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
- Overview of the work of the campus-wide Academic Integrity Task Force
- Review and comment on the draft web site for academic integrity at Berkeley
- 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.
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.
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?