Apr 08
Academic Integrity in Alternative Delivery

Does the move to alternative delivery have you concerned about student cheating?

Lisa Vogt.jpgRRC's Lisa Vogt, EAL Specialist with the Academic Success Centre, has been digging into this topic: “Leading academic integrity research shows that online delivery is low on the list of factors that contribute to academic misconduct."

That's a relief. Nonetheless, as Instructors we have an important role to play in creating a culture of integrity in our courses.

What can we do? Here are a few examples:

  • Talk about when it is ok to collaborate with peers and when it is not.
  • Teach the citation skills you want students to use.
  • Continue to create personal connections with your students and check in on them to be aware of their progress through the assignment you've set.
  • Model the standards of academic integrity by citing your own sources in your teaching materials.

A big piece for instructors is also well-designed assessments. Yesterday in Faculty Fridays, we learned some summative assessment ideas for alternative delivery. We also unpacked it further during FF@4 – our Tuesday and Thursday check in for faculty over WebEx. Here are best practices for summative assessments while also building a culture of academic integrity:

  • Create fair assessments that reflect what is being taught in the course.
  • Make assessments meaningful and authentic.
  • Offer choice and control where possible.
  • Avoid un-proctored multiple-choice exams, which allow students to cheat easily.
  • Avoid pre-published test banks or re-using previous assignments. The answers are out there online, easily searchable to educational institution, course and instructor name.
  • Consider allowing open notes during your assessment, with students citing where the information comes from.
  • Ask students how they know, rather than what they know. In other words, ask students to describe their learning.
  • Ask for self-reflection to bring awareness to how learning is happening.

Lisa aded this important takeaway: “Most of these recommendations are just as valid under normal circumstances as they are in alternative delivery. Instructors have more control than they may realize. By demonstrating their own integrity, maintaining connections with students, being flexible in stressful times, and possibly cutting back the breadth and focusing on depth, instructors can create a culture where academic integrity can survive. The area that is very particular to these circumstances is allowing students the opportunity to collaborate with people or reference materials in ways that they may not have been allowed before – if they cite where the information comes from."


What are you doing to build a culture of academic integrity in your courses?


These recommendations are e...

These recommendations are excellent.  I particularly like the Lisa has mentioned that  "... these recommendations are just as valid under normal circumstances as they are in alternative delivery".  Asking students to describe their learning (the how they know) is really restating the importance of asking students to justify and support their responses.  This is a great post today which has information that transcends the delivery models. Thanks!
Picture Placeholder: Shannon Derksen
  • Shannon Derksen
 on 4/8/2020 10:32 AM

Lisa, thank you so much for...

Lisa, thank you so much for sharing these resources!

During yesterday's FF@4 we discussed ways to revise traditional summative assesment during alternative delivery. Lisa joined the call too to add the lens of academic integrity. Here are some ideas we brainstormed as faculty during a "lightning round":

- A traditional multiple choice/short answer quiz or exam. Perhaps offer the quiz or exam on LEARN, ask LEARN to randomize the questions, ask students a follow up to each question: "how do you know that is the correct answer?"

- A poster project. Give students choices. Perhaps they could use a free website creator? Perhaps they could use templates in Word? Perhaps they could still create a poster with resources at home and submit a picture?

- A role play. Perhaps have the students record their role play through Webex and submit in LEARN? Perhaps invite the students to separate Webex meetings and observe/give feedback in real time? 

- A group paper. Add in additional components to the assessment. For example, perhaps ask students to work in the "Group" function in LEARN for instructor oversight? Perhaps ask students to work in Office 365 so versions can be tracked? Perhaps add a self and peer assessment? Perhaps ask students to report on the planning, executing, reviewing, and scheduling processes.

- Install a sump pump. Perhaps ask students to create an installation manual with code requirements (like we learned in Faculty Fridays yesterday)? To alleviate the writing component, perhaps ask students to record themselves walking through the steps?
Picture Placeholder: Janine Carmichael
  • Janine Carmichael
 on 4/8/2020 10:41 AM

I agree. Insightful recomme...

I agree. Insightful recommendations. "Instructors have more control than they may realize" really stands out for me. When I first started teaching, the thought that my course might not be on equal playing ground was really stressful, and part of that stress was the lack of control I felt when students employed various means to commit academic offenses. My response was more control, more rules, tighter restrictions but I've learned that developing rapport, relationships, and connections, as Lisa mentions, goes a lot further. We are most of us hard-wired to respond to control with control and empathy with empathy. Rules upon rules can have a demotivating effect that can put students in a situation where cheating becomes their only option.

The Universal Design for Learning Framework describes this interplay between emotion and cognition.
Picture Placeholder: Kevin Boon
  • Kevin Boon
 on 4/8/2020 10:57 AM

Thank you for inviting me t...

Thank you for inviting me to this discussion! I have been following researchers and practitioners through the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), with particular attention paid to the perspectives from the University of Manitoba and the University of Calgary. Both institutions have published excellent resources at the following sites:

I also had the pleasure of discussing academic integrity with the team producing the RRC academic continuity newsletter. More details are available in the latest issue, just released this week.
Scroll to this text to download: "April 7: Issue 3 – Academic Integrity (Word doc)"

Picture Placeholder: Lisa Vogt
  • Lisa Vogt
 on 4/8/2020 12:02 PM

Great insight! I'm so grate...

Great insight! I'm so grateful to have Lisa and her expertise on our team - thank you for sharing!
Picture Placeholder: Carleigh Nicole Friesen
  • Carleigh Nicole Friesen
 on 4/8/2020 12:24 PM

Thanks Lisa and commenters!

Thanks Lisa and commenters!
Picture Placeholder: Andrew Warren
  • Andrew Warren
 on 4/8/2020 3:57 PM