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.

The Assiniboine Learning Commons and Academic Integrity Advisory Committee are excited to present a week of professional development opportunities. The sessions are designed to cover the four recommendations made by the Quality Assurance Agency (2020) and others in regards to academic integrity: education about academic integrity, prevention and reduction of academic misconduct, identification of academic misconduct, and administration of related policies and procedures. The sessions align with the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating, the Manitoba Academic Integrity Network Speaker Series, as well as the declarations of many provincial organizations that October 18-22 is Academic Integrity Week in Canada.

On October 18th, Library Technician/Academic Integrity & Copyright Officer Jessi Robinson will show how and why the student stakeholder group at a Canadian college receives proactive, positive, and supportive education related to academic integrity. Continual reinforcement throughout the student’s program by other college stakeholders in the context of future workplaces can help make improvements to student well-being.

October 19th sees a virtual workshop designed to compare the limitations and benefits of five different approaches to academic assessment security: lockdown browsers, text-matching software, assessment design, e-proctoring, and IP address analysis. Facilitated by Josh Seeland, Manager of Library Services, this workshop will guide participants’ learning around some important research and evidence on assessment security and academic integrity in general (Bertram Gallant, 2008; Bertram Gallant, 2016; Dawson, 2021; Mellar et al., 2018).

The focus moves to the identification of contract cheating on October 20th, with a session by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton. Here, participants will learn how to conduct a discovery interview in order to identify and address potential contract cheating in a non-confrontational way. Having multiple stakeholders who are able to use this method helps to not only identify this complex type of academic misconduct, but builds distributed leadership in academic institutions. This session is also a part of the Manitoba Academic Integrity Network’s Speaker Series for 2021/22, and takes place on the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating.

Educational Quality Assurance Specialist Caitlin Munn will present the session for October 21st – one which focuses on taking a proactive, educative, and supportive approach to text-matching software. Using this and other technologies in a negative, punitive, or reactive way can cause more problems than they solve for not only educators, but their students. This session will prepare participants to implement text-matching software in an effective and educative manner.

In the final session of the series on October 22nd, the focus will be on the administration of policies and procedures. In Eaton (2021), the issue of options such as restorative practice being used in academic misconduct cases is raised, with a prediction that it may be initiated by senior leaders whose portfolios include the promotion of socially just practices. This will be the focus of Sheryl Prouse, Director of the Learning Commons and Senior Advisor for Student Affairs. In this virtual workshop, participants will use the principles of administrative justice and academic integrity to highlight research informed practices, and examine policy using these two lenses.

Details on the series of sessions, with registration links open to anybody working at a higher education institution, can be found at: https://assiniboine.libguides.com/ai-pd


Bertram Gallant, T. (2008). Academic integrity in the 21st century: a teaching and learning imperative. Jossey-Bass 

Bertram Gallant, T. (2016). Leveraging institutional integrity for the betterment of education. In Bretag, T. (Ed.). Handbook of academic integrity. Springer.

Eaton, S.E. (2021). Plagiarism in higher education. Libraries Unlimited.

Mellar, H., Peytcheva-Forsyth, R., Kocdar, S., Karadeniz, A., & Yovkova, B. (2018). Addressing cheating in e-assessment using student authentication and authorship checking systems: teachers’ perspectives, International Journal for Educational Integrity, 14(2), 1-21.

Quality Assurance Agency. (2020). Contracting to cheat in higher education: how to address essay mills and contract cheating. https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/guidance/contracting-to-cheat-in-higher-education-2nd-edition.pdf

In an article about academic integrity workshops designed for those working in Australian higher education, Curtis et al. (2021) provide an inspirational blueprint for an international audience. In the article, they specify that academic integrity workshops would be most appropriately facilitated by “educators who have been immersed in the subject for many years, both practically and theoretically, and those who have themselves actively researched the topic” (p.11). In doing so, these workshops would help participants create “shared understandings and devise solutions”, an opportunity to “share and discuss key concerns”, and a platform to “relieve anxieties about their inability to ‘fix’ the problem” (p.4). Finally, the authors present research showing how workshops which are part of a larger, themed set of “academic development opportunities” (p.4) are more successful.

In Canada, and within Manitoba specifically, there are a number of people who have been working in academic integrity both practically and theoretically for many years. Several help to form the executive of the Manitoba Academic Integrity Network, or MAIN, “an organization that serves to bring together educators and students from post-secondary institutions across Manitoba to support academic integrity initiatives” (Manitoba Academic Integrity Network, 2021).

Drawing on the concept of Curtis et al. (2021), MAIN is offering a series of six professional development sessions related to academic integrity throughout the 2021/22 academic year. Facilitators for the series work at western Canadian universities and colleges, and include educators and practitioners, administrators and authors, researchers and managers. Those who attend all six sessions will receive a pdf certificate of completion via email.

Details on the MAIN Speaker Series, with registration links open to anybody working at a higher education institution, can be found at: https://assiniboine.libguides.com/main-series


Curtis, G.J., Slade, C., Bretag, T, & McNeill, M. (2021). Developing and evaluating nationwide expert-delivered academic integrity workshops for the higher education sector in Australia. Higher Education Research & Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2021.1872057

Manitoba Academic Integrity Network. (2021). https://mbacademicintegrit.wixsite.com/main

The challenges of education today are presented with greater frequency and complexity, and when we talk about academic integrity, it is no exception. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all online educational processes were accelerated, something we previously thought would take a lot longer to implement. And when we were convinced that we were on a good path towards building a culture of academic integrity in the classrooms, establishing regulations and policies, promoting assessment and learning strategies, our students discovered new ways to find “shortcuts” to carry out their activities and tests.

It is no secret how hard teachers and educational institutions have worked to find new ways to promote academic integrity and discourage dishonesty. Unfortunately, we have seen increased academic misconduct when we switched to online classes.

It is important to remember that the primary goal for students is to learn and do not sabotage this learning by cheating or the easy way. For this reason, everyone involved in education should share experiences and strategies that help to promote a culture of academic integrity, and a good way to do this is by participating in conferences and events to learn more about this topic.

This year, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) will hold the ninth edition of the Academic Integrity Congress, which has been titled "Integrity: a constant challenge." This event will be held on October 7th and 8th in a 100% virtual format.

With the effort and support of the sponsors, it has been possible for this edition to be free of charge, with the only objective of reaching more teachers, students and administrators of the educational institutions for secondary and higher education.

The congress will have a large program with expert speakers in academic integrity from different universities around the world, as well as members of the International Center for Academic Integrity and the European Network for Academic Integrity.

To name a few, we will be joined by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, from University of Calgary in Canadá, Dr. Rubén Comas-Forgas from Universidad de las Islas Baleares in Spain, Dr. Zeenath Khan from the University of Wollongong in Dubai, Dr. Camilla Roberts, from Kansas State University in United States, among others.

With a capacity for a limited number of participants, this year edition is expected to receive about 3000 attendees, sure that each of them will receive valuable information and innovative strategies to implement in their institutions to continue fostering academic integrity.

We will be delighted to have you join us. Here is the link for you to learn more and register:

https://www.udem.edu.mx/es/institucional/eventos/9deg-congreso-de-integridad-academica          or Click Here and use the translator in the upper right hand corner.

If you've been on Twitter over the last few days, you may have seen the news about researchers and their unethical conduct. Here are some examples:

In a tongue-in-cheek piece of irony, dishonesty researcher Dan Ariely has been accused of lying in his research into the positive influence of honor statements at the start of insurance forms. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, "...the numbers in the study in question appear to have been fabricated." Dr. Ariely's response - that he does not remember how the data was collected and that he failed to test for irregularities - seems woefully inadequate. As The Chronicle points out, it is unlikely the data fabrication would likely have remained undiscovered if there had not been an attempt to replicate the study. Even if there was no malicious intent behind the fabrication, if there were just data irregularities and poor research design, the reputational ramifications for academic conduct experts globally are significant.

Similarly, SAGE recently retracted more than 30 articles, according to Retraction Watch. These articles were retracted for both "suspected data manipulation"  and for showing evidence of being written by paper mills. Contract cheating seems to have become fully enmeshed in research. It is a threat not just to students, but also to faculty and researchers publishing in large journals. It is a measure of the publisher's commitment to integrity that a full investigation has been implemented and retractions are occurring. SAGE told Retraction Watch that it has developed internal guidelines to curb the publication of any paper mill researcher. Could similar guidelines help faculty as they review their student paper submissions?

If you find yourself wondering why are you reading about academic misconduct by researchers rather than by students, it is because this sets the stage for future practice. Do we tell students that research and academic misconduct is wrong, knowing that the field has problems publishing authentic and accurate research? How do we maintain public trust as experts in our respective fields given that we cannot trust peers to follow ethical practice? The point is - simply put - that ethics do matter. Your academic and research conduct sets the standards in your respective fields and for public trust.

How are you maintaining positive academic and research conduct in your careers? Tweet @TweetCAI to share.

In the summer of 2020-21 two undergraduate students examined the publicly available web content of five commonly used ‘Buy, sell, trade’ file-sharing websites as part of a supervised short-term research project. This research aimed to improve understanding of the characteristic features of such file-sharing services which in turn can create potential ethical challenges for students and have implications for higher education institutions.

UQ Research Intro 

Research Approach

To find the most popular file-sharing services used by students, the principal supervisor (CS) asked members of the Australian National Academic Integrity Network listserv, about the most commonly used file-sharing sites by students at their institution. Representatives from twenty universities provided 66 responses, and five sites stood out clearly (Course Hero (n=16); Chegg (n=13); Studocu (n=13); StudentVIP (n=5); and Thinkswap (n=3). The team adapted a data analysis framework by Kim and Fesenmaier (2008) that used a user ‘first-view lens’ and included the following:

  • A brief description of each website.
  • An initial site-user experience map (built without subscribing to the website services).
  • Distinguishing features of each website.

We also completed a comparative analysis of the free, transactional, or paid services offered on each site and also the persuasive marketing techniques used by the websites. The complete dataset is available at DATASET: Characteristic features of ‘buy, sell or trade’ file-sharing websites - Student as Partners Summer Research Project 2020-2021 - UQ eSpace

Example of Results

Course Hero is a subscription-based online service for students and educators.

Site-user experience

Figure 1 shows what users encounter and the services they can use without signing up or logging in. Course Hero focuses on offering study materials for students (e.g. lecture notes, student notes, assignments with answers, past exams with solutions, and sample exams with solutions) as well as teaching material for educators.

  UQ Course Hero                     Figure 1. Website map of Course Hero (https://www.coursehero.com/)

High-value study materials, such as answers, solutions, and universities' logos are blurred out in preview mode. To fully access these study materials, users can subscribe or earn credits through document uploads.

A premium subscription unlocks 30 documents per month. Textbook solutions and explanations are provided on a subscription basis. Course Hero subscription also provides ‘24/7 homework help’ where students' posted questions as answered anytime with detailed explanations. Interestingly, a verified educator can have free access to relevant course content.

For those who do not want to spend money, Course Hero provides an option to receive credits that can be used to unlock documents. Credits are earned by uploading files, reviewing contents, and referring friends. Course Hero claims to have no tolerance for, or allowance of, academic misconduct. Students' testimonials are shown on its homepage. Student users can cancel their subscription at any time.

Distinguishing Features

Course Hero offers the ‘Best Grade Guarantee’ that promises a full refund of the premium membership to the student whose grade point average (GPA) does not improve while using the site. Course Hero also provides teaching materials for educators and holds an annual education summit offline to bring educators together to share practice.

Conclusions from the study

While file-sharing sites portray themselves as builders of community, they are businesses that profit from the upload of student-generated and university-owned materials. Students who are willing to pay for access or upload large amounts of material, are more able to access help from the sites. This is inequitable and, depending on the user’s behaviour, may also be in breach of academic conduct expectations.

Though file-sharing been available for a long time, the Covid-19-driven movement from in-person to online, asynchronous assessment has magnified concerns around this practice. Now, most students have the internet to support them when they demonstrate mastery of assessment items, and any extended assessment timeframes given for student equity e.g.  students now situated globally,  allow information-seeking behaviours, such as finding high-quality answers to assessment questions online.

The five sites reviewed in our study all encourage students to share materials and be paid or credited with download capacity in return. Colleagues at other universities report that these sites are used regularly, and that they are concerned about the ways students are behaving. The data presented here should alert more universities to the kinds of things students can access on these sites, the persuasive tactics the sites use, and the sites’ potential to facilitate inappropriate and illegal activity. How do we determine when, or if, a student intends to use shared resources and sharing sites inappropriately? At what point do universities prosecute file-sharing sites and the student users for their activities? These questions are likely to become more pressing as time goes on; the data presented here may help universities consider what to do.

Research Team

  • Dr Christine Slade, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education in the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Dr Wuri Prasetyawati, Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Indonesia.
  • Louella Mae Abando and Jingyuan Feng, undergraduate students, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Professor Susan Rowland, Deputy Associate Dean Academic (Future Students and Employability), Faculty of Science, University of Queensland, Australia.


Kim, H., & Fesenmaier, D.R. (2008). Persuasive Design of Destination Web Sites: An Analysis of First Impression. Journal of Travel Research 47(1), 3-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287507312405.

How much cheating is happening at our institutions? Is it increasing as a result of recent changes to online learning? Are students changing the ways that they break the rules? What changes will be most effective in improving academic integrity? ICAI members understand the importance of having data that addresses these questions.

A team of researchers affiliated with ICAI has created a survey of students’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding academic integrity. Building on research by ICAI founder Don McCabe, the new survey includes questions about students' cheating behaviors, the morality of cheating, their understanding of their peers’ attitudes, and perceptions about their institution’s responses to cheating. There will be a special focus on contract cheating and online learning.

The research team, led by ICAI President Emeritus David Rettinger has pretested, revised, and validated the new survey using participants from across the US and Canada. The project has two fundamental goals: first, to provide scholars with valid and reliable measures of important variables related to cheating. To help achieve that goal, a peer-reviewed validation study will be submitted for publication shortly. This manuscript will contain the entire survey, so that scholars may have access to it.

The second goal of this project is to provide institutions with actionable data to enact meaningful change. To achieve this goal, ICAI will provide custom reports to all institutions that participate and once the dataset is sufficiently large each school will receive a benchmarking report allowing for comparisons to other institutions.

Beyond simply taking the temperature of cheating at college, the research will provide schools with institution-specific results. Those results will immediately allow schools to benchmark themselves against national and international trends. In the long term, institutions will have a baseline for future comparisons and data crucial to formulating and measuring changes to policies, procedures, and outreach activities. 

Participation is free to ICAI member institutions. Non-member institutions can participate in the U.S./Canada benchmarking study at no cost by joining ICAI. Fee waivers are available to institutions in need. To learn more about the survey, the partner manual is available online here. If your institution might like to participate, contact to learn more.  If you are ready to sign your school up, complete the partner portal, which asks about your institution’s survey needs.

Individual members are needed, too. If you would like to help design the final reports, recruit new schools to participate, serve as a consultant to schools as they make data-driven changes, help build a contact list of academic integrity professionals, or get involved otherwise, let us know at

En muchas universidades ha comenzado un nuevo semestre, otro más en pandemia, pero diferente, pues ahora se han abierto esquemas híbridos y presenciales para el desarrollo de las clases. Esto, sin duda alguna, es motivante tanto para estudiantes como para profesores que buscan alcanzar el máximo aprovechamiento académico, y para lograrlo, la integridad académica juega un papel esencial.

Por esta razón, es importante que desde el primer día de clases se hable de este tema, no solo de las reglas, sino también de los beneficios de actuar con integridad. Recordar a los estudiantes por qué es fundamental cumplir con las actividades de manera ética y responsable, lo valioso que es crear lazos de confianza con sus profesores y compañeros; así como contribuir a su comunidad universitaria y a la sociedad en general, promoviendo la honestidad. Pero de poco sirve mencionar a los estudiantes estas acciones, si los profesores no predican con el ejemplo. Así que, a continuación, comparto algunas recomendaciones para promover la integridad académica desde el rol como profesor:

  1. Esforzarse por vivir la integridad. Vivir con integridad es un esfuerzo constante por buscar una mejora personal y esto se puede manifestar en la labor docente con detalles concretos como la puntualidad, la responsabilidad, el entusiasmo y esmero para preparar las clases, la justicia para evaluar tareas, exámenes y proyectos, etc. Es importante que los estudiantes perciban que la integridad no es algo que solo se les exige a ellos, sino también a sus profesores. Este punto puede resumirse en la famosa frase “Las palabras convencen, pero el ejemplo arrastra”
  2. Fomentar el gusto por aprender. Es importante despertar en los estudiantes el gusto por aprender, desarrollarles distintas habilidades y ayudarlos a encontrar sentido a la clase relacionándola con su futuro profesional. Para ello, se recomienda utilizar técnicas pedagógicas y didácticas más efectivas, así como actividades interesantes, significativas y retadoras.
  3. Inspirar confianza. Generar un ambiente de confianza puede evitar muchos casos de deshonestidad académica. Hay que escuchar a los estudiantes y tener las puertas abiertas para que se acerquen a consultar dudas de la clase y apoyarlos en su aprendizaje.
  4. Reiterar el compromiso con la integridad. Conocer y cumplir con la normativa (código de honor, reglamento de conducta, valores y filosofía de la institución, etc.) es compromiso de todos, desde el guardia de seguridad hasta el rector de la universidad.
  5. Capacitarse y actualizarse. Nunca se deja de aprender, y los profesores, siempre tienen que estar a la vanguardia, no solo en la materia que imparten sino también con las distintas técnicas y recursos que van surgiendo. Especialmente con la pandemia de Covid-19, la educación revolucionó y constantemente están surgiendo nuevas herramientas y plataformas educativas que se pueden aprovechar.
  6. Sumarse a las campañas institucionales. Las campañas y eventos, además de promover un tema en específico, fortalecen la pertenencia, crean comunidad y transmiten los valores de la institución.
  7. Hacer corresponsables a los estudiantes. Los estudiantes son protagonistas del cambio cultural y para ello, hay que motivarlos a levantar la voz para denunciar lo que no es correcto y juntos trabajar por una comunidad más íntegra.
  8. Aclarar expectativas y consecuencias. Desde el primer día de clases hay que aclarar las “reglas del juego”, qué se espera de los estudiantes, del profesor y de la clase. Se debe explicar cómo se va a trabajar durante el semestre y puntualizar todos los detalles en el programa de estudios.
  9. Recomendar talleres para el desarrollo de habilidades. Es importante promover con los estudiantes los distintos recursos con los que cuenta la universidad como talleres, consejerías y tutorías para apoyarlos en su aprendizaje.
  10. Usar instrumentos de evaluación adecuados. Una acertada evaluación es uno de los factores más relevantes para promover la integridad académica, por lo que se debe contar con un portafolio diverso y robusto para evaluar, bancos de reactivos bien diseñados, distintos tipos de exámenes y actualizarlos cada semestre.
  11. Evitarles ocasiones de equivocarse. La aplicación de protocolos de exámenes, así como el uso de software para la detección de plagio, gestores de referencia y otras herramientas tecnológicas ayudarán a dificultar el intento de trampa.
  12. Reconocer los comportamientos honestos. Destacar lo positivo siempre tendrá mejores efectos que resaltar lo negativo, por lo que es valioso reconocer a los estudiantes que actúan con integridad y así, motivar a los demás a que sigan el mismo camino.
  13. Aplicar consecuencias y reportar faltas. Reportar las faltas de deshonestidad y seguir los procedimientos que la universidad indica para ello, es parte de ser ejemplo y promover la integridad, además de buscar que los estudiantes reportados aprendan de sus consecuencias y no repitan sus errores en el futuro.

Recordemos que los estudiantes son observadores de cada paso y comportamiento de sus profesores, e incluso algunos los toman como modelos a seguir, pero a veces esto es dado por sentado. Por ello, los profesores siempre deben ser ejemplo de un comportamiento íntegro, para de esta manera, lograr un efecto dominó que permee no solo en sus estudiantes sino en la sociedad en general.

Información basada en las recomendaciones elaboradas por Jean Guerrero Dib, Director de Identidad y Principios Institucionales de la Universidad de Monterrey. Adaptado de McCabe, D. y Pavela, G. (2004) Ten(updated) principles of academic integrity. Change, 36(3), 10-15. Recuperado de https://goo.gl/QkTfCq  

As a current rising senior, I’ve been a college student prior to and during the pandemic. After working in my school’s academic honesty office, I’ve gained a further and unique perspective on academic integrity at my university. For many students around me, the pandemic and consequent switch to online learning blurred a lot of lines when it came to cheating. In a year where we relied on groupchats and verbal dialogue in class dwindled, our entire approach to learning and studying changed. So did our understanding of integrity. Personally, I’ve always believed it’s better to be safe than sorry. I didn’t toe lines when it came to things possibly breaking the honor code. Those around me, on the other hand, questioned how integrity evolved with remote learning, and how much they cared about it.   

When everything felt like it was falling apart, students did their best to control what they could, and some took the easy way out to maintain good grades. Factors like Chegg and take-home tests made it easier than ever for students to compromise personal integrity for control in an uncontrollable time. Feeling that everyone is cheating made comfortable what should feel remorseful and wrong. It brings back the go-to parenting question: “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” Despite reassurance from the herd, the consequences of cheating don’t diminish at all. Instead, one could argue they’re worse than ever.

After hearing about my peers sliding by or seeing cheating hacks go viral on social media, it slightly worries me that these students will become our future teachers, politicians, or doctors. Furthermore, it’s frustrating to be a student that follows the policies, watching those who put in only a percentage of the work receive a better grade. Like a lot of my peers, my grades have dropped. It’s extremely difficult to focus on pre-recorded lectures over PowerPoint slides and I found it a challenging way to learn. From a practical standpoint, I don’t foresee how I could build on unlearned material in my future upper-level electives. Through a more important lens, I believe taking the easy way out would cheapen my degree, something I’ve worked so incredibly hard to earn so far. I believe the challenge comes down to students holding each other accountable, but even more, the responsibility of professors.

This past year, students were constantly questioning if their personal integrity should be compromised, if online learning made some actions okay, if they should care because all their friends were doing it, or if the good grades were worth it. For me, the difference in immediately recognizing the answers to these questions or a quick choice to turn to google for credit can be meaningful conversations with professors. I’ve seen the people in my school’s academic honesty office work so hard to maintain the integrity of our university, and I’ve done my best to pass that message along to future students. But the classroom is where these questions are answered, and professors are responsible for the integrity of their classroom. They should not only be reporting students for cheating, but also, explaining what cheating looks like in their course. Professors need to show compassion and understanding as we transition back into in-person learning. They need to understand why students struggle, where the temptation to cheat comes from, and how to help prevent it.

What are your students saying about academic integrity? Comment or tweet @TweetCAI

Recently, several articles about the number of cases referred to Offices of Academic Integrity have been released. The University of Wisconsin System has seen an increased number of cases in several of institutions. The Ohio State University case referrals have increased as well. This increase is not limited geographically. The University of Southern California, George Washington University, and countless other institutions around the globe have seen similar issues. Many articles discuss the rapid transition to remote learning, student well-being, complex judicial systems for student conduct, and other valid concerns. As practitioners and faculty enter a new semester, they need to consider what will happen now.

The transition to remote learning was abrupt. It was a challenge to students and faculty alike, and presented a host of pedagogical growing pains. More than a year into the pandemic, some institutions will be returning to another term online. Others will return to the classroom, and when they do, we need to be prepared for cases to remain high. Prior to the transition to remote learning, the research told practitioners that students were no more likely to cheat in online courses than they were when provided with face-to-face instruction. If that still is the case, then the faculty that previously hadn’t used their institutions conduct processes may be more comfortable reporting than in the past. Additionally, the increase in cases may have come from faculty feeling like they had “more evidence” to pursue cases than they found during in-person learning. On the other hand, perhaps the lack of face-to-face contact with faculty assisted in eroding the relationship between them and their students, and assisted in students rationalizations to cheat. Practitioners were cautiously optimistic at the start of the pandemic, but returning to in-person learning does not guarantee a reduction in cases.

The bottom line is that high case rates are just as likely to continue as they are to decrease. Institutions should prepare to support their integrity offices and officers during this time. One way institutions can help is by continuing to adopt informal resolution policies. Theses policies can assist practitioners by resolving cases more quickly and providing flexibility in sanctioning that may not be provided by formal adjudication. This does not mean that students will lose their rights, rather that students and faculty can work together with their integrity officers to address the issue. If an informal process does not lead to a resolution, then institutions may rely on their honor courts.

Another way that institutions can support their academic integrity officers and professionals is to offer them the same flexibility that they have been pushing for students. An academic integrity case may need to be resolved through videoconference, even if the institution is returning to in-person learning. Faculty and practitioners may need to telework some days rather than returning to their offices. Flexibility is key in supporting the faculty and staff that promote a culture of academic integrity at their institutions.

How is your institution supporting academic integrity? Comment below or tell us @TweetCAI