Academic Integrity Workshop

Background

I served on the Academic Integrity Council at the University of Vermont. This usually involved hearing cases of alleged violations of the Code of Academic Integrity.

Students who are found responsible for violations are issued one or more sanctions, including receiving a grade of XF on their transcript. After one year, this grade, which indicates “failure resulting from academic dishonesty,” may be changed to an F if it is the student’s first violation and if the student successfully completes an Academic Integrity Seminar.

Center for Student Ethics and Standards Assistant Director Dana Kaplan thought that students who are not issued an XF might benefit from a similar educational experience. She asked graduate student Erin Craw and me to help facilitate the first Academic Integrity Workshop.

My main strategy was to get to the root of why violations of academic integrity occur.

My Contributions

Pre-Workshop Activity

Studies show that students who feel connected to the university are more likely to succeed – academically and socially. I created this online exercise to facilitate student discovery of campus resources at the University of Vermont.

In previous Academic Integrity Seminars, students were given a list of campus resources and asked them to investigate a few of their choosing. I felt it was important for students to be familiar with all of our suggested resources, whether they anticipate using them or not. This way, students may discover new resources of interest and they will be equipped for future needs.

Questions were written to highlight more than one service of any given resource and to direct the student to the resource’s webpage. Answers were in the form of a URL, as unique answers facilitate automated grading of open-ended questions. For example:

Question: The Learning Co-op provides one-on-one learning skills tutoring, subject area tutoring, and supplemental group study sessions for difficult courses. Where can you find a list of courses for which the Learning Co-op provides subject-area tutors? Copy and paste the entire URL.
Answer: http://www.uvm.edu/learnco/?Page=sat/courselist.html&SM=satmenu.html

Although it was created specifically for this workshop, but I wanted the exercise to be usable by others. Therefore, it does not mention this workshop, and assumes a wider audience. I used the free, web-based Pro Profs Quiz Maker; this was easy to use and does not require a login, but I was not thrilled with the advertisements.

Our participants were required to print out the certificate of completion with their name and score. In the workshop, we built on this activity by reading case studies about hypothetical students with various needs (learning, social, stress/wellness, advising, etc.) who were faced with academic integrity-related ethical decisions. Workshop participants then suggested campus resources which could help the student prevent the perceived need to violate the Code of the Academic Integrity.

Workshop participants reported in their evaluations that their knowledge of campus resources greatly improved.

Academic Integrity Guide

I created this online guide to Academic Integrity resources. We wanted to point our participants towards more information than we could cover in the workshop; an online guide maximizes this effort by making that information available into the future and accessible to a wider audience. Using the Libraries’ LibGuides software, I compiled:

  • information about the Code of Academic Integrity
  • instructions on reporting violations
  • definitions of and resources on plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, and collusion
    • campus resources
    • books in the library
    • information on the web
  • ways to plan ahead and avoid violations
    • communication
    • ethical decision making
    • stress and wellness
    • time management and study skills
  • resources for faculty

Post-Workshop Assignment

I designed this post-workshop assignment to help students apply the lessons of the workshop to their own lives. Students created a personal plan for success in one of these categories: stress & wellness, time management, study skills, ethics, and communication.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop was held from 3:00 – 6:00 pm on 19 April 2010. Six students participated.

3:05 Agenda
Expectations
Intros

3:20 AI Jeopardy
Code Review

3:40 Article Discussion

4:00 Ethics Continuum

4:20 Difficult Conversations Exercise

4:40 Journaling

5:00 Case Studies

5:45 Post Workshop Assignment
Wrap Up
Evaluation

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