Later this week, Kelly, PACE’s academic advisor, and I will be attending an inter institution session on academic integrity, I will share the information we gather there in a later post. It is evident from talking with members of other institutions that academic integrity is an issue at every post-secondary institution.
Instructors should be mindful of reminding students of the expectations and rules in their classroom. Plagiarism is not allowed; as we’ve discussed, it can’t even be marked. For many students, however, they struggle to understand what is meant by plagiarism. At the start of every course, it is worth the time to remind students of the academic integrity policy, and the expectations around behaviour. It may mean that you have to give examples of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
Recently I came across a piece from another institution where the instructors outline, in writing, information for students on what they can / cannot do in preparing assignments. It gave the students explicit instructions on how they could gather information in the form of using the internet, resource materials allowed, and speaking to other students, including former students.
The instructions were explicit however, that in preparing their assignment responses, students could not read each other’s papers or read the papers of former students. They could discuss verbally, but not read, if they did so, the instructions were adamant that this would be viewed as a breach of the academic integrity rules.
Conversely, in another course, the instructor not only wanted the students to discuss the work, but to do peer editing. That again was built into the course instructions and reflected in the evaluations; students were graded on the feedback quality they provided their peers.
I found this an interesting approach to the issue of what is okay within a class. The instructions for the course explicitly state what is okay for this course with this instructor. In the past, I have had students ask the question about looking at classmate’s work, and going forward I’m going to adopt this approach in my classes.