Academic Integrity Course Success

Over the last year, professional services staff, from Learning Resources (LR), Oxford Centre of Staff and Learning Development, Centre for Academic Development, as well as academics, with expertise in writing and avoiding plagiarism, worked on a new Academic Integrity course for all Oxford Brookes undergraduate students. We released the course in July 2020. Below is an outline of the course aims, content and challenges.

Background

With the ongoing challenge of reducing student plagiarism and copyright infringement in an increasingly pressured higher educational environment for students, there was a need to start addressing the issue of Academic Integrity in a more holistic and positive manner.

Course overview

The aim of this project was to create a new generic online Academic Integrity course for all students, covering basic information literacy, copyright, plagiarism and referencing. All of these elements can be found within a framework emphasising how to find your academic voice and confidence, whatever your background, as a new student at Brookes.

While the course is primarily for undergraduate students, it may be used as a pedagogical tool at all levels of study.

The course offers an engaging, informative and interactive basic introduction to the key elements of academic integrity and has the following sections:

  • Understanding academic integrity.
  • Beginning an assignment.
  • Making good reading choices.
  • Doing your own work.

Challenges

We didn’t want to create a patronising textbook with referencing and copyright rules that put students off from using other people’s work, and certainly didn’t want to associate academic integrity with the Turnitin tool.

We wanted to adopt a positive attitude while highlighting why academic integrity is important and how students can address it throughout their studies.

Achieving that with activities that students would actually want to use was challenging, but we managed to address key issues with real-life scenarios (using H5P interactive video), rating questions (using H5P course presentation), and quizzes with feedback.

Success!

After Harry Kalantzis and Debbie Lenihan promoted the course at Faculty Teaching and Learning Enhancement Committees (TLECs), Robert Curry discussed it at University TLEC and managed to get all Faculties on board with the possibility of the course being compulsory for all under-graduates.

The most recent University TLEC agreed to make LR’s Academic Integrity Course compulsory for all undergraduate students on all courses. This will be done by putting the course as part of early core modules on a pass/fail basis for completion.

This is an excellent result reflecting LR’s excellent cross-disciplinary and professional services relational work, and ability to contribute e-learning design expertise as well as information and digital literacy content.

The suite of LR’s Digital Course assets now includes three successful projects/courses for students:

  • Copyright Advice for Publishing
  • Digital Capabilities for Students
  • Academic Integrity

If you have any ideas for other useful cross curricular courses that LR should consider as our next project please let us know!

Well done to all the Academic Integrity Project members:

Robert Curry (lead), Dr Melanie Bashor, Dr Mary Davis, Dr Mary Deane, Harry Kalantzis, Debbie Lenihan, Hazel Rothera, Kevin Watson, Zephra Weber, Debbie Witney.

— Robert Curry and Harry Kalantzis

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