planet. They work with the librarians to see themselves as content creators actively contributing to the scholarly conversation and the impact they can have when they work with integrity.

Librarians are great at reaching out to your surrounding communities. At the University of Calgary our librarians work with local High Schools and are often requested to cover the topic of academic integrity during high school research sessions. By simply taking the time to explore the timeline around the development of insulin and diabetes research high school students can visually see why working with integrity matters. By looking at a 1922 reference list from a Frederick Banting and Charles Best article students can see a scholarly conversation starting and they can see the role an authoritative 1889 publication from Oskar Minkowski and Joseph Von Mering played in setting a foundation for the discovery of insulin. Discussion around “what if they didn’t work with integrity” happens and puts students critical thinking to the test. Tying in topics like fairness within areas like intellectual property and copyright and connecting those to examples from the music industry like the writing and publishing of Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” song really engages students in thinking about giving credit to others and their responsibilities around citation.

There are many ways librarians in your institutions can creatively embed academic integrity into teaching both within traditional information literacy classes as well as within a student services context. Engaging them as partners will enhance the understanding of academic integrity on your campus.

Banting, F. G., Best, C. H., Collip, J. B., Campbell, W. R., & Fletcher, A. A. (1922). Pancreatic extracts in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Canadian Medical Association Journal12(3), 141.

Locquaio, J & Ives, B. (in press). First-year university students’ knowledge of academic misconduct (AM) and the association between goals for attending university and receptiveness of intervention. International Journal for Educational Integrity.

BACKGROUND The scholarly literature on academic integrity at the post-secondary level reports that:

  •  AM has been associated with inaccurate assessments and degrees that do not reflect accomplishments (Bouville, 2010; Munoz-Garcia & Aviles-Herrera, 2014), workplace misconduct (Nonis & Swift, 2001; Sims, 2010), and damage to the reputations of institutions of higher education (Downes, 2017; Engler et al., 2008, Soutar & Turner, 2002).
  • 50-80% of students in countries around the world acknowledge engaging in some kind of academic misconduct, typically plagiarism and cheating (Brimble & Stevenson-Clarke, 2005; Ives & Giukin, 2019; McCabe et al., 2012.
  • Students often disagree with faculty and each other about what constitutes AM (Burrus et al., 2007; Carpenter et al., 2010; Keener et al., 2019).
  • Both the quality and quantity of research on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce AM is limited (Baird & Clare, 2017; Ives & Nehrkorn, 2019; L. L. Marshall & Vernon, 2017; Obeid & Hill, 2017).

METHODS For this study, 356 first-year college students at a top-tier research university completed a self-paced online training program on academic integrity (AI) expectations as part of their orientation as new students. The students responded to items about their:

  • Knowledge of citations/references and cheating.
  • Goal type (intrinsic, extrinsic, or both) for attending college.
  • Receptiveness towards AM intervention.

Responses to these three topics were coded using Quantitative Content Analysis (Quant-CA) as described by Neuendorf (2002). Using this approach, we applied a priori categories to each response based on what the item was asking. Then each response was identified as nonresponsive, basic, or advanced, depending on the number and types of codes applied to each response, using predetermined criteria.

FINDINGS The authors of this study found that:

  • Students typically had beginner knowledge of citations/references. For example, they could describe what a citation looked like, but not the purpose of citations.
  • Students typically described citations/references in terms of procedures, and cheating in terms of consequences.
  • A large majority of students reported extrinsic goals for attending college.
  • A large majority of students reported neutral or positive views about AI training.
  • There was no significant relationship between the type of goals students reported (extrinsic/intrinsic) and their views about the value of the AI training.

WHAT’S NEXT We have recently collected anonymous data from more than 2,000 students of the same university on their engagement with AM. Our plan is to continue to implement and update the module in an increasing proportion of incoming students. In a few years we will collect data on student engagement in AM again, along with whether or not they have completed the AI training program. This should allow us to estimate the effect, if any, of the AI training program.

**note: The AI training program was created within the WebCampus/Canvas learning management system. The authors are happy to share the most recent update of the program with others who would be interested in implementation, with the hope of collecting data from a wider range of students.


Baird, M., & Clare, J. (2017). Removing the opportunity for contract cheating in business capstones: A crime prevention case study. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 13(1), 6. doi:10.100740979-017-0018-1

Bouville, M. (2010). Why is cheating wrong? Studies in Philosophy and Education29(1), 67–76.

Brimble, M., & Stevenson-Clarke, P. (2005). Perceptions of the prevalence and seriousness of academic dishonesty in Australian universities. The Australian Educational Researcher, 32(3), 19-44.

Burrus, R. T., McGoldrick, K., & Schuhmann, P. W. (2007). Self-reports of student cheating: Does a definition of cheating matter? The Journal of Economic Education38(1), 3–16.

Carpenter, D. D., Harding, T. S., & Finelli, C. J. (2010). Using research to identify academic dishonesty deterrents among engineering undergraduates. International Journal Engineering Education, 26(5), 1156-1165.

Downes, M. (2017). University scandal, reputation and governance. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 13(1), 1-20.

Engler, J. N., Landau, J. D., & Epstein, M. (2008). Keeping up with the Joneses: Students’ perceptions of academically dishonest behavior. Teaching of Psychology, 35, 99-102.

Ives, B., & Giukin, L. (2020). Patterns and Predictors of Academic Dishonesty in Moldovan University Students. Journal of Academic Ethics 18 (1) 71-88. 10.1007/s10805-019-09347-z

Ives, B. & Nehrkorn, A. (2019). A Research Review: Post-Secondary Interventions to Improve Academic Integrity. In D. Velliaris (Ed.), Prevention and Detection of Academic Misconduct in Higher Education, Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Keener, T. A., Galvez Peralta, M., Smith, M., Swager, L., Ingles, J., Wen, S., & Barbier, M. (2019). Student and faculty perceptions: Appropriate consequences of lapses in academic integrity in health sciences education. BMC Medical Education19(1), 209.

Marshall, L. L., & Vernon, A. W. (2017). Attack on academic dishonesty: What ‘lies’ ahead? Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education, 13(2), 31–40.

McCabe, D. L., Treviño, L. K., & Butterfield, K. D. (2012). Cheating in college: Why students do it and what educators can do about it. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Munoz-Garcia, A., & Aviles-Herrera, M. J. (2014). Effects of academic dishonesty on dimensions of spiritual well-being and stasifaction: A comparative study of secondary school and university students. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(3), 349-363

Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Nonis, S., & Swift, C. O. (2001). An examination of the relationship between academic dishonesty and workplace dishonesty: A multicampus investigation. Journal of Education for Business, 77(2), 69-77.

Obeid, R., & Hill, D. B. (2017). An intervention designed to reduce plagiarism in a research methods classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 44(2), 155–159. doi:10.1177/0098628317692620

Sims, R. L. (1993). The relationship between academic dishonesty and unethical business practices. Journal of Education for Business68(4), 207–211.

Soutar, Geoffrey & Turner, Julia. (2002). Students’ preferences for university: A conjoint analysis. International Journal of Educational Management. 16. 40-45.

Thomas Lancaster’s new article, “Commercial contract cheating provision through micro-outsourcing websites,” was published on August 26 by the International Journal for Educational Integrity. This article reviews micro-outsourcing and it’s methodology allows for a comparative look at one particular company that provides contract cheating services over time. 

This article brings up several issues that may have been on the periphery of academic honesty as many institutions transition to online or distance learning. Immediate academic honesty issues have typically been centered on online proctoring services and plagiarism, but practitioners should be concerned about the anonymity provided by online learning and the potential pitfalls that would allow contract cheating services to flourish. 

A new survey released by Visual Objects shows that 52% of students now believe that cheating will increase, with 31% of students predicting no change in cheating with an increased online presence. This new data requires further analysis to see if there is a distinct change in cheating in online learning due to COVID-19, and what causal factors lead to these changes.

What if these changes are occurring because students registered for online courses are not the ones participating in an online course? How do educators and institutions effectively ensure that students are the ones logging in to the e-learning platforms? Sure, there are some expanded technology services that may search the metadata and keystrokes to determine authentic authorship, but how will these stack up to a student that outsources their entire course? Is it reasonable to expect faculty or staff to deep dive into IP addresses when a VPN may be used to circumvent investigations?

Students may be tempted to engage in contract cheating, especially if they are strapped for time, as relayed in this article from the South Florida Times. This issue needs to be addressed institutionally and by instructors. Comment below to show how you are addressing contract cheating at your institution.