Academic Integrity now consists of six fundamental pillars: Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, and Courage. We have discussed the first four in previous blog posts and will now discuss how they culminate in responsibility and courage. Just like the previous values, these are not just what we should expect from our students, but what we should display as faculty as well. We have a responsibility to our students to provide them with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their education and future career. We need to have courage to think outside the box and go the extra mile to make this happen. When we demonstrate this dedication to our students, they will reward us with the same.
When we make students responsible for their own learning, we will see increased student engagement. But it will take courage to find new ways to increase student engagement. It will take courage to try new assessment methods. And it will take courage to implement new technology. It is not just about sharing our knowledge, but providing our students with the resources in which to be an integral part of the learning process. As Bijal Oza said in this blog:
As educators, it is important to act as facilitators as coaches, and encourage better decision-making.
A very important outcome of self-directed learning, is the establishment of a growth mindset. Students tend to see more value in what they learn, retention is higher, since ownership is on them, and class- room discussions are enhanced due to increased development of critical thinking.
This self-directed approach also helps students develop a higher sense of responsibility since they are in charge of what they take forward from what is taught and presented to them. They not only think about what is taught to them between the four walls, but tend to see beyond. This is the beginning of their preparation for the real world.
The first step is to take a good look at your current methods. Are you providing multiple ways in which students can learn? Are you providing various assessment methods? If not, then it’s time to have the courage to change things up! Start small – this doesn’t require a total rewrite of your curriculum. Choose a topic or assignment and try something new. CrossBraining is a great way to take that first step. CrossBraining allows students to take ownership of their learning and assessment through demonstration, narration, and reflection. You will see that students are no longer just memorizing to take a test or exam, but applying what they have learned in a meaningful and productive way. Providing the student with the ability to be responsible for their learning will foster an environment of fairness and respect while solidifying the relationship of faculty and student through mutual honesty and trust.