Journal of Educational Thought: Special Issue on Academic Integrity and Ethics

January 14, 2020

JET Cover 52(3)I am so pleased to share that the special issue of the Journal of Educational Thought dedicated to academic integrity and ethics is now out. I am excited about this work because it adds to the growing body of scholarly and research literature on these important topics, not only in Canada, but globally, too.

I was the guest Co-Editor for this special issue, together with the journal’s editor-in-chief, Ian Winchester.

Here’s an overview of what’s in the issue:

Editorials

Winchester, I. (2019). Academic integrity in the university. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 187-190.

Eaton, S. E. (2019). Considerations of corruption, ethics and integrity in educational contexts: Guest editorial. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 191-192.

Research articles

Lock, J., Schroeder, M., & Eaton, S. E. (2019). Designing and implementing an online academic integrity tutorial: Identifying the challenges within a post-secondary context. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 193-208.

Lancaster, T., Glendinning, I., Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., & Linkeschová, D. (2019). The perceptions of higher education students on contract cheating and educational corruption in South East Europe. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 209-227.

Henry, R., & Gabel, C. (2019). “It’s not just a picture when lives are at stake: Ethical considerations and photovoice methods with Indigenous Peoples engaged in street lifestyles”. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 229-252.

Miron, J. B. (2019). Academic integrity in a student practice environment: An elicitation study. Journal of Educational Thought, 52(3), 253-273.

All of the research articles underwent double-blind peer review.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton 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.


Academic Integrity: Resource for Teaching Assistants

September 16, 2019

JPEG - U Have Integrity Resource for TAs.jpgAs a Teaching Assistant (TA) it can be tricky to know what your responsibilities are if you suspect or observe academic misconduct. This resource is intended to help both TAs and course instructors about the roles and responsibilities teaching assistants play in upholding academic integrity at the University of Calgary.

Teaching assistants are responsible for acting with integrity, maintaining the privacy of all parties involved and reporting any suspected or actual cases of academic misconduct to the course instructor. TAs are not responsible for confronting student(s) who may be allegedly responsible for academic misconduct and nor are they responsible for imposing sanctions (discipline). It is the responsibility of the course instructor to follow the guidelines established by their faculty for responding to allegations of academic misconduct.

Open communication between course instructors and teaching assistants is key. Establishing expectations early in the term, before issues might arise can be very helpful for teaching assistants.

It is important for teaching assistants to know they are not alone when it comes to upholding academic integrity.

This one-page tip sheet is intended as a suggested guideline to help teaching assistants figure out what to do if they encounter or suspect a breach of academic integrity. This handout is not exhaustive and it may not cover all situations. This resource was developed specifically for teaching assistants at the University of Calgary and may not apply to TAs at other institutions.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton 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.


The foundations of scholarship: Original sources

September 3, 2019

Bowers 1964-sm.jpgI am always telling my students to find and cite the original sources rather than relying on secondary sources. In the work I do on academic misconduct, the work of William Bowers is often cited as a seminal study in the field. The problem is that Bowers’s original work is hard to get your hands on. I was able to find a copy of his 1966 doctoral dissertation, but the original 1964 book seemed almost impossible to find. The two sources have exactly the same title. Although both texts are based on the same content, it is presented in different ways in both texts.

I can say this because I’ve now read both sources in their entirety.

Thanks to our amazing librarians at the University of Calgary, who were able to track down a copy of Bowers’s original 1964 work. Through the inter-library loan system, they were able to request the book from another library (thanks, University of Waterloo!) and have it sent to the university where I work so I could read it.

It is a beautiful volume, obviously produced on a typewriter with painstaking detail. This work was a true labour of love. I so appreciate having the opportunity to read it for myself. I now understand Bowers’s work much better. (I purposely do not offer a synopsis of his work in this blog post, so as to encourage others to go read the original works themselves, rather than relying on someone else’s summary!) Although more updated studies have been published since then, this nevertheless remains an important foundational book in my field. I am delighted to have had the privilege to read it.

I encourage anyone who wants to undertake deep scholarship in a particular field to find the original works upon which the field was built. If you can’t find the books, ask your friendly neighbourhood librarian for help. You might be surprised how they can help you be a better scholar.

References:

Bowers, W. J. (1964). Student dishonesty and its control in college. New York: NY: Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University.

Bowers, W. J. (1966). Student dishonesty and its control in college. (Doctor of Philosophy). Columbia University, New York.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


7th Ed. APA Manual – An Academic Integrity Response

August 9, 2019

APA 7th cover.jpgLike many others, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (affectionally known by millions as the APA Manual). I was thrilled to read the press release saying its launch has been scheduled for October 2019. Then it occurred to me that this may be problematic from an academic integrity perspective. It is important for educators and institutions to take a supportive, ethical, and instructive approach to the adoption of the latest edition of the manual. Here are some ways to do that:

Recommendations for Instructors

  1. Talk to your students about the release of the 7th edition. This is an excellent reason to review citing and referencing expectations with students.
  2. Talk to administrators about what is expected of you with regards to when and how to adopt the 7th edition of the manual. It may make more sense to start and finish the term with consistent use of the same edition of the manual and transition to a new manual at the start of a new term.

Recommendations for Institutions

  1. Develop and deliver campus-wide training programs on the differences between the 6th and 7th editions of the manual. Students, faculty and others will need explicit and supportive instruction on what’s new and how to adapt to the norms of the new edition.
  2. Develop a systematic plan for campus-wide adoption of the 7th edition. Neither instructional staff nor students should be expected to buy a new manual and adopt it during the middle of a term. This could result in both a financial burden and unnecessary stress for everyone involved. It should be OK to stick with the 6th edition of the manual for the fall term (or the spring 2019 semester for the southern hemisphere), so everyone is using the same version consistently in courses. There can (and should) be a period of transition while students and others can learn the details of the latest version in time for start of the next term. There should be clear communication to students about when they are expected to fully adopt the 7th edition, and it should not be in the middle of term.
  3. Develop a unified and supportive institutional stance towards ethical adoption of the latest edition, casting a particular lens to academic integrity breaches and policy. It is imperative that students not be penalized for academic misconduct for failing follow 7th edition in the fall 2019 semester. (This includes not being penalized for having two spaces after a period!) It is important to give students, educators, administrators and others time to learn the new conventions that with come with the latest edition.

This is an exciting time for everyone whose work intersects with the APA manual in a variety of ways, including citing, referencing and academic writing. It is important to create supportive and planned approaches to adoption of the new edition in ways that emphasize teaching, learning and the development of research and writing skills.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Multilingual essay mills – New article

August 6, 2019

Notos coverMy colleague, Roswita Dressler and I have just had a new paper published. It all started when I was at an academic integrity conference a couple of years back. I was sitting next to a colleague who works in a language other than English (LOTE). The colleague suggested that contract cheating (e.g. essay mills and other forms of outsourced academic work) was a problem of the English-speaking world, asserting that there simply wouldn’t be enough of a market in other languages.

I thought to myself, “Challenge accepted!” I recruited Roswita Dressler to help me undertake a small-scale pilot study. We both have a background in language teaching and between us, we have some level of proficiency in about four languages. We were also curious about the market for academic outsourcing for younger audiences, in elementary, middle and high school.

 

The questions that guided our project were:

  1. What evidence exists that online providers offer academic work in languages other than English?
  2. To what degree are K-12 students targeted by these online providers?

We framed our study specifically within the Canadian context.

Our results showed that not only do commercial contract cheating companies market to specifically to students in Canada, they target children as young as Grade six (approximately 11-12 years old). And yes, we found strong evidence that contract cheating happens in languages other than English (ten of them, in fact).

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on contract cheating published in Canada.

The Alberta Teachers Association is the publisher and copyright holder of this article. They have given us permission to post the article in our university’s digital repository. You can access a copy of it free of charge from here:

Eaton, S. E., & Dressler, R. (2019). Multilingual essay mills: Implications for second language teaching and learning. Notos, 14(2), 4-14. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1880/110695

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Seeking early-stage feedback about proposed MEd Certificate in Academic Integrity

June 21, 2019

Note: This is an early-stage concept draft intended for sharing for developmental feedback.

Direct questions about this proposal to Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton – seaton (at) ucalgary.ca.

Background

The MEd certificate in Academic Integrity is an opportunity for those interested in this topic to develop as scholars of the profession in a learning community of like-minded students. Situated within the Leadership specialization, students will explore academic integrity through a leadership, policy and governance lens, while also developing an evidence-informed approach to the pragmatic aspects of academic integrity such as case management. Students will examine their personal and professional notions of academic integrity, as situated concepts within institutional and systemic contexts, deepening their understanding of how professional practice related to academic integrity is nested within institutional policies and procedures and how these are related to quality assurance from a systemic perspective, such as ministries of education and/or higher education.

MEd Certificate

The MEd (Master of Education) is a course-based pathway which provides students with a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice in two topic areas, plus additional research methods courses.

Each certificate is based on a topic area comprised for four (4) courses. The MEd Certificate is a pathway to a Master of Education (MEd), Interdisciplinary route, but a graduate level certificate is awarded upon the successful completion of a 4-course certificate, so even if participants choose only to undertake the 4-course topic, they can still be awarded a graduate-level certificate.

Learning Goals and Expected Outcomes

There are three overarching learning goals of this proposed certificate:

  1. This certificate will increase awareness of the role of academic integrity in educational contexts.
  2. It will assist those who have academic integrity as a component of their professional portfolio in furthering discussion and learning about integrity, ethical decision-making, case management and policy.
  3. It will assist current and future educational leaders to envision and develop a personal theory of integrity that enhances the learning experiences of students, while remaining cognizant of institutional policies and procedures, as well as larger systemic realities.

The four (4) courses for this certificate will be developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders.

Possible formats

Option 1: Completely online format – All four (4) courses offered online using asynchronous (D2L) and synchronous (Zoom) learning technologies. Students could be physically located anywhere in the world and would not be required to come to the University of Calgary for any component of the certificate.

Option 2: Blended – Two (2) courses offered on-campus during an intensive two-week residency in July. This would require students to physically be in Calgary during the mandatory two-week residency. The residency would be followed by two (2) additional courses offered online in the subsequent fall and winter terms.

Anticipated timeline

We do not have an exact timeline for the launch of this program yet, as it would need to receive approval at a number of levels. However, given the amount of interest and support we have at this early stage, it is reasonable to anticipate that it may be available by September 2020.

Feedback Questions

At this point, we are seeking feedback from various stakeholders on these particular points:

  1. Which of the two possible formats (online or blended) is most appealing? Why?
  2. What are some key topics or courses you would like to see included in this program? Why?
  3. What resources (books, articles, etc.) do you see as being foundational for courses offered in this certificate?

For questions about this proposal or to add your name to the mailing list contact:

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, seaton (at) ucalgary.ca

Further information about the Master of Education: https://werklund.ucalgary.ca/gpe/med-interdisciplinary

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Exploring the notion of academic integrity literacy

March 16, 2019

Word Art AI literacyThe other day I was talking with Dr. Tracey Bretag about her upcoming visit to Calgary for the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity. We were talking about the topics of her keynotes for the symposium and our conversation wandered around to contract cheating. I commented that contract cheating is poorly understood, in my opinion, by many faculty members and administrators in Canada. I commented that there are people on our campus who have never heard of it, or don’t believe it to be a widespread. I said that the importance of developing of academic integrity literacy was really important.

And there it was, a term that captures the idea of bringing together the values that underpin the values we are trying to teach our students on campus, with foundational skills we need our students to learn as part of academic literacy.

Weideman offers a comprehensive yet concise definition of academic literacy in this blog post. His definition includes skills such as understanding a variety of academic vocabulary in context, making distinctions between essential and non-essential information and knowing what counts as evidence (Wideman, n.d.). The skills Weideman describes are essential for success in numerous educational contexts.

I would add that academic integrity literacy necessarily goes beyond the development of skills to include an explicit understanding of the values that underpin integrity and a conscious commitment to upholding those values.

The International Center for Academic Integrity offers an excellent guide to explain these six Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity:

  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Fairness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Courage

What is the difference between academic integrity and academic misconduct?

This is a question that people ask me often.

Integrity advocates differentiate academic integrity from academic misconduct for a couple of reasons. First, misconduct casts a negative lens on the issue, where as a focus on integrity shifts the conversation to a more positive and supportive view. Second, misconduct focuses on unacceptable behaviours or actions that can result in penalties.

Ryerson University explains this key concept: It is the student’s responsibility to know what is expected of them in university.

Memorizing a list of behaviours or skills could seem like an easy way to understand these expectations, but the concept of integrity is more complex than that. It is about taking responsibility for one’s actions and understanding what is acceptable and what is not.

When Julia Christensen Hughes came to our campus in 2017 to talk about academic integrity, she reminded us integrity is rooted in personal code related to morals and values, but misconduct is a violation of laws and standards of practice. She emphasized that values drive behaviour.

Others have mentioned the notion of academic integrity literacy before me. Karanauskienė and colleagues mentioned the term in their paper at a 2018 conference and in another short paper in 2018, as well. However, to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet offered up a concise definition of the term, so let me offer this one:

Definition: Academic integrity literacy is an inseparable combination of values, behaviours, ethical decision-making and skills necessary for academic success.

This is a preliminary definition and we need to talk about and develop further, but it is a place to start.

Here’s a quick video I put together for visual interest:

I’ll wrap up this post by sharing that I’ve just signed a book deal to explore into academic integrity more deeply. I’ll keep you posted on that in future posts, and you can be sure I’ll be digging into this notion as I write.

References

Christensen Hughes, J. (2017, November 24). Understanding academic misconduct: Creating robust cultures of integrity. Paper presented at the University of Calgary, Calgary.

International Center for Academic Integrity. (2014). The fundamental values of academic integrity (2nd ed.). https://academicintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Fundamental-Values-2014.pdf

Karanauskienė, D., Česnaitienė, V. J., Emeljanovas, A. n., Miežienė, B., & Mejeryte-Narkeviciene, K. (2018). Educating academic integrity: Obscure forms of academic misconduct at the institutions of higher education. Paper presented at the International Academic Conference, Dresden.

Karanauskienė, D., Česnaitienė, V. J., Miežienė, B., & Emeljanovas, A. n. (2018). Differences in understanding academic integrity: A Lithuanian case. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond, 3(17), 6-7. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329964165_Cheating_and_Plagiarism_in_Higher_Education_Higher_Education_in_Russia_and_Beyond_HERB.

Ryerson University. (n.d.). What is integrity and misconduct. Retrieved from https://www.ryerson.ca/academicintegrity/students/what-is-integrity-and-misconduct/

Weideman, A. (n.d.). What is academic literacy? [Blog post].  Retrieved from https://albertweideman.com/what-is-academic-literacy/

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


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