Dr. Kristin Stockbridge
By Dr. Kristin Stockbridge on February 02, 2021

Academic Integrity in Higher Education - Part I: Honesty

This blog series will be discussing academic integrity and what we as educators can do to ensure academic integrity in our classroom, both in face-to-face and remote learning environments. The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) refers to five pillars or fundamental values in relation to academic integrity. They are: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility1. The Center recently added a sixth value, which is the quality of courage. Each post will provide an in-depth look at each fundamental value and how this applies to our courses and programs.

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This week, we start with honesty. Anyone who has ever taught and at level knows the importance of honesty in the classroom. This concerns cheating on tests or exams, copying a classmate’s work, and both intentional and inadvertent plagiarism. In a poll conducted by the ICAI, 68% of 71,000 college students surveyed admitted to cheating at least once.2 Cheating often occurs when the stakes are high; such as when a course must be passed to move on to the next. Alarmingly, this is also seen in health science programs like mine. A survey conducted with undergraduate nursing students attending between 2002-2015 showed that 39% admitted to cheating on tests, 62% on written assignments, and 68% admitted to cheating on both.3 However, it was found that in nursing programs, the main issue was collaborative cheating (as opposed to individual cheating).

With so many programs moving partially or entirely online during the pandemic, educators are now facing a greater concern regarding academic integrity and cheating. Unlike a face-to-face class, it is much more difficult to ensure that the work being turned in is actually that of the student. Innovative instructional tools like CrossBraining are a solution to that problem. Whether it is a demonstration of hands-on skills or showing how to perform math calculations such as dimensional analysis, CrossBraining provides the instructor with the ability to directly assess students regardless of where the learning is taking place.

With CrossBraining, it’s not just the instructor who benefits. Students are able to demonstrate their knowledge effectively and succinctly through the use of video, self-assessment, and reflection. Instructors are able to view the students’ knowledge of the material, not just in written form, but through actual demonstration. To use the previous math example, CrossBraining takes proof of learning to the next level. Students no longer just hand in their answers to various math problems, but must demonstrate - in their own words and thoughts - how they work through the problem. 

Unlike worksheets whose answers can be found on the internet, video can't be faked. With CrossBraining's videos, instructors can see and hear a student's knowledge. Plus, it's a more engaging way of learning, and all educators know that if a student wants to learn the material, they are less likely to engage in academic dishonesty.

The next blog post will cover Trust. Stay tuned!

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1. “Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity.” International Center for Academic Integrity, ICAI, 2013, www.academicintegrity.org/fundamental-values/

2. Musto, Peter. “How Many College Students Admit to Cheating?” Voice of America, 1 Dec. 2017, www.voanews.com/student-union/how-many-college-students-admit-cheating

3. Adderton, J. “Lost Integrity: When Nursing Students Cheat.” Allnurses®, 6 May 2019, allnurses.com/lost-integrity-when-nursing-students-t699207/.

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Published by Dr. Kristin Stockbridge February 2, 2021
Dr. Kristin Stockbridge