By guest writer Dr. Tony Feghali
Academic integrity is not always the most exciting topic to cover in class. I found a few tricks that can do a quick and sometimes significant change with students. I’m sharing resources I put together and invite you to experiment with them and see what works.
I base my session(s) on the four parts that I pulled from Management Information Systems literature and the International Center for Academic Integrity:
Starting the session with this section usually gets everyone thinking right away.
Legal: Adjective - law-related: relating to the law or to courts of law. Anything legally binding falls under a law that forces certain actions or restrictions.
Ethical: Adjective - conforming to accepted standards: consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct; principles that guide our behavior toward other people; rooted in history, culture, and religion.
Activity: Explain the definitions and then give one non-academic example per quadrant. Split the class into groups of four and ask them to give 1–3 examples per quadrant. When done, one spokesperson per group gives one example per quadrant. Go around until every group has spoken. Given the time allotted in your session and how heated the debate, you can extend this activity.
Actions in ethical dilemmas are determined by one’s basic ethical structure, moral compass, the circumstances of the situation, and the severity of the violation.
Activity: Pick 1–4 of the examples that students have provided from the quadrants above (usually from 2, 3, and 4) and analyze their severity and how circumstances change that, using the ethical structure concentric circles.
By this time, academic misconduct would have surfaced in the discussions. This would be a good time to list them and explain each one in more detail.
Cheating: Being dishonest in your academic work. You are cheating if you copy someone else’s work on a test or submit old essays for new assignments.
Plagiarism: Submitting someone else’s work as your own. You are plagiarizing if you copy and paste someone else’s work into yours, or pay for someone else to do your work for you.
Collaboration: Good collaboration happens when authorized by the professor. You are collaborating illegally if you work on individual assignments with others.
Fabrication: You are fabricating if you make up statistics and try to pass them on as fact or invent a source and pretend it is a real person or resource.
This is where you can tie everything together and offer the definition of academic integrity, discuss the six fundamental values, and refer students to external resources they could use to learn more. The International Center for Academic Integrity is an excellent place to start. The Center defines academic integrity
as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action.
Honesty: “Advance the quest for truth and knowledge through intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service.”
Trust: “Foster and rely upon climates of mutual trust. Climates of trust encourage and support the free exchange of ideas which in turn allows a scholarly inquiry to reach its fullest potential.”
Fairness: “Establish clear and transparent expectations, standards, and practices to support fairness in the interactions of students, faculty, and administrators.”
Respect: “Value the interactive, cooperative, participatory nature of learning. They honor, value, and consider diverse opinions and ideas.”
Responsibility: “ Rests upon foundations of personal accountability coupled with the willingness of individuals and groups to lead by example, uphold mutually agreed-upon standards, and take action when they encounter wrongdoing.”
Courage: “Translating the values from talking points into action — standing up for them in the face of pressure and adversity — requires determination, commitment, and courage.”
Using another variation of the above may work differently for you, given the conditions and the size of the group you’re working with. No matter the approach, a heated debate is almost guaranteed; and that’s exactly what you wish for.
We’re back at it and we’re looking for some passionate writers!
If you have any students or know anyone who loves to write, we have an opportunity for them.
All they have to do is submit their article and we will feature it in our publications including our blogs, and our social media networks.
Help your students build their passion for writing, and we’ll help them get somewhere with it.
Have some time to spare? Here’s a nice experiment Dr. Tony did with his class.
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