Academic and Professional Integrity
Academic integrity describes an interdisciplinary concept that highlights the foundations for every level and all levels of education. Academic integrity evokes strong emotions among scholars, instructors, and learners. The discussion around academic integrity revolves around negative behavior such as cheating, plagiarism, fraud, dishonesty, among other educational malpractices that undermine the goals and values of education and the strategies used to curb such conduct. A more effective approach includes promoting a culture of positive values that include honesty, fairness, respect, responsibility, courage, and trust as the inherently inspired drivers of ethical academic practice. Academic integrity requires the efforts and commitment from all stakeholders in academic integrity, not only students, to promote the principles of academic integrity.
Academic integrity forms the central principle of the academic community. Falsifying data to support a hypothesis or stealing the ingenious ideas of other learners erodes the climate of trust besides ruining the opportunities of generating new ideas and enhancing knowledge. Learners are engaged in academic malpractices that undermine its integrity ruin intellectual engagement with discipline while also inhibiting the learning process (“Plagiarism & Academic Integrity | Library”, 2019). Academic dishonesty is not just wrong, but unfair as it gives dishonest students an undue advantage over honest learners. Fraudulent shortcuts to achieve academic success devalue the academic degree and public trust that learners of a faculty or institution possess a certain level of knowledge and ability gained over the course. In an attempt to deter academic fraud, institutions of higher learning have established various strategies of punishing perpetrators including expulsion depending on the academic crime.
Plagiarism is perhaps the most prevalent form of academic fraud and ranges from minor offences to severe cases. Plagiarism sometimes occurs on purposed attempts to deceive course instructors or maybe because learners are unclear about what plagiarism involves. Plagiarism involves stealing and lying about a work that involves other student’s without due credit to the author’s ideas, data, words, and programs. On the extreme cases, students copy or purchase an entire assignment and present it as their original works. The most common instances of plagiarism involve copying other students’ works, phrases, sentences, ideas, and arguments without providing sources of information.
Other prohibited behaviours include cheating on examinations and assignments. Lecturers may find it difficult to track all student behaviour and responses to academic tasks, especially on take away assignment and malpractices during examinations. The most prevalent forms of cheating on scholarly works include copying from other students or allowing other students to copy your work. Students have also invented various methods of using study aids, devices, and cheat sheets during examinations despite the levels of inspection and invigilation. Other common trends of cheating involve purchasing copies of examination, written and creative works. Learners should consult with their instructors to know what constitutes to acceptable use of test aides and references.
Promoting Academic Integrity
Instructors at learning institutions have a difficult task of ensuring that students can thrive in an environment free of academic fraud and enhancing integrity. The various departments and faculties of an institution spell out in the students’ code of conduct the importance of maintaining academic integrity and honesty in multiple courses. The university community is expected to portray integrity in all sectors including academic work, which places teaching assistants at a position to influence, motivate, model, and promote integrity among learners as they write their assignments. Academic integrity reflects in the way learners become honest workers and display ethical conduct that enables them to take full credit of their original works, while also appreciating the input of other scholars. The primary responsibility of instructors and teaching assistants is preventing instances of academic fraud besides reacting to incidences of academic dishonesty. This occurs by instilling a healthy sense of integrity and pride among students, their works, and the profession.
Various strategies have been incorporated into the learning modules to enhance academic integrity. Instructors have also devised creative methods to curb academic dishonesty. Some of the plans include pre-planning approaches to dealing with issues of academic honesty. This calls for discussions within the faculty on the most suitable strategy of instilling the sense of the value of work among learners and procedures of dealing with dishonest conduct. Instructors should seize the opportunity during the first class to emphasize the need for academic honesty and discussing the ethical standards for the course and possible consequences for non-compliance (“Promoting Academic Integrity | Teaching at UNL | Nebraska”, 2019). Additionally, lecturers must define the criteria used in evaluating and grading students’ works to establish acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the course. Lecturers should foster productive interaction and responses with students to help them out in difficulties alongside ensuring equal access to study material.
Instructors at learning facilities can adopt various strategies to promote honesty in written assignments. Some steps include teaching students methods of conducting and presenting research and term papers adequately, means of attribution by describing and giving examples of paraphrasing, plagiarism, and direct citation, assigning specific topics, demanding drafts for assignments for feedback before proceeding to write a full paper, and discussing areas of difficulties in assignments. Instructors need to provide specific guidelines for written assignments method of evaluation and describe what is expected in every task. Besides, instructors need to identify ways of dealing with and directly confronting instances of dishonesty immediately where they suspect cheating or plagiarism.
Plagiarism & Academic Integrity | Library. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/get-assistance/writing/citations/plagiarism-academic-integrity
Promoting Academic Integrity | Teaching at UNL | Nebraska. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.unl.edu/gtahandbook/promoting-academic-integrity