Don’t call a threat an opportunity
Don’t call it integrity when you really mean compliance
My university has an academic integrity policy, and who could argue against integrity? If only the policy was really about integrity. Instead, the policy is really about rules, and the consequences of violations of those rules. It indicates that faculty are obligated to initiate a process when they detect student conduct that runs afoul of those rules. The process starts with faculty confronting students with evidence of their violation(s) and can culminate with a hearing and potentially the student’s dismissal. Faculty were recently informed that should the student retain counsel for that hearing that the university would provide counsel for the faculty.
I don’t see much emphasis on integrity in this policy. To be clear, I think our academic integrity policy is fair and clear. But it really is a compliance policy, or perhaps a punishment policy, not an integrity policy. The few times when I’ve engaged with the process I have found it distasteful and without benefit to student or faculty. There was no examination of the context of the behavior in question. The only thing the students learned was that I (and the university) was their adversary.
Considerable scholarship exists about academic cheating, and the topic has gained attention during the pivot to online instruction as a result of the pandemic. Software that locks down browsers, facial recognition, eye tracking; we’ve sacrificed privacy on the alter of rigor, and trusting students has never been an option.
In my opinion students cheat for one of three reasons (or some combination): students don’t see the value in doing the work, or they don’t believe they can achieve that value if they do the work required of them, or they don’t know how to complete the work. Students cheat because they see the work as busy work, work that has no value. My students aren’t lazy. They have jobs in addition to school, they have family obligations, they have financial concerns that sometimes include housing and food insecurity. They also binge watch entertainment and play video games for hours on end. They have the ability to pay attention when their circumstances and their interests allow it.