Call for Proposals: Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity

January 2, 2019


We invite submissions for the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity. All submissions will undergo double-blind peer review. Successful proposals will be invited to submit full papers for peer-reviewed proceedings.

Submit your proposal here:


500 words, maximum. Summarize the scope, purpose, results and educational implication of your work. Indicate the value of your proposed submission to symposium participants.

Include 5-10 keywords. We encourage the use of  “Canada” as one of your keywords.

Types of submissions

Paper: We welcome a variety of formats including but not limited to: Empirical research, conceptual scholarship, policy analyses, evidence-informed position papers, community outreach and case studies. Submissions should be substantiated with high quality evidence (e.g. references). Time: 20 minutes, with and additional 5 minutes for Q & A

Poster: We welcome posters that showcase one of these particular kinds of contributions:

  • institutional initiatives (departmental, faculty or institutional)
  • student inquiry / research

All presenters are expected to register for the conference and pay the registration fee, even if only one presenter shares the work on behalf of a partnership or a group.

We regret that we are unable to accommodate virtual presentations. Presenters must attend in person to share their work.

Author Guidelines

We request that authors attend to these submission guidelines:

  • Submit in Word format.
  • English is the primary language of the conference.
  • Submissions should be approximately 500 words, including references.
  • 2-3 Key learning outcomes. “At the end of the session, participants will be able to…”
  • How to make your session interactive.
  • Include tables and figures within the body of your submission, labelled as per APA.
  • Use APA 6th edition for style, formatting, citations and references
  • Double-spaced
  • 12-point font
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Title: Maximum 12 words
  • Use concise headings
  • Use up to three levels of headings.
  • Organize your submission with key elements such as: Introduction; Conceptual/Theoretical Framework; Methodology / Approach; Results / Findings; Significance/Implications; Conclusion; References. (These are just suggestions.)
  • Author bios – 50 words each.

Ensure all sources cited in the body of your submission are also listed in the References. Limit self-citations to a maximum of 3 sources.

Submissions should be blind, meaning that author information should not appear anywhere in the paper. Author information should also be stripped out of the metadata (i.e. document properties).

Ensure your submission clearly shows the value-add your submission would have for symposium participants.

The submitting author is responsible for ensuring that any and all co-authors have read and approved the final submission.

Check out the full symposium details here: . Registration fees apply.

Deadline to submit proposals: Extended to February 15, 2019!

Check out our Quick Guide with tips on how to submit your proposal – csai – proposal submission quick guide


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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.



Research Assistant job posting – Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity – April 2019

October 24, 2018

University of Calgary logoWe are planning a national symposium on academic integrity at the University of Calgary. I’ll be sharing more details about the symposium soon. Right now, we are looking for a Research Assistant to help us with the planning, organization and management of the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity – April 17-18, 2019.

A job description is below. We are expecting this role to have an increasing time commitment as we approach the actual event in April, so availability during March and April 2019 is critical.

This position is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, currently enrolled at the University of Calgary. Being currently enrolled as a student at the University of Calgary is a requirement for this position.

There is one position available and the person must be available to work in person on campus. A full job description follows.

Research Assistant – Job Description

Project: Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity – April 17-18, 2019

Start date: Immediate

Maximum: 12 hours/week (3 hour shifts) – Scheduled as per project needs.

Work term: Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 terms

Work location: University of Calgary, main campus

Job Description:

The Research Assistant is responsible for working as part of the symposium planning team that supports the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity

Duties include:

  • Attend and actively participate in team meetings.
  • Assist with symposium planning and logistics.
  • Assist with symposium promotion, including social media.
  • Maintain detailed and organized project documentation, including reports, team meeting notes, etc.
  • Manage a team of student volunteers.
  • Assist with the preparation and publication of peer-reviewed conference proceedings.
  • Communicate with conference participants, as needed.
  • Assist with clerical work as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Previous Experience/Qualifications:

  • Must be currently enrolled as a student at the University of Calgary.
  • Previous experience with event planning and/or volunteer coordination is an asset.
  • Independent and self-driven candidate is ideal.
  • Ability to function independently yet collaboratively within a team.
  • Attention to detail is critical.
  • Exceptional communication skills required to interact with other staff members, conference participants.
  • Excellent oral and written skills in English.
  • Commit to being fully available in person for conference preparations April 8—16, 2019.
  • Commit to attending the symposium in person for full-days on April 17-18, 2019.

Additional Information:

This is a part-time, casual position. We anticipate this role will include a maximum of 175 hours, distributed over shifts of not less than 3 hours and not more than 7 hours, with a maximum of 12 hours per week. There will be no hours scheduled on weekends or statutory holidays.

This is an on-campus position and the successful individual must be available in person for team meetings.

Application deadline: Friday, November 16, 2018

Please submit your cover letter and c.v. to the Symposium Co-Chairs:

Dr. Sarah Elaine EatonDr. Jennifer Lock, and  Dr. Meadow Schroeder


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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.


Participatory Methodology in Education

August 28, 2018

U of C logo - 2015I am excited to be teaching this doctoral level methodology course this fall.

Course Overview:

A survey of educational research methodologies broadly defined as ‘participatory’ – i.e., intended to support the involvement of as many interested and affected agents and agencies as possible and oriented toward meaningful, impactful, and sustainable action.

Course Description:

The aim of this course is to support your understanding of assumptions underpinning a range of theoretical traditions and their relationships to participatory research methodologies. You will examine and locate various theories according to their source and tradition, and will examine these theories against the backdrop of the intellectual traditions from which they originate. In examining each of these theories and their associated methodologies, you will begin to clarify your epistemological, ontological, and axiological stances in relation to participatory research methodologies. This is a reflexive process that will require you to begin to develop an understanding of your role as a researcher and your relationships to your research context and its participants.

This course supports your coming to make sense of the nuanced relationship between the researcher and his or her research context by way of working through the early intricacies of placing the self within the research inquiry. It helps you to understand and challenge the assumptions you bring to research through such questions as: What is the nature of reality? How does a worldview influence a perspective on the nature of knowledge? Where and how does knowledge come to be located and positioned? What knowledge counts as a legitimate way of knowing? What are the variant ways in which we come to know? How do we come to know and understand through different interpretive frameworks?  What are the ways in which knowledge is signified?  How might previous experiences and values influence choices of a research inquiry, a methodology, and associated methods? In looking across these research traditions and methodologies, the intent is for you to delve into their pragmatics and problematics, as well as to develop an understanding of the relationship between methodologies and methods.  To this end, we will examine closely the notion of commensurability in research designs. Throughout this course we will how we come to know what constitutes a research problem, how do we make sense/identify/mark/frame a particular lived experience as being researchable, what is the purpose of your research, what is the importance of the research and what are the ways in which a specific subject matter becomes the focus of inquiry. In particular, the course helps you get situated ethically and conceptually.

 Learning Objectives:

To consider the epistemological, ontological and axiological assumptions within the primary research paradigms and educational research methodologies.

  • To examine the conceptual influences behind participatory methodologies, and distinguish key movements and emphases in participatory methodologies.
  • To articulate an understanding of conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of educational research including the interwoven nature of research questions, research methodology and methods.
  • To partake in a reflexive inquiry concerning your values, perspectives, beliefs, experiences and understandings about research.

Approved Fall 2018 EDER 701.09 L01- Participatory Methodology in Education – Eaton


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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.

New article: Strengthening the research agenda of educational integrity in Canada

July 25, 2018

There’s been lots of research done about plagiarism, cheating and other topics related to academic integrity, but how much of it has actually been done in — or about — Canada? That’s the question my co-author, Rachael Ileh Edino, and I asked when we set out on a journey to review the published research literature about these topics, casting a specific lens on the Canadian context.

The results have been published by the International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Article screen shot.jpeg


We present findings of a literature review on the topic of educational integrity in the Canadian context. Our search revealed 56 sources, published between 1992 and 2017. A historical overview showed a rise in the number of scholarly publications in recent years, but with an overall limited number of research contributions. We identified three major themes in the literature: (a) empirical research; (b) prevention and professional development; and (c) other (scholarly essay). Our analysis showed little evidence of sustained research programs in Canada over time or national funding to support integrity-related inquiry. We also found that graduate students who completed their theses on topics related to educational integrity often have not published further work in the field later in their careers. We provide five concrete recommendations to elevate and accelerate the research agenda on educational integrity in Canada on a national level. We conclude with a call to action for increased research to better understand the particular characteristics of educational integrity in Canada.

Check out the entire article: Strengthening the research agenda of educational integrity in Canada: a review of the research literature and call to action.


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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.


Online Academic Integrity Tutorial for Graduate Students

June 26, 2018

I am super excited to share a new resource with you. I’ve been working with colleagues, Jennifer Lock and Meadow Schroeder, to develop an online tutorial to help graduate students in our school’s online and blended programs improve their knowledge about academic integrity.

In 2017, we received a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant from the University of Calgary to develop, test, and research the effectiveness of this online tutorial. What’s cool about this project is that until now, there has been very little support for students in our online and blended programs to access support. They’ve always had to come to campus to attend a face-to-face workshop. This tutorial represents a new era in supporting the success of online graduate students!

Check out our project website:

AI Tutorial website jpg.jpg

The tutorial is housed within our learning management system. It is only accessible to students enrolled in graduate programs in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

But I can tell you about it! The tutorial is designed to help students learn about these key topics:

  • Plagiarism
  • Self-Plagiarism
  • Cheating
  • Collusion
  • Contract Cheating
  • Preventing Breaches of Integrity in Graduate Work.

Here’s a screen shot:

Screen shot - AI tutorial Werklund jpg.jpg

We are launching the tutorial this week, just in time for students who start their summer courses in July.

We are excited about this project not only because it provides support to our online students, but also because we get to study how well the tutorial works because of the generosity of a research grant. I’ll keep you posted on how this project goes. Time to celebrate the launch of our tutorial!


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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.

Lessons learned from 2 Million blog views

June 5, 2018

8 years.

614 posts.



According to the blog stats, I’ve recently topped two million all-time blog views, with over 1.2 million visitors (some of whom have viewed more than one post, obviously):

All time views - posts

Here are some things I’ve learned about blogging as a result of this experience:

Keep on blogging

I know so many people who have started blogs, only to abandon them because they got too busy, got frustrated when they didn’t get a massive following instantly or just got bored.

Here’s a high-level graph that shows a steady increase in blog views and visitors over the years:


Of course, the stats for 2018 are lower because year isn’t half over yet. But if you look at 2010 through 2017, you can see that the number of individual views, as well as the number of visitors, has increased steadily over time.

The graph below breaks it down a bit more. It shows how many views my blog has had over the months and years since I started it in February, 2010. Darker colours represent more views.

All time views - Months and years.jpg

In 2018, my monthly average has been about 39.9 thousand views per month, from January through May. (Given that I’m writing this post in early June, 2018, the numbers for this month don’t look very impressive, but that block will be dark blue by the end of the month.)

The number of views has increased consistently over time. The average number of views per month in 2010 was under 1400. What I had as a monthly average number of views in my first year of blogging is now almost my daily average!

When I tell people that my blog now gets over 1000 views per day, they look at me in disbelief, but here are the stats:

Average per day.jpg

Again, the numbers for June 2018 look low because that’s a monthly total and we’re still at the beginning of the month and that number is the average for the entire month. That number will increase throughout the month.

Look at all the light grey in the first two years of my blog. The real increases started to show in year 3 (2012). If I had given up blogging, I would never have seen those increases. My lesson learned here is: Keep on blogging, even when you think no one is reading. More readers will stop by as your blog gets populated with content.

Your progress is relative

There are some superstar bloggers out there who get millions of views every week. Some bloggers make money from their blogs, and others even blog for a living. But that was never my intention. My goal with my blog has been consistent: to share and archive content, document my own professional and learning experiences and offer tips to students and educators. The number of views and visitors is relative to the industry you work in, your purpose for blogging and how much content you share.

Sometimes you don’t know the reason for the stats

My best day for blog views was April 7, 2014:

All time views - posts

What happened that day? Nothing special, as far as I can tell. I didn’t even post that day. It was a complete fluke. I have no idea why that day in 2014 was my all-time daily maximum for blog views.

My learning from this is to not get too hung up on trying to achieve every day. Progress happens over time. Blips and flukes happen, too. The important thing is to not give up and stick with it.

Try different things

I have tried all kinds of different things over the years. I’ve written features about educators who inspired me (like this post about Deaf educator, Brent Novodvorski, for example). In 2012, I did a weekly series where I posted my favourite resources of the week. I have also used my blog as a space to archive material that I wanted to share online with readers, like this APA Checklist for Term Papers.

I have tried all kinds of different things over the years. My learning from this is that experimenting helped me to figure out what works. It also helped me to figure out what kind of blogger I want to be.

Develop your blogging identity

I have worked as an educator since 1994. It’s no secret that I love teaching! I love interacting with students, whether they are in a classroom or online. While I may have been experimental with my posts at times, I’ve been consistent that my blog has always been focused on learning in one way or another. I don’t post recipes or tips to improve your health or fitness. I post about education. My followers have come to expect posts about learning, teaching, leadership or a related topic.

My learning from this is to develop an identity as a blogger. I have grown and developed as both an educator and a blogger since I started my blog. I engage in regular reflection about what I have learned and what I still want to learn. For me, my professional growth and my development as a blogger have gone hand-in-hand over the past eight years.

Followers come from different places

Apparently, my blog has over 5000 followers:


Some folks follow along on WordPress, others get an e-mail every time a post is published and still others follow along on social media. WordPress doesn’t give me much information about who these followers are, but all I can say is, “Thank you!” I appreciate that you have read, liked and commented (or even just lurked) over the years. It makes me feel that my blog with worthwhile to you. What better reward could there be?

Approach comments with caution

Regular followers will know that I shut down the comments section on my blog a few years ago. For a long time, I was really excited to get comments on my blog. But then, things took a dark turn once the blog started to really gain views. The nature of some of the comments sometimes became rude, aggressive or abusive.

I expect that anyone who has spent a lot of time blogging has encountered something similar. I understand there are different thoughts on how to approach this. Some people believe that there’s no such thing as bad publicity and the more flaming comments, the better. Me, not so much. Ultimately, I decided to shut down the comments function. I still really appreciate it when people hit the “Like” button at the end of a post, but I’m not sure I’ll ever re-open the comments again.

Your blog can be an incubator for ideas

One highlight about developing my identity as a blogger and as a professional is that in 2010, the first year of my blog I wrote a post called, “Are your students plagiarizing? Here’s how you find out”. I wrote a few other posts about plagiarism over the next year. Several years later, academic integrity has developed into a major research area for me. In 2017, I published my first peer-reviewed research article on plagiarism.

My learning from this is that your blog can be a place where your ideas germinate and incubate. I think those early posts in plagiarism in 2010 planted a seed that grew over the years.

People sometimes steal your content

I am sorry to say that some of my best content has been replicated on other people’s blogs or sites without attribution to me. Of course this makes me sad and angry. I sometimes wonder if that experience was part of the reason my interest in plagiarism as a research interest developed? Not sure.

I have learned the hard way that there are some people who feel entitled to lift whatever they want off the Internet and claim it as their own.

At one point, I was so upset this by this, I took a long hiatus from blogging. I almost abandoned my blog altogether. Instead, I learned a few tips and tricks. I’ll share these in a future post. (Wink, wink!)

My advice for bloggers

My key piece of advice for bloggers is: Stick with it. Your blog is an expression of you and your ideas over time. Share whatever you want. Some people will love it and others won’t. That’s OK.

If people leave you hurtful comments, turn off the comments. Your blog is about you and those who appreciate the effort you put into it. Experiment. Try different things. No blog is perfect, so don’t aim for perfection. Aim to be yourself and share whatever inspires you. Over time, I bet you’ll be surprised to see how you grow as a result.

Blog on, my friends!


Share or Tweet this: Lessons learned from 2 Million blog views

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.

Academic doping and “smart drugs”: What educators need to know

May 15, 2018


Image courtesy of patrisyu at

Image courtesy of patrisyu at

When athletes use performance-enhancing drugs it is called “doping”, but the practice has moved from the locker room to the study halls, as students have taken up the practice to help them perform better on exams and in-class. The informal or slang term for these substances is “smart drugs” because students are promised that the substances will make them smarter, at least temporarily. When used for academic performance enhancement, it’s called “academic doping” or, if you prefer a more formal term, “pharmacologic cognitive enhancement” (Aikins, Zhang, & McCabe, 2017, p. 230).

What are “smart drugs”?

These substances are most often stimulants or cognitive-enhancing drugs (CEDS) (Aikins, Zhang, & McCabe, 2017). They generally fall into two categories. The first is actual prescription medications that are used for non-medical purposes, with the most popular being Adderall®, Ritalin®  and Modafinil®, which is also known as Provigil® (Aikins, 2011; Aikins, Zhang, & McCabe, 2017, Vaughan & Diver, 2018). The second category are poor quality versions of these drugs made illegally, often in Russia, India and China (Vaughan & Diver, 2018).

In terms of how students acquire them, some get a prescription. Others buy from prescription users. Still others buy their supply from the Internet, specifically, the dark web, and have the goods delivered straight to their home address (Vaughan & Diver, 2018).

Why do students engage in academic doping?

There are a few reasons why students might think that taking performance-enhancing drugs is a good idea. The first is the pressure on students to succeed (Aikins, 2011; Vaughan & Diver, 2018). Another is that some students may simply want to experiment (Aikins, 2011). Aikins (2011) offers an excellent overview of the reasons students might take illicit drugs in general, and it’s important to note that there is no single reason why students might take drugs to help them perform better in exams or other learning tasks.

How prevalent is academic doping?

Aikins, Zhang, & McCabe (2017) summarize the results of previous studies on the use of non-medical use of prescription stimulants (NMUPs) which showed that anywhere from 7% to 35.5% of students have used prescription drugs for academic performance enhancement. There seems to be very little data about how many students are using the illegally made versions of these drugs. But in any case, these rates would probably be higher than most parents, faculty members or policy makers might suspect.

Do “smart drugs” really work?

There are users who post information about how well they believe these substances work for them. Having said that, Aikins, Zhang, & McCabe (2017) found that “there is little real world data proving that” students who engage in academic doping “experience any actual academic gains” (p. 231). So basically, students who self-medicate seem to think that these drugs will give them an advantage, but there’s not much in the way of actual data to support that idea.

The bottom line is that it is important for parents, educators and higher education policy makers to understand that academic doping is real and students can sometimes make poor choices because they feel pressure to succeed. It is up to us as educators to show we care about students’ well-being and health and to send a clear message that long-term success does not come in a pill bottle.


Aikins, R. (2011). A qualitative study of the perceptions and habits of prescription stimulant–using college students. Journal of College Student Development, 52(5). doi:10.1353/csd.2011.0064

Aikins, R., Zhang, X., & McCabe, S. E. (2017). Academic doping: Institutional policies regarding nonmedical use of prescription stimulants in U.S. higher education. Journal of Academic Ethics, 15(3), 229-243. doi:10.1007/s10805-017-9291-0

Asprey, D. (n.d.). Modafinil: The rise of smart drugs.  Retrieved from

Vaughan, R., & Diver, T. (2018). Exclusive: University students turn to dark web for performance enhancing ‘smart drugs’. iNews. Retrieved from


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This blog has had over 1.9 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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