This virtual event was hosted by Douglas College, with presenters from across British Columbia on Friday, October 15, 2021. At one point, I counted 123 participants in the virtual meeting room.
Welcome to the BC Academic Integrity Day
Janette Tilley, Associate Dean, Faculty of Language, Literature and Performing Arts, Douglas College, opened the event with a land acknowledgement.
Thor Borgford, Vice President Academic and Provost, Douglas College, offered welcoming remarks. He commented that although academic integrity has been important for a long time, things have changed over the past five years, and particularly during COVID-19. He noted that looking for solutions through enforcement is not the way to go, but instead it is important to promote academic integrity so students have skills they can take with them after graduation.
Tod Denham, Exams Department Supervisor, TRU and founding member of the BC Academic Integrity Network, spoke about the history of the BC Academic Integrity Network (BC-AIN). Talked about attending a number of academic integrity events, including the first Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity at the University of Calgary. From there they organized the first BC-AID at TRU in 2019, where BC-AIN was born. He offers appreciation to Douglas College for hosting this second BC-AID.
Janette Tilley introduced the other members of the organizing committee for the conference:
- Tod Denham (TRU)
- Jaclyn Stewart (UBC)
- Ainsley Rouse (UBC)
- Arlette Stewart (SFU)
- Marian Anderberg (TRU)
- Laura Prada (UBCO)
- Sean Zwagerman (SFU)
Keynote: “Deepening the Relational Ecology of Academic Integrity”
Brenda Morrison, Associate Professor. School of Criminology and Director, Centre for Restorative Justice, SFU gave a heartfelt and sincere keynote address about the principles of restorative practices, highlighting the difference between traditional policy and restorative approaches to addressing cases of misconduct. Dr. Morrison generously shared this link to her slides.
Panel: “Inclusion and Accessibility in Academic Integrity”
Anita Chaudhuri (UBCO) moderated an excellent panel on accessibility and inclusion in academic integrity with these panelists:
- Mitchell Stoddard, Director, Centre for Accessible Learning, SFU
- Holly Salmon, Coordinator and Instructor, Learning Centre, Douglas College
- Laurie McNeill, Professor of Teaching, Dept, of English Language and Literatures, UBC
- Lisvet Parra Montas, former Writing and AIM Consultant and student, UBC
Some key points shared during the panel for me were:
- There continue to be many barriers for students including barriers to learning, as well as barriers to navigating higher education systems.
- Discrimination, along with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are topics we must continue to address.
- Universal design for learning (UDL) helps all students learn with integrity.
- It is essential for us to listen to students and pay attention to their experiences.
After the panel, there was a lunch break.
Forum: Resource Sharing
After lunch Jackie Stewart (UBC) facilitated a session for participants to share resources related to academic integrity.
Laura Prada (UBCO) shared an academic integrity awareness campaign including resources for faculty members, a Zoom background and some tote bags they are giving away as prizes.
Maggie Ross (Langara College) shared a toolkit for faculty, Encouraging Academic Integrity Through a Preventative Framework, that was showcased on the ICAI blog. Maggie also shared a meme contest they have organized for and a badge they’ll wear to pledge integrity during Academic Integrity Week.
Arlette Stewart (SFU) shared a number of resources, including:
- SFU’s assignment calculator for students
- Information about an upcoming webinar on restorative practices in the classroom, Dr. Sheri Fabian, Director of the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines “Beyond the Classroom: How an incident of academic dishonesty kept someone out of prison” on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. PST. Here is the link to register.
- And a couple of suggested syllabi statements from SFU, such as this one and this one.
Colleen Pawlychka from Douglas College shared her academic integrity resource and talked about how she teaches her students about academic integrity in her classes.
I shared that the University of Calgary is hosting a public webinar on October 29, “Contract Cheating in Canada: Exploring Legislative Options and also the forthcoming edited book Academic Integrity in Canada.
Laurie McNeill (UBC) shared Academic Integrity Faculty Resources
Jaclyn Stewart shared – Some suggested syllabus statements from UBC: https://teachingsupport.forestry.ubc.ca/files/2020/09/Approaches-to-Academic-Integrity-in-the-Syllabus_04-Sept-2020.pdf
Jennifer Kendall shared – HOWL (Habits of White Language) by Asao Inoue, saying it “could be a useful starting point for reflecting on our assessment practices and approaching academic integrity in a more inclusive way.”
Sandra Zappa-Hollman shared a link to this podcast with valuable episodes about citing, referencing, and paraphrasing.
Panel: “Responses to Contract Cheating”
Tod Denham (TRU) moderated a panel of experts from across higher education in British Columbia:
- Jeff Longland, Project Lead and Solutions Architect, Learning Analytics Project, UBC
- Sean Zwagerman, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, SFU
- Will Gunton, Chair, Dept. Physics and Astronomy, Douglas College
- Marian Anderberg. Director, Student Affairs, TRU
Key takeaways from this panel for me were:
- There are ways to detect contract cheating, but this work requires resources (dedicated staff and time to do the work).
- Commercial file-sharing and contract cheating companies are particularly problematic. A shoutout to this article by Thomas Lancaster and Codrin Cortarlan was shared.
- Need to name contract cheating institutional policy documents.
- Contract cheating has been increasing during the pandemic and it happens across a variety of courses.
- Contract cheating is committed by both domestic and international students, but some contract cheating companies are specifically targeting international students, including offering a shadow curriculum in other languages, such as Mandarin, and offering contract cheating as a supplementary service.
- Companies offering to complete entire online courses on behalf of students seem to be increasing.
- A model of progressive discipline is common, though there have been more students being suspended for academic misconduct violations including contract cheating during the pandemic.
- Structural change is needed, including policy revision, and casting an EDI lens on contract cheating. There are myths that need to be busted about who engages in contract cheating and why.
- Shadow courses and contract cheating companies that have local storefronts are not uncommon in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
- Administrators have been receiving an increasing number of anonymous tips about contact cheating. It is not known if these tips are coming from legitimate students or competing contract cheating suppliers.
- Sean Zwagerman shared the Petition: Academic Integrity Letter to the Ministry 2021.
- Catching students will not solve the larger contract cheating problem.
Forum: Future Work in Academic Integrity in BC
Tod Denham (TRU) facilitated a closing conversation about the future of the British Columbia Academic Integrity Network (BC AIN). Janette Tilley closed the event and thanked everyone for attending.
All in all, this was a fabulous virtual event that showcased how post-secondary institutions in British Columbia are promoting academic integrity across their province.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada.
Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary or anyone else.