#ICAI2021 Re-cap: My Reflections on International Collaborations

March 5, 2021

I was delighted to take part in three sessions for the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) conference, which was held online this week. With over 1200 registrants, this was the largest ICAI conference ever.

In terms of my own contributions to the conference, this year I focused on collaborative work with others. For me, this means that the work is conceptualized and developed jointly, every step of the way. The end result is stronger, more interesting, and more dynamic than if it had been created by any one individual alone. In an article I co-authored with Rachael Edino a few years ago, we showed that academic integrity research in Canada has mostly been small scale and has lacked collaboration across institutions and across countries. Ever since, I have been on a mission to actively engage in and promote research collaborations that not only include researchers from multiple institutions, but extend to international partnerships, too. I am super excited to say that goal was certainly achieved through collaborative presentations at this year’s ICAI conference, as I had the opportunity to showcase work with 6 colleagues and 1 PhD student, spread out across 7 countries. Here’s a recap:

Student Perspectives on the Impact of Race in Educational Surveillance and Proctoring Technologies

Parnther & Eaton #ICAI2021 Slide 1

Ceceilia Parnther, St. John’s University, USA

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary, Canada

Presentation date: March 1, 2021

# of registered session participants: 349

Parnther & Eaton #ICAI2021 Slide 2

Session re-cap: We brought a critical race perspective to electronic and remote proctoring technologies that have become prevalent during COVID-19. E-proctoring is a rapidly growing technology for higher-education institutions. Although this technology is promoted as a method to promote academic integrity by offering faculty control over the remote testing environment, students have expressed concern and anxiety about these monitoring tools. Specifically, students note anxiety and discomfort resulting from the use of these tools. These feelings may be exacerbated for students of colour due to the algorithmic biases that position whiteness as normative. We interrogate the ethical complexities of e-proctoring and other academic integrity technologies through the lens of equity and diversity.

A Chilean Perspective on Academic Integrity During COVID-19: Analyzing Possible Benefits and Challenges of Online Learning Communities

Moya & Eaton #ICAI2021 - Slide 1

Beatriz Moya Figueroa, University of Calgary, Canada

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary, Canada

Presentation date: March 1, 2021

# of registered session participants: 78

Overview: Beatriz is a new PhD student studying with me at the University of Calgary. This session marked Beatriz’s debut into the international academic integrity community. Due to COVID-19, Beatriz has remained in her home country of Chile throughout the pandemic and has not yet been able to physically come to Canada. She has been getting to know members of the Canadian academic integrity community by joining into our weekly Integrity Hour. This experience of working virtually across several months during Beatriz’s first year as a PhD students served as the basis for this collaborative session.

Session description: The COVID-19 pandemic pushed Chilean universities towards a quick transition into emergency remote teaching. Moreover, faculty identified a rapid increase in academic misconduct cases and the need to promote an academic integrity culture in their institutions. This new scenario called for new strategies to exchange academic integrity practices to help face the pandemic’s obstacles. In this presentation, we analyze the possible benefits and challenges of online learning communities for Chilean higher education institutions inspired by the experience of the Canadian “Integrity hour” online learning community. We also discuss new opportunities as the effects of COVID-19.

You can check out the video recording of our session here.

Publishing Your Academic Integrity Research: Advice From the Editorial Board of the International Journal for Educational Integrity

IJEI Presentation #ICAI2021

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary, Canada

Tomáš Foltýnek, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic

Zeenath Reza Khan, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), UAE

Thomas Lancaster, Imperial College London, UK

Ann Rogerson, University of Wollongong, Australia

Presentation date: March 4, 2021

# of registered session participants: 77

Whova - Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 12.13.28 PM - IJEI

Session recap: We offered an interactive workshop on how to publish your academic integrity research. This session is offered by editorial board members of the International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Learning Outcomes:
Understand what makes excellent quality academic integrity research; what is publishable in a high-quality peer-reviewed journal and what is not; Understand how to prepare a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed scholarly journal; Learn how the journals’ scope and submission guidelines are important for prospective authors; Discuss pitfalls of the publication process and how to avoid them; and Gain insights into what double-blind peer review is and how it works. Check out an abbreviated session recording here.

Reflections: This session was the most logistically complex, by far. We had 5 presenters co-presenting in real time from 5 countries across 5 very different time zones. The session was held at 14:00 Eastern, which meant that Ann Rogerson was just rolling out of bed at 06:00 the next day in Wollongong. Needless to say, she arrived with coffee in hand. Meanwhile, Zeenath Reza Khan was looking forward to going to bed after the workshop, as the session was starting at 11:00 p.m. for her over in Dubai. It was noon for me in Calgary, 19:00 for Thomas Lancaster in the UK, and 20:00 for Tomáš Foltýnek in Brno.

This was the first time the five of us had ever co-presented together and our preparations for this session happened entirely asynchronously, using Google slides and also corresponding via e-mail to prepare the entire presentation. We each had slides assigned to us to speak to, but due to the time zones, we did not do a practice run for the session. For me, this was the most incredible presentation as it was truly a privilege to collaborate with so many dedicated colleagues from so many corners of the world. I can’t say for sure, but I think we might have been the most internationally diverse presentation team at this year’s conference.

Concluding Reflections

The conference organizers did a tremendous job of planning and delivering an excellent online event. None of the sessions I took part in either as a co-presenter or as a participant had any technical issues, which really speaks to how much preparation went into this conference prior to the event and “in the background” during the conference itself.

As others with expertise in educational technology will attest, the technology works best when it is invisible. That is to say, when there are technology problems, everyone turns their focus to the tech issues, often at the expense of developing human connections. In this case, the technology itself was very much invisible and the opportunity to connect with fellow collaborators in a very human sense was a highlight of the conference for me.

I think the most remarkable part of co-presenting all of these sessions is that the virtual environment facilitated and provided opportunities to collaborate across countries and time zones. Although I have had the pleasure of meeting Ann Rogerson and Thomas Lancaster in person at previous events, I have yet to meet any of my other fellow collaborators “in real life”. I very much look forward to the day when that happens.

In expect that by the time we get the meet face to face, it will be like meeting old friends and we will slip into conversations and laughter easily. To be able to collaborate with so many international colleagues from across continents was a special and remarkable aspect to this virtual conference.


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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.

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