November 2021

IDOA Student Committee’s Jeopardy on Contract Cheating

A review and helpful guide to using the game

By ENAI Gamification Group Members

Zeenath Reza Khan

Sonja Bjelobaba

Shivadas Sivasubramanian

William Bülow

Lorna Waddington

Dita Henek Dlabolová

Jarret Dyer

Laura Ribeiro

Sandra F. Gomes

Mike Reddy

Salim Razi

European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) is a network whose purpose is to support higher education institutions to work together in the field of academic integrity. It was set up by 12 European universities as a Erasmus+ funded project in 2017 and has grown to be a global representation of over 40 member institutes from Europe and beyond. Among its many initiatives, ENAI has many working groups in different and sometimes inter-related areas of academic integrity. ENAI Gamification group, set up in 2019, is one such group that perseveres to look at how game-based learning and gamification can help in instilling values of integrity in students and staff during training, workshops, as learning modules and more.

Game-based learning (GBL) is an approach used in teaching and learning that uses aspects of games to teach students and help them reach learning objectives. GBL has been linked to behavioural, cognitive, motivational theories and effects on learners, with studies in recent years highlighting the benefits of using game-based learning in academic settings (Anderson et al., 2009; Whitton, 2012; Cojocariu and Boghian, 2014). Gamification, on the other hand, is when we use game elements to non-game problems like teaching academic integrity, raising awareness about misconducts and consequences and so on. Understanding the benefits of looking at GBL and gamification in the world of academic integrity, in 2020, the ENAI Working Group conducted a workshop and published a paper on designing gamified learning modules on Contract Cheating (CC). In 2021, the group focused on identifying existing games or gamified modules on ethics and academic integrity and reviewing existing modules that was presented at the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity.

As part of this latest effort, we are thrilled to be looking at the Jeopardy game produced by the International Student Steering Committee (ISSC) under the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating (IDOA) organizing committee 2021.

Contract cheating (CC) is a form of academic misconduct when a person uses an undeclared and/or unauthorized third party to assist them to produce work for academic credit or progression, whether or not payment or other favour is involved.

The ISSC that represented 17 students from across the globe (eg. Canada, Mexico, Greece, UK, UAE and so on) worked jointly under the supervision and guidance of Evangeline Litsa Mourelatos, recently retired professor from Deree The American College of Greece, to collate and develop a database of potential questions for the Jeopardy through extensive research they conducted.

Once developed, the Jeopardy was piloted at one of the committee meetings, followed by a discussion with the IDOA Committee members to receive their feedback and input on the questions and format.

The module, which is a classic example of game-based learning or activity, is a great start to building a fun, comprehensive module that can be a fantastic addition to a training or awareness session conducted for students or staff. It is classified as a GBL example because the goal of the Jeopardy game is to ask questions that help the audience review content that should have been introduced prior to using the game, as a means to see how much the audience grasped from the session.

The ISSC was motivated by the goal to raise awareness on IDOA and the International Centre for Academic Integrity (ICAI), and keep the focus of the academic community on contract cheating. On the 6th IDOA, a student panel, innovatively moderated by Litsa touched upon the depth of the questions and how they could be starting points of meaningful discussion with an audience.

The game has five different categories of questions:

  1. Basics
  2. How CC works
  3. Reasons/Consequences
  4. Strategies to reduce CC
  5. Miscellaneous

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Screen grab of the CC Jeopardy Game

Each category has questions that range from 100 points to up to 500 points. Questions get progressively harder as the options play from 100 points to 500 points. For instance, under the category of Basics, the question for 100 points reads:

“The year 2006”

In classic Jeopardy style, the “answer” is the “question” and the “question” is the “answer” expected:

“When was the term Contract Cheating coined?”

The question for 500 points under the same category reads:

“The code defining academic misconduct or dishonesty at an academic institution.”

The game is easy to launch using the link over the internet, and allows the game master to add up to 10 teams/players as needed.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Screen grab of the CC Jeopardy Game showing team set up

As teams go through their selections and earn points, the game master has to keep a track by simply clicking the plus or minus button provided by the game engine, depending on how the game is being used (for instance, as an assessment or training, etc)

Figure 3

Figure 3: Screen grab of the CC Jeopardy Game showing a game being played with three teams

While the questions cover a wide range of concepts on contract cheating, it is critical to mention that the game is not a stand-alone module, but rather requires some kind of session on contract cheating that can then be followed by this game as a way to test how much the audience may have grasped about the session. For instance, one of the questions in the database reads “100% plagiarism free”, to which there could be a multitude of answers such as “what is a benefit of my own work?”, “what is a common requirement for a report at your uni?” and so on. However, the answer expected by the game is “What is a common claim by paper mills?”

Some of the questions stand out as ambiguous and/or too context-centric, for example “Choose among the letters: Reporting of AI violations has a) increased, b) decreased, c) stayed about the same during online teaching…”  or “Allows you to binge watch your favourite series/movies instead of carefully preparing for an assignment”.

This was in fact identified during the student panel session for the question “The code defining academic misconduct or dishonesty at an academic institution” for which the answer could have been whatever the audience knows or is aware of in their own institution etc.

To this effect, we take the liberty to introduce European Network for Academic Integrity’s collection of resources on contract cheating as a topic which includes not only recorded sessions, but also slides and presentations that can be used by any instructor(s) for their classroom training targeting students or teachers who wish to use the game effectively.

ENAI website contains an extensive collection of educational material on academic integrity that is easily searchable: the main idea is to provide for the CC licensed material in order to help teachers and students to learn more about academic integrity. The material includes courses, modules, sets of activities accompanied with didactical notes, videos, etc. Several of those pedagogical resources are focusing on contract cheating:

Contract Cheating training module for HEI instructors - a training presentation by Irene Glendinning

The prevention of contract cheating in an online environment/TEQSA - a practical guide/report  by Phillip Dawson

Academic Outsourcing: essay mills, theses-on-demand and contract cheating - a workshop presentation by Sarah Elaine Eaton

How to deal with contract cheating - a workshop presentation by Veronika Kralikova

CONTRACT CHEATING (PRÁCE PSANÉ NA ZAKÁZKU) - a workshop presentation by Veronika Kralikova in Czech

Evidence-based responses to contract cheating - a video recording from late Tracey Bretag’s keynote speech at the 3rd International Conference Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond 2017

Pouring ale on contract cheating - a video recording from Phil Newton’s keynote speech at the  3rd International Conference Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond 2017

Strategies for addressing contract cheating - a video recording of a panel discussion with Phil Newton, Thomas Lancaster, Chloe Walker and Shiva Sivasubramaniam at the 3rd International Conference Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond 2017

Any of the above can be good for a training session for staff or students, by faculty or students to help prepare the comprehensive and holistic experience for the target audience followed by the CC Jeopardy to then check the effectiveness of learning.

The CC Jeopardy is a starting point for the community, with some great conversation starters that can help moderators or game masters delve into the crux of the matter such as:

  • what motivates students to reach out to such services that provide contract cheating services,
  • how the services reach out and approach students
  • how essay mills convince students
  • who can be a support system for students on campus to help steer away from such practices
  • policy discussions and implications
  • and others

The CC Jeopardy is available on the JeopardyLabs site, a game engine that helps anyone create a jeopardy game for free or for a life-time membership fee of US$20/-! The free option allows you to make a perfectly and fully functioning game, while the membership allows you to “fancy-fy” it a bit, add more questions and so on. The platform is quite easy to use and set up and applies the “GNU General Public License” (GPL) where any jeopardy developed on the platform is free, and can be edited by anyone after cloning it:

Figure 4

Figure 4: Screen grab demonstrating how a jeopardy can be edited

Figure 5

Figure 5: Screen grab showing how the editing screen looks

 There are other jeopardy games in there which address academic integrity. These are:

The Academic Jeopardy - by California State University, San Marcos

This game is focused more on plagiarism, than any other aspect of academic integrity or misconduct, with a category also customised to the university.

Figure 6

Figure 6 - Academic Jeopardy game

Plagiarism - A game that focuses exclusively on Plagiarism which also covers concepts like origins of the word “plagiarism”, and also “what is going to jail”

Figure 7

Figure 7 - Plagiarism game

APA Signals/Plagiarism - this is a game that is also focused on plagiarism, specifically at three types of plagiarism and APA signals which make it slightly more proactive than the others.

Figure 8

Figure 8 - APA Signal/Plagiarism game

In line with our previous suggestion, if you wish to use any of the Plagiarism related jeopardy, here are some ENAI resources that can help set the stage:

Absence of Plagiarism? - an interesting article by Július Kravjar

Reasons for plagiarism by students: why does it happen? – training module for hei instructors prepared by Salim Razi

Definitions of plagiarism - training module for HEI instructors by Ansgar Schäfer

How to prevent plagiarism - a handbook for academic staff by Foltýnek Tomáš, Černikovský Petr, Fontana Josef, Gojná Zuzana, Henek Dlabolová Dita, Holeček Tomáš, Hradecký Jan, Kozmanová Irena, Mach Jan, Římanová Radka, Tesaříková Čermáková Klára, Válová Adriana, Vorel František, Vorlová Helena, König Dudziaková Marie

If you decide to use any of the above games or ICAI’s CC Jeopardy game, do let us know your experiences and don’t forget to have fun, stay positive, and be proactive, as steps towards developing a culture of integrity everywhere.

As a community of practice, we always welcome feedback and requests for any kind of support from the international community and hope this post is helpful to anyone wishing to use the module in their classrooms, campus or for general learning and awareness sessions.

To contact the head of the working group, use the email details as follows:

Zeenath Reza Khan,

References

 

Anderson, O. B., Anderson, N. M., & Taylor, A. T. (2009). New Territories in Adult Education: Game-Based Learning for Adult Education, http://www.adulterc.org/Proceedings/2009/proceedings/anderson_etal.pdf

 

Cojocariu, V. and Boghian, I. (2014). Teaching the Relevance of Game-based Learning to Preschool and Primary Teachers, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 142(2014). 640-646. ISSN 1877-0428. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814046072?via%3Dihub

 

Whitton, N. (2012). The place of game-based learning in an age of austerity, Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 10(2), 249-256, https://academic-publishing.org/index.php/ejel/article/view/1630/1593

Ubuntu, the South African practice valuing collective humanity has been on my mind a lot these days. A 2020 article linking the practice to academic integrity really resonates with me. The authors describe the value in the Zimbawean context as "responsibility, honesty, justice, trustworthiness, hard work, integrity, a cooperative spirit, solidarity and devotion to family and the welfare of the community". The authors surmise that the common phrasing of the term translated to mean “You are because I am, and I am because we are” is an important educational perspective when considering preventing academic misconduct.

I was thinking about how I might better support my graduate students to do their best work in service to their research interests, and how that relates to issues of contract cheating and plagiarism. In a recent study of contract cheating providers I realize that while I find their practices  predatory, they are on to something I have not fully addressed in my work. Fear, loneliness, loss, and hurt are often exploited. There is time for critical feedback around procrastination, consistency, and quality. But critical feedback without community care erodes trust. The erosion of trust leads to behaviors that are self serving. We have all known and felt desperation. We can stand in the space where these feelings lie.

It reminds me that we must do the best we can with what we have in service to our academic communities. That where we can, we extend grace to each other. That we remind ourselves that accountability can be restorative. Ubuntu. That collectively, we are stronger than individually, and that in spite of undesirable behaviors we remain one academic community. Our collective resources and ideas can be transformational. I like to think that when we teach students about acknowledging the work of others, that we show these ideals as well. Academic integrity provides the language for use to actively honor the contributions of others, and to make room for new interpretations. That we can set expectations for ourselves and others and be open that those expectations may be met in new and creative ways. Ubuntu.

It may seem as though no matter how much is written or explained our perspectives are not clear. We are all worn thin. We are exhausted, and it is frustrating. Misunderstandings abound. We thought we were ready to return to normal, but normal as we understand it ceases to exist. Faculty and practitioners do their work in multiple modalities, focusing on recovery and restoration, sometimes feeling as if they and their work aren’t valued, as if a pandemic weren’t occurring. Students juggling family, work, loss, fear, and struggle and mental unease don’t know where to turn, but they aren’t turning to those who can give the most help. Somewhere along the line, those interactions became too difficult. Cultural values provide a glimpse into how we can educate and support in ways that resonate with an increasingly diverse student population

For many this is the time of year where final papers are due and, where students are scrambling. Faculty are tired, Staff are tired, and students are tired too. May we all be reminded that our work and our efforts are in service to each other, and that our collective, authentic contributions are better together. That sometimes, education is meeting the basic and immediate need a student has before they can begin to form understanding. Our academic communities deserve mutual trust, grace, and integrity.

TikTok app icon on a mobile phone

Lessons from TikTok on Academic Integrity 

I recently came across a retweet by Thomas Lancaster, an academic integrity expert perhaps best known for his work on contract cheating. The tweet contained a TikTok video that depicts a typical example of the practice, a parent writing a paper for a student who felt they could not submit an assignment on time. The short clip shares what so many of us know. That all too often, a simple message or request for help turns into academic misconduct. Though problematic for this audience, the message is meant to be funny and poignant, a retort to what the student felt was an unaccommodating professor.  

The creativity in TikTok reflects what I love most about research that uses digital narratives to explain the experiences of college students. Engaged students are those who see themselves reflected in the classroom. They are motivated by instruction, subject matter, or the promise of advancement resulting from a course. Students need more than course resources. Support and individualization are necessary for engagement.

The Problem: Students who are not engaged risk finding themselves more likely to succumb to the pressures of time and discomfort. Social media provides audio and visual representations of the conditions and challenges impacting students. TikTok, in particular, is used as a snippet of expression, representation, and validation. At its core, the medium represents individual artistry, allowing creators to present a version of themselves in a public forum. Viral dances and videos are the results of affirmation and inspiration. I've found several connections to the values of academic integrity in these videos. 

Attribution: Tik Tok etiquette requires that a creator who uses the content of another to acknowledge it. The community acknowledges this attribution practice rather than being monitored as a requirement of terms and conditions. This is notable. Do creators violate the community expectation? Of course.  Nevertheless, community members actively (and loudly) called out by the creators themselves. Why?  Because the community has decided that they value individual contributions.  It is also important to note that this attribution is expected despite an algorithmic system accused of being unfair. Creators are taken to task and publicly respond for misrepresenting ownership. These are concepts that are not new; we see the same thing in various social media mediums. It is one of the reasons why the retweet and share buttons exist. 

Collective Action: Frustrated with community decisions, creators come together to address the misuse or misattribution. Posts simplifying the original creators of dances, recipes, and fashion trends are amplified to drown out the violation. This form of accountability results has led to opportunities for the original content creator, media opportunities, and accolades that can lead to future successes. 

Courage: Creators speak out despite running the risk of being ostracized by other community members and speak up, even when it feels challenging to do so. Sacrifices, including boycotts or video responses to unattributed work, demonstrate the issues around improper attribution and what it means to value the original work or creative expression of an individual or a culture.

The goal is simple; creators manage to express themselves, demonstrate the value of digital expression and expect others to respect the community's contributions.  

What can we learn? While not a perfect example, mediums like TikTok provide examples of how groups can self-impose community norms. Likewise, creating academic communities where students are responsible for and take pride in while also holding others to a standard of accountability is the goal of academic integrity.