The Library and Academic Integrity

Notes from the Instructor Development Program session of April 24, 2014, 1-2 pm, Moffitt 550C



Richard Freishtat, Center for Teaching and Learning
Corliss Lee, Doe-Moffitt Library Instruction and User Services



  1. Overview of the work of the campus-wide Academic Integrity Task Force
  2. Review and comment on the draft web site for academic integrity at Berkeley
  3. Discussion on the role of the Library in supporting Academic Integrity



Academic integrity is at the heart of scholarly communication and integral to the purpose of libraries - if future scholars are uninterested in properly citing sources and acknowledging the research of others, they will hardly see the point of libraries.

Additionally, in 2013 the campus adopted an Honor Code that was developed by the ASUC in conjunction with the Graduate Assembly, the Academic Senate, and the L&S Deans.


Motivating academic integrity

Re-frame the discussion to motivate students.  There is a punitive stance against cheating.  We should round this out by emphasizing prevention as well  and providing support for academic integrity.

Explain that citing references, giving credit to sources, avoiding plagiarism, and other ethical academic conduct may impress instructors and yield stronger assignments that raise grades.  "I'm going to teach you how to write a paper that gets you higher grades" is more motivating than "Cite your sources to avoid plagiarism."  The Berkeley Student Learning Center takes this "strategies for academic success" perspective in their programming.


The Academic Integrity Task Force at Berkeley

The Task Force consists of diverse academic partners including the Student Learning Center, the Athletic Study Center, the Library, the Berkeley International Office, and more.

Currently, the Task Force is evaluating the state of academic integrity on campus.  It has learned that the definitions of academic integrity vary and are nuanced and complex.  What is collaboration in one class may be cheating in another.  These views may vary from class to class and among the disciplines.  And did you know that sharing lecture notes on a public website could constitute academic misconduct since the content is the intellectual property of the instructor?

Generally agreed upon values for academic integrity include honesty, responsibility, and openness.  However, a universal definition is difficult.  Consequently, support for academic integrity requires a flexible approach that is context-specific, particularly with student expectations and academic backgrounds.

Another key finding is that the discourse on academic integrity focuses on punishment, and needs to shift towards prevention.  Sometimes academic dishonesty or misconduct is accidental or due to ignorance.  Students need training on best practices to avoid these problems.

The Task Force is looking to compile faculty, staff, and student resources to raise awareness on academic integrity and its fundamental practices.  Training needs to be integrated into the curriculum with expectations and skills that are appropriate to the student's academic level and discipline.


Berkeley's Academic Integrity website (beta)

This website (in beta) pulls together information on defining and promoting academic integrity.  It outlines approaches for course design, and there are procedures for suspected breaches to academic integrity.


At other organizations

Did you know there is an International Center for Academic Integrity?  Five UCs have joined.  This group has developed an Academic Integrity Rating System with benchmarks and assessment for the institutionalization of academic integrity in academic environments.  They also prepared a bibliography of top articles and book chapters on academic integrity from 1992 to 2012.

The UC San Diego Academic Integrity Office website provides resources on responding to academic integrity violations.  The university even has an academic integrity contest where participants win reserved parking spots and book store gift certificates.

UCLA offers a student guide to academic integrity, and the Library has developed Carlos and Eddie's Guide to Bruin Success with Less Stress.

The UC Davis Student Judicial Affairs website defines academic integrity and explains its role in scholarship.


Best practices for faculty and instructors

  • Take the time to educate students about the UC Berkeley Honor Code and compliance.
  • Talk to students about academic integrity.  It's part of the process learning that accompanies students' content learning.  Explain why academic integrity is important, the consequences, and how to conform.  Teach students the necessary habits of learning and scholarship.
  • Explain your requirements for academic integrity clearly since there is variation in student definitions due to prior classes and instructors.  For example, group collaboration and writing for projects might have been encouraged in prior classes.
  • Provide clear grading rubrics that outline what students need to do for a research paper and provide clear directions on citing the literature and other sources.
  • Have students turn in draft papers before their final version.  This may prevent students from getting to the point where they engage in academic misconduct inadvertently or intentionally out of desperation.


What can UC Berkeley Library personnel do?

  • Introduce the discussion of academic integrity into library classes and reference sessions.  Remind students to cite their sources, to be clear and honest about the resources they use, to beware of plagiarism, and to recognize the high expectations for academic integrity despite rumors or evidence that cheating and copying are rampant.
  • Publicize the UC Berkeley Academic Integrity website.
  • Discuss and share best practices for promoting academic integrity.
  • Reach out to the Academic Integrity Task Force via Richard Freishtat at the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Corliss Lee, Doe-Moffitt Library Instruction and User Services.
  • Develop instructional materials and library guides that help patrons act with academic integrity.  Encourage students to use the tutorial on conducting library research.
  • Consider a library-sponsored event for Academic Integrity Week.


Stray points

The Center for Student Conduct administers the Code of Student Conduct and promotes academic integrity.

For future discussion: How will academic integrity training and monitoring play out in online degree programs and education?

Our discussion today focused on students' academic misconduct.  Are there opportunities to discuss academic integrity for researchers and faculty?

Illustrate your data - Data visualization with Microsoft Excel for beginners

Infographics are popular in newspapersacademic journalsonline publicationsOCLC reports, and even library vendor publications.

They're useful because they communicate the meaning behind a lot of data quickly.  And through graphs and charts, they also make a visual impact while driving the conceptual point home.

In this IDP session of December 17, 2013, we explored the making of graphs and charts in Microsoft Excel for our report writing and for consulting with library patrons who are writing up a research project.  Our objectives were:

  1. Identify the best type of graph or chart to communicate a data analysis.
  2. Outline heuristics for the effective design of graphs and charts.
  3. Create basic graphs and charts in Microsoft Excel.

Here are the handout and self-directed exercises from our session.

Win them over: Approaches to motivating your audience

Teaching and giving presentations can be rewarding experiences, especially when you have a positive impact on the knowledge and skills of your audience.  Making this impression is easier when you first spark the motivation of your students and colleagues and bring out their active participation.

In this IDP session of November 14, 2013, we explored ways of motivating an audience and began to practice these skills through case study discussions.  Our objectives were:

  1. Identify elements that trigger motivation
  2. Describe techniques for cultivating motivation among your audience
  3. Design solutions to problems of low audience motivation

Here are materials from our session:

Information literacy instruction for graduate students


On Wednesday, May 1, the Library Instructor Development Program held an event on information literacy (IL) instruction for graduate students. Please click on the links below to view:

The event was focused around three key questions:

1. Who are our graduate students?

Graduate student profiles: UC Berkeley-wide and CalAnswers (customizable by department/program)

  • Doctoral students predominate in current enrollment at UC Berkeley, but
  • incoming Master's and professional students outnumber PhD students 2:1, and
  • Master's degree programs are expanding
  • Master's students may be less familiar with library services, resources, and tools such as reference managers
  • Master's students have shorter time frames than doctoral students, and often need research skills that will be transferrable to the workplace

2. What are their research support needs?

Graduate student roles:

  • Student
  • Teacher
  • Researcher:
    Funding seeker
    Data collector and analyzer
  • Author
  • Archiver
  • Job seeker

Information-seeking practices:

  • Initial searching/orientation
  • Citation chaining
  • Browsing/networking
  • Differentiating/evaluating sources
  • Selecting/prioritizing sources
  • Monitoring (topics and research areas)
  • Extracting (from specific publications)
  • Assembling/disseminating the products of scholarly research

Advanced IL concepts:

  • Advanced search techniques (controlled vocabularies, etc.)
  • Citation chaining
  • Reference list mining, cited reference searches, finding related articles by reference list or keyword similarity
  • Interlibrary loan procedures
  • Bibliographic management software
  • RSS feeds, alerts, TOCs
  • Scholarly writing
  • Emerging research areas
  • Sources of funding (Pivot/Community of Science, Grant Forward, NSF/NIH Funding Opportunities,
  • Data management tools, services, best practices
  • Building relational databases
  • Bibliometrics and other forms of data mining
  • Research dissemination (seminars, conferences, journals)
  • Identifying leading journals in a discipline (Journal Citation Reports, Ulrich's)
  • Finding dissertations by advisor, campus or topic (Dissertations and Theses)
  • Scholarly communication: copyright and Open Access issues
  • Career information

3. How can we effectively deliver IL instruction to graduate students?

Outreach strategies:

  • Presenting during departmental orientations for incoming graduate students
  • Embedding or presenting in research methodologies classes
  • Asking graduate students who request a workshop to recruit at least 5 attendees and find a day and time that works for all
    Note: You can share bCal without making the details of your events visible
  • Attending departmental events
  • Finding a faculty or program director champion
  • Slipping in graduate-student-oriented content when doing library instruction for undergraduate courses with a large complement of graduate student instructors
  • Volunteering to do an IL session for a course as a guest speaker when the instructor is attending a conference
  • Approaching your Library Advisory Board (for those libraries that have active LABs)
  • Making use of intersessions when scheduling events
  • Partnering with various programs that promote diversity in graduate student populations


The needs of Master's students are very different from those of PhD students - Master's students need resources they can use in the real world (vs. library databases)

Possible next steps:

  • Promote Open Access to graduate students, the faculty of the future
  • Include graduate students in a discussion of how best to meet their IL needs
  • Partner with other campus groups that have graduate student constituencies (D-Lab, Career Center, etc.)

Many thanks to all of the participants!

Corliss Lee and Elliott Smith

A dialogue with Richard Freishtat of CTL

The March 20th IDP event featured Richard Freishtat, Senior Consultant for UC Berkeley's Center for Teaching and Learning. Richard described the CTL services, programs and resources that are available to Library instructors, which include:

After this introduction, Richard responded to questions about pedagogical issues and challenges. What follows are summaries and paraphrases of the discussion.


Lesson content: Is it REALLY true that we should minimize the number of new things we try to teach to students? I've heard things like, "Don't tell them more than 4 new things in a session. They won't remember."

Richard Freishtat: While it's true that too many new concepts can make recall difficult, there is no rule about the number of new things you can present. Studies show that there is greater retention of new material if you present it in a way that connects the new concepts to existing knowledge. Also, compelling activities such as discussion with peers or hands-on problem-solving can help with retention as well.


Procedural vs. conceptual instruction: In a short 30 - 90 minute session, is it better to minimize instruction on things like database how-to's, and concentrate on higher level stuff, like critically evaluating what they find using databases? If so, when and how WILL they learn how to work these databases? Is giving them an exercise set to work on in their "spare time" a good idea?

RF: I recommend that you focus on higher-order concepts. If you frame the session around higher-order concepts, you can do just-in-time learning for the lower-level ones. Gaps with lower-order tasks will reveal themselves as the students proceed with their work.

Pre-session assignments on the how-to steps might be helpful, but your ability send out an assignment will depend on how much access the faculty offer you.


Recapturing attention after exercise: When I offer the class time to practice the search strategy I've described / demonstrated / discussed, it can be hard to get them to stop searching and discuss the results. Any suggestions for good ways to get their attention back once they've gone off on their own?

Class responsiveness: When I ask students to do a hands-on database exercise, how do I get them to talk about what worked for them and what didn't?

Combatting unresponsiveness: What can we do when the flop sweat starts popping out because the entire class, to a person, is staring stonily at you and seems completely bored? Take a deep breath, yes. But then what kind of activity can turn the class around?

RF: You might use techniques like think-pair-share or 2-2-2. In 2-2-2, after 5 minutes of hands-on work, the students are instructed to form groups of two and discuss it with their partner for two minutes -- what they found, difficulties, etc. Then ask them to take two minutes to share their experience with the rest of the class. Framing it as sharing the findings of their group can make it easier for people to participate, because they don't feel put on the spot as an individual.

This technique sets up defined times to work and to share with the rest of the class -- during the sharing period you can say "I shouldn't hear typing."


Engaging students: I've found that students are a lot more attentive when there is a specific assignment or goal assigned by their professor. But often they come to our session without an expected outcome, and it can be hard to have them either focus on the topics or to see the value of the resources that we're demonstrating.

Student preparation: Some classes begin with students all jazzed and ready. Their teachers have obviously told them the benefit of listening. What kind of advice do you have about how to urge the teachers to prepare their students? What wording might we use in our email/personal contacts with the teacher to get them to do more than announce that they're meeting with a librarian?

RF: You're right to stress the importance of clearly defined outcomes, and learning in an authentic context. You might pose the question to them: what would be helpful to cover today? Ask students to think about the topic, what type of information they want to be able to find, and how much time they have to spend finding the information.

Motivation is connected to relevance -- be sure that you give students the "persuasive pitch": explain that what you're doing is connected to their success with their assignments (earning an A). If possible, give them a concrete example from your experience -- hearing about how library session has been of value to their peers will motivate them most effectively.


Presentation strategies and tools: What are some effective presentations strategies, such as tips for demonstrating a database that are a bit more engaging?

RF: Whenever possible, shift away from the burden of covering too much database-specific content. Focus on skills, not individual databases -- although it's helpful to use examples. Concrete examples are important for establishing relevance, but try to embed them in the narrative of the class or the context of a current assignment.

Course guides, especially if they are linked from bSpace or course webpages, make resources available so that students can return later, and allow students to discover solutions on their own at the time of need.


Online tools: There's an increasing need to teach library and research skills in different online settings and in some cases we don't have any opportunity to interact with the students in person. Are there any pedagogical guidelines regarding when or why you would use an online video to cover content as opposed to, say, an interactive quiz? When does a simple text version of a lesson suffice (if it ever does) in online learning? I feel like we have a lot of different tools at our disposal (slideshows, videos, quiz modules, images, charts, text) but it can be unclear which tool is best suited to a specific lesson.

RF: Look at the framework of desired outcomes, rather than the tools. Will this tool enhance the students' learning? Will it give them an opportunity to engage with the material in a more authentic way? Will it provide different kinds of learning experiences (for example, collaboration)? Are there ways that you want the students to demonstrate what they understand, and if so, how does this tool enable them?

Tools must support your goals: presentation, engagement, assessment. The selection of technology should arise from outcome that you want; don't start with the technology, start with the outcome in mind.

For help in choosing appropriate technologies for your outcomes, getting in touch with UCB Educational Technology Services can be helpful. Also, try different things and see what works most effectively.


Faculty outreach: Library instructors often have trouble interesting faculty/instructors in library instruction, or getting faculty/instructors to listen to our suggestions about assignments. Do you have any tips for reaching faculty?

RF: Faculty will listen to other faculty more than to us; leverage your existing faculty champions. Ask them to write up a blurb about the value of having a librarian give a research workshop -- something you can put up on the web or attach to emails. Ditto a short video interview with an instructor. Push these things out to the CTL and they can put them out to faculty also. Ask faculty champions if they'll take a flyer that you prepare to a faculty meeting and talk about the value of working with a librarian. Look for intact groups of faculty that come together around a topic (for example, the New Faculty Teaching Colloquium).

Too often we blanket messages to everyone -- the more you can target specific groups, the better. As a last resort, you can ask department chairs and deans to carry the message, but that can have a different tone.

-- Corliss Lee & Elliott Smith

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