KAI Global School

How to maintain Academic Integrity in Online Learning

Maintaining honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in an academic environment constitutes Academic Integrity. While academic integrity is often associated with students, it also applies to those associated with higher education- instructors, researchers, and administrators. With an increasing number of students looking to online education to broaden their horizons, Academic Integrity has assumed greater importance.

Strategies to help maintain Academic Integrity

Here are a few strategies to help maintain Academic Integrity for students in online learning.

Setting clear expectations

So communicating the intended learning outcomes and standards for performance and providing organization, structure, and direction towards the duration of the course is essential for students to plan ahead. Setting clear guidelines to students as to what is expected of them regarding honesty and integrity in the online learning environment is an essential part of maintaining Academic Integrity for students. This might involve creating a code of conduct or guidelines for academic behaviour. Students must clearly know the learning outcomes, the course topics, the assessments, and how the course will be conducted.

Use plagiarism detection software and other methods

Plagiarism is a significant concern in online learning. When using assessments that require a written answer, it is easy for students to plagiarise from the internet. Using plagiarism detection software like Scribbr, Quetext.3.3, and PlagScan 2.8 will help check the originality of students’ work. Lockdown browsers prevent using additional electronic materials during exams by blocking students from visiting external websites or using unauthorized applications on the same device as the one being used to take the assessment. These programs take control of the entire computer system by prohibiting access to the task manager, copy and paste functions, and function keys on that device. Lockdown browsers cannot guarantee that external information will not be accessed. During an assessment, the students may still access information using another computer, a cell phone, class notes, etc.

Multiple methods of assessment for increased efficiency

Students can be inventive when it comes to inventing new ways to pull a fast one, some unique to the online course environment and some observed within in-person courses. They may include downloading papers from the internet and claiming them as original, using materials without permission during an online exam, communicating with other students through the internet to obtain answers, or having another person complete an online exam or assignment rather than the student who is submitting the work. In this scenario, assessing a student’s academic ability and getting well-rounded knowledge is better by including other assessment methods such as seminars, essays, and projects.

Encourage channels of open communication

Educators must foster a supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help when required. Effective communication is essential when dealing with online students. Keep it short – When composing the message you send your online students, trying to get your message across with as few words as possible would be more effective. Online students are often bombarded with messages, so the last thing they want is to read a lengthy online message from their instructor. Clear & concise – Not only should your message to your students be concise, but it also needs to be clear and leave no room for confusion on the student’s part. If you want to let your online students know that the deadline for the test has been extended, then you need to draft a message which gives the extension period of the deadline. Clear communication regarding assessments can help prevent students from turning to dishonest means to succeed.

Educate students about the importance of academic integrity

Help students understand the importance of honesty and integrity in their academic pursuits and the consequences of academic dishonesty. Faculty and staff can influence the cheating culture of their university simply by discussing the importance of academic honesty with their students. These discussions can shape and change students’ beliefs about cheating, hopefully reducing their ability to rationalize academically dishonest behaviour. Honour codes, for example, are effective at reducing academic dishonesty when they identify ethical and unethical behaviour. By adopting these strategies and others, educators can work to create a culture of academic integrity in the online learning environment. This will not only help to ensure the integrity of students’ work, but it will also foster a culture of trust and respect within the learning community.

 

At KAI Global School, we believe in educating our students about the importance of academic honesty to ensure they deal ethically with online education and complete their assessments and tests with integrity.

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