Remix

Why adapt your learning activities?

Sometimes academic integrity can come across as a boring or remedial topic. A key challenge for teachers is to find ways of shaking things up, remixing and adapting teaching and learning activities in ways that make academic integrity engaging and meaningful to students.

"Academic integrity is not a universal constant." (Student focus group, University E: FG3)

We all appreciate that different students or contexts require different teaching and learning strategies. For instance, you might have first year, international, masters or transnational student cohorts, and you might be presenting your teaching to small or large classes, face-to-face or online. You also might have students who are proficient in a range of new research or collaborative writing tools or platforms, who might need reminding about the academic expectations regarding production of their own work and acknowledgement of sources.

"Just when you think you have a handle on what breaches are, there is always something new and out of the blue." (Academic integrity decision maker focus group, University E: FG3)

Most teachers have become proficient at adapting their material to their very different students or contexts.  Some teachers go the extra mile to adapt their teaching material or methods to challenge students to think out of the box about appropriate acknowledgment practices:

"I actually constructed a lecture where, for the first two or three minutes, the verbiage was all full of common quoting – just blah, blah, blah - and then after 10 minutes I said “Does anyone have any problems with that so far?” I then put the speech up as a text without any authors and asked again “Any problems with that?” before I started to unpack who cited this, who cited that  ... there might have some really famous ones from Shakespeare and then some less famous ones from other people.  Some students might say you should have cited everything.  Some students say you should cite nothing.  I think you get a whole lot of interesting arguments." (Academic developer focus group, University B: FG8)

Because of the possible negative impact on their learning outcomes and future careers, it is increasingly important for teachers to find ways of engaging students in the discussion of academic integrity. Simply directing students to their institution's policy or to online instructional guides just isn't enough to help them understand the value of academic integrity, or help them avoid making mistakes.

"How can people learn if they aren’t allowed to make mistakes?" (Learning advisor focus group, University B: FG1)

To start with, quite often these policies are written in bureucratic jargon that very few students would be able to quickly process and apply to their own study practices. Also, these resources that focus on procedures relating to breaches of academic integrity often don't seen relevant to new students who have yet to commit a breach of academic integrity, as very few would plan to cheat or plagiarise at the start of their studies. Quite often students who do commit a breach of academic integrity either haven’t been educated about what to do, or  haven’t been helped to forge the connections between the stringent policy rules and the expectations for their own particular study and writing practices.

"I think terms like plagiarism sound pretty horrible and you just want to avoid it.  That is a deficit model.  I think you need to have a least a real sense of direction and purpose and plagiarism doesn’t do that.  I don’t think academic integrity does it either.  I think you need something much more active and dynamic.  Academic integrity itself is  positive, but it’s passive."  (Academic developer focus group, University B: FG8)

Ideas for remixing academic integrity activities

 

1. Provoke discussion
Many teachers have become proficient at adapting their material to their very different students or contexts.  Some teachers go the extra mile to adapt their teaching material or methods to challenge students to think out of the box about appropriate acknowledgment practices:

"I actually constructed a lecture where, for the first two or three minutes, the verbiage was all full of common quoting – just blah, blah, blah - and then after 10 minutes I said “Does anyone have any problems with that so far?” I then put the speech up as a text without any authors and asked again “Any problems with that?” before I start to unpack who cited this, who cited that  ... there might have some really famous quotes from Shakespeare and then some less famous ones from other people.  Some students might say you should have cited everything.  Some students say you should cite nothing.  I think you get a whole lot of interesting arguments." (Academic developer focus group, University B: FG8)

Some discussion-provoking resources about plagiarism, copyright, intellectual property and - by extension - academic integrity include:

2. Run a competition
Students are usually very competitive and can come up with some extraordinary ideas when encouraged to articulate their own understanding of academic integrity. Some recent national or multi-university examples include:

Other competitions might be run inside subjects, either as activities to provoke discussion or embedded as assessment tasks. Some examples include:

You might think of other activities or approaches yourself! Some class activities could be more static and others more interactive, but all could contribute to students' understandings of academic integrity in different contexts, and encourage discussion and engagement with issues of ethical research and writing practice.

Please use the following citation when referring to this resource:
Academic Integrity Standards Project (AISP): Aligning Policy and Practice in Australian Universities (2012). Learning activities, Office for Learning and Teaching Priority Project 2010-2012, http://www.aisp.apfei.edu.au/learning-activities