September 2021

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:


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.

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:


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.

Manitoba Academic Integrity Network. (2021).

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:          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.