Promoting Academic Integrity in Online Learning
ICT and its Benefits
The rapid advancement of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has inevitably changed our lives and world. Floridi (2010) states that the most advanced societies highly depend on information-based, intangible assets, information-intensive services (especially business and property services, communications, finance and insurance, and entertainment), and information-oriented public sectors (especially education, public administration, and health care). Consequently, we will become increasingly synchronized (time), delocalized (space), and correlated (interactions).
The various perspective appears responding to the technology. Some feel pessimistic and doubt about technology, and some others think optimistic about technology. The optimism of technology sees that technology ushers in labor-saving devices and access to information and entertainment, improving productivity and economic growth. Technological optimism sees media and technology as making the world a better place for humanity, increasing people’s choice of available products and services. People also gain social and geographic mobility and control over nature and the human body, such as birth control and reproductive technologies (Floridi, 2010).
Furthermore, technological optimism believes that we have got some benefits from ICTs. ICTs have brought concrete and imminent opportunities of enormous use to people’s education, welfare, prosperity, and improvement, as well as significant economic and scientific advantages. ICTs also carry substantial risks and generate dilemmas and profound questions about the nature of reality and our knowledge of it, the development of information-intensive sciences (e-science), the organization of a fair society (consider the digital divide), our responsibilities and obligations to present and future generations, our understanding of a globalized world, and the scope of our potential interactions with the environment. As a result, they have significantly outpaced our understanding of their conceptual nature and implications while raising problems whose complexity and global dimensions are rapidly expanding, evolving, and becoming increasingly severe (Floridi, 2010).
Along with the ICT development, information sharing inevitably spread without any borders. How can we respond to this limitless information sharing? Floridi (2010) recommends that information ethics be considered to check informational resources’ availability, accessibility, and accuracy, independently of their format, kind, and physical support. Examples of issues in information ethics understood as information as resource ethics are the so-called digital divide, the problem of infoglut, and the analysis of the reliability and trustworthiness of information sources. Thus, information ethics, understood now as information-as-a-product ethics may cover moral issues arising, for example, in the context of accountability, liability, libel legislation, testimony, plagiarism, advertising, propaganda, misinformation, and more generally, the pragmatic rules of communication. Also, we need to check information-as-a-target ethics, including privacy or confidentiality, security, vandalism (from burning libraries and books to disseminating viruses), piracy, intellectual property, open-source, freedom of expression, censorship, filtering, and contents control.
Moreover, Michael Lynch in Paulus et al. (2019: 57) observes that the expansion of digital knowledge, paired with rapid technological change, is “affecting how we know and the responsibilities we have toward that knowledge.” When accessing information via the Internet, we are required to 1) taking responsibility for our own beliefs and 2) working creatively to grasp and reason how information fits together.” This way, if we are to know in more profound ways and to grow in wisdom, we must become reflective, reasonable, responsible, and active believers in truth.
In the context of education, the presence of ICTs has affected how teachers and students communicate in a virtual world such as Learning Management System (LMS), Social Media, emails, and many others. As stated by Paulus et al. (2019: 53), education includes knowledge transfer, of course, yet Christian education is ultimately about the holistic transformation of people. This holistic transformation involves character formation, which depends on learning that is personal and relational. Therefore, the framework of Community of Inquiry (CoI) raises to emphasize the concept and cultivation of social presence—or how authentic relationships with faculty, students, and content occur through mediated communications—are so important in digital learning environments. This point aligns with one of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards, Digital Citizen Advocate. This standard coaches model digital citizenship and support educators and students in recognizing the responsibilities and opportunities inherent in living in a digital world. Particularly, Point 7b points out that partners with educators, leaders, students, and families foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.
“This holistic transformation involves character formation, which depends on learning that is personal and relational.”
To address the importance of Point 7b of the ISTE Standard in the education context, faculty needs to maintain academic integrity in the technology-rich classroom by promoting digital citizenship (Robb & Shellenbarger, 2015).
Figure 1: ISTE Citizenship in the Digital Age Infographic
What is Academic Integrity?
Violations of academic integrity, such as cheating and plagiarism, and other dishonest behaviors. Gallant (2008, cited in McGee, 2013) describes five categories of academic dishonesty, stating that these “terms transcend group boundaries and roles” (p. 10):
1. “Plagiarism—using another’s words or ideas without appropriate attribution or without following citation conventions;
2. Fabrication—making up data, results, information, or numbers, and recording and reporting them;
3. Falsification—manipulating research, data, or results to portray information inaccurately
reports (research, financial, or other) or academic assignments;
4. Misrepresentation—falsely representing oneself, efforts, or abilities; and,
5. Misbehavior—acting in ways that are not overtly misconduct but are counter to general
behavioral expectations.” (p. 10)
Pedagogical Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity
As we know, the increase in online-based learning facilitates educational advances and poses challenges to academic integrity. Academic Integrity is essential to develop long-term and meaningful relationships with a professional group or community, such as school or university. The integrity of online teaching and learning would be enhanced by articulating and enforcing codes of ethical conduct. However, all stakeholders, students, faculty, and administrators should be active participants in writing and implementing these codes (Coleman, 2011). Therefore, educators think of ways to train today’s generation to be responsible and ethical life-long learners of the digital age. Teachers must demonstrate, guide, and help students practice appropriate and professional behavior while actively participating in authentic learning experiences using blogs, wiki spaces, learning management systems, online research, and much more. Then, McGilvery (2012) in Education World proposed tips to prepare students to be TECH SMART when using technology. TECH SMART covers:
Take Care of Technology Equipment,
Explore Appropriate and Safe Sites for Learning and Research,
Copyright Law, Fair Use Act, and Creative Commons Matter,
Help Prevent Cyberbullying,
Self-image Is Important,
Make Use of Netiquette,
Always Give Credit to Original Source,
Remember to Be Effective, Thoughtful, and Ethical Digital Creators,
Think of how, when, why, and for what purpose
Academic dishonesty is a concern of faculty, students, and the public who trust graduates to have the requisite knowledge for their earned degree (Bassendowski and Salgado, 2005; Harper, 2006; Kenny, 2007, cited in Azulay Chertok et al., 2014). Therefore, the University of Missouri System (2020) elaborates on teaching strategies for minimizing academic dishonesty. The strategies include being present for your students, being explicit about academic integrity, fostering intrinsic motivation, offering more low-stakes assessments with scaffolding, communicating expectations for writing and citation, increasing test security, using tools for minimizing academic dishonesty (Turnitin Feedback Studio, Respondus LockDown Browser, and Respondus Monitor).
“Therefore, educators think of ways to train today’s generation to be responsible and ethical life-long learners of the digital age. ”
McGee (2013) proposed strategies to prevent academic dishonesty related to the offense (plagiarism, false identity, cheating), institutional policies, and technology configurations.
- Make Academic Integrity Expectations Clear
- Construct Valid Assessments and Delivery with Foresight
- Make the Most of the Technology
- Utilize Pedagogical Strategies
Azulay Chertok, I. R., Barnes, E. R., & Gilleland, D. (2014). Academic integrity in the online learning environment for health sciences students. Nurse Education Today, 34(10), 1324–1329. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2013.06.002
Coleman, Phillip D. (2012). Ethics, Online Learning and Stakeholder Responsibility for a Code of Conduct in Higher Education, Kentucky Journal of Excellence in College Teaching and Learning, 9(3). Available at: https://encompass.eku.edu/kjectl/vol9/iss1/3
Floridi, L. (2010). A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.spu.edu/lib/spu/reader.action?docID=737413
Hamilton, E. R., Rosenberg, J. M., & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends, 60(5), 433–441. doi:10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y
McGilvery, C. (2012). Promoting Responsible and Ethical Digital Citizens. Education World. https://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/responsible-student-technology-use.shtml
McGee, P. (2013). Supporting Academic Honesty in Online Courses, Journal of Educators Online 10(1). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277197722_Supporting_Academic_Honesty_in_Online_Courses
Paulus, M. J., Baker, B. D., & Langford, M. D., (2019). A Framework for Digital Wisdom in Higher Education, Christian Scholar’s Review XLIX:1, pp. 41-61. https://works.bepress.com/michael_paulus/68/
Robb, M., & Shellenbarger, T. (15 February 2015). Promoting Digital Citizenship and Academic Integrity in Technology Classrooms https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/promoting-digital-citizenship-academic-integrity-technology-classrooms/
The University of Missouri System. Promoting academic integrity in your online class. Retrieved 29 September 2021, from https://keeplearning.umsystem.edu/instructors/exams-and-assignments/promoting-academic-integrity-your-online-class
Mun Shing Cheong
Hi Ignas, thank you for addressing the topic of promoting academic integrity in an online learning setting and laying out the five categories of academic dishonesty. As technology makes things easier for us to learn, it also makes cheating so much easier! I’m supportive of the idea that as technology advances, there is an increased need for educating students on academic integrity. I appreciate you sharing ISTE’s 9 points on what a good digital citizen looks like.
Thanks for leaving a comment. It’s true that we must keep promoting the academic integrity in online learning. ICT is promising, but we need to be wiser complying with the the advancement of ICT.
Congrats on your first entry! It is very ideal to give definitions of the concepts you would like to focus on. Would you also be interested in sharing your personal opinions? How would you as an educator link online education and academic integrity?
Thanks for this comprehensive work!