Solving the Academic Integrity Problem in Higher Ed

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Eric Gibbs, President at Ouriginal, joined the podcast to talk about how higher ed can navigate the academic integrity issues that have always been with us but which have found new form during last year’s massive migration to online education.

So percentage of totals who admit written or test cheating sixty eight percent. So I'd stop there and just say although cheating is common in education, it's changed over the years in both character and body. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect ETU podcast network. I'm Eric Olsen with Helix Education and we're here today with Eric Gibbs, president at original. Eric, welcome to the show. Thank you very much, Eric. So excited to talk with you today about how higher d can help navigate some new academic integrity issues.

Before we dig into that, can you give the listeners a little bit of background on original? Absolutely so. Original is a set of online academic integrity tools and services that are utilized by Secondary Post secondary in corporations to assist and ensuring originality and authenticity of were written work. The company was launched in September in two thousand and twenty, when to European tech similarity to textion leaders or Ken from Sweden and plag scan from Germany, combined with over three decades of knowledge and expertise to launch the original brand and organization. It's an interesting launch timeline, given what we've seen happens. Hired had to navigate new issues over the last year. To kick us off today are perhaps you can give us that overview on the current academic integrity problem in higher ad and if this year's large push to online education has helped either accelerator exacerbate it? Yeah, absolutely, Arec so I think what I'll do is, you know, I'll I'll...

...kind of set the baseline for probably the well most wellknown study referring to academic integrity and higher education, and that was compiled based upon student surveys that were conducted between, you know, fall of two thousand and two and spring of two thousand and fifteen by the late Dr Don McCabe and the International Center for Academic Integrity. So the number of university students who admitted to cheating in some in some form, which I feel somewhat concerning. So you know, the number of respondents not not a small sample size. So we'll look at undergraduates. Roughly about seventy onezero students. The percent of who admitted cheating on test roughly about forty percent, so thirty nine percent. Number of percentage of who admitted cheating on written assignments. So this is where an original would actually be able to kind of deter students in actually any either plagiarizing or cheating. Sixty two percent. And then kind of the aggregate, so percentage of totals who...

...admit written or test cheating, sixty eight percent. So I'd stop there and just say although cheating is common and education, it's changed over the years and both character and body. The character cheating refers not only the appearance and form of cheating but also to the perceptions of cheating. So if you look at you know, you ask the question of coming out of the pandemic. Yeah, what is it exacerbated? If an individual was to review a summary of last my marches, International Center of Academic integrities annual conference sessions or skin the headlines from any D teg publications, you could potentially conclude the cheating cases and trends or tipping this skate scales towards identifying new ways to cheat during the remote online learning. But I would argue that, you know, it's basically just a magnifying glass that's simply been lowered to expose an issue that's already been going on for years. It's just more at scale today. Yeah, I think...

...that's a great summary. The issue is always been with us. The scale, the modalities open up new challenges we have to navigate. Eric, I think both of us lean on the tech optimistic side of things, but can technology alone solve for these academic integrity issues that we see? Yeah, that that's a great question. Eric. I think you know, technology such a great efficiency tool, but it's not going to it's not going to be the single silver bullet. It's not going to solve the issue. So a tool like original, when you think about a plagiarism prevention tool, and I call it a plagiarism prevention tool because there's no such thing as a plagiarism detection tool. That's such a misnomer in the market. So technology can assist but at the end of the day plagiarism prevention tools are part of the overall process. It serves its purpose as a deterrence measure, so that deterrence is a piece of the puzzle that interconnects with support services, potentially for the learner on campus.

Good course design. I'm a big proponent of compassion and to be able to set expectations of what is acceptable and not acceptable within the class. So it's really just a complex approach and just how we can provide, you know, it original authorship authenticity tools to provide insights as to if a student road a paper based upon, you know, either ai personality traits or stylometry in the writing styles from prior submissions. But at the end of the day that's not going to solve the issue in an institutional academics and integrity initiative. So it's a multifaceted approach really, you know, to for such a complex problem or issue. Yeah, I love that. So if the prevention issue is multifaceted and we have to think about expectations, we've to think about student support, we should think about tools and technology that we can utilize and we need to address our pedagogy as well. How should we think about integrating or adjusting...

...our course design within the realities of what you refer to as our new digital sharing economy. Yeah, that that's something you know. Certainly I had mentioned good course, design, authentic, authentic assessments. You know, I think for us, what is the biggest issue today for to the causes concern? For me, I've been talking about the digital sharing economy for a while now, but these academic file sharing sites pose a real threat or risk to academic integrity. There's no easy solution to file sharing sites, but it's imperative for at least the educational community and parents as well to know that these sites exist. I think we find ourselves in a kind of whack a mole type of scenario when you one gets exposed or a sease and assist orders a executed, another pops up and you know it's just an exponential pace that that's unsustainable. So universities and school administrators first and foremost need to be familiar with this and...

I don't think that we're yet at a pace where where individuals understand the magnitude of content and, when I say content, that authentic assessment that they have taken hours for the instructor or professor that's created. That now is a part of this machine. From what this digital sharing economy that students have submitted and is out there now in circulation, which could be a quiz, a lab manual and essay exam. You know, I think we would all agree that that student collaboration is should be encouraged within an educational setting. But where it crosses the line is when those artifacts are shared by students when in fact those artifacts, I call them, are owned by the instructor or potentially university with those commercial providers. So, you know, the companies then provide credits to the students and promotes the fuel for exponential growth. So you know, once this type of behavior becomes the norm, the learning process and instructors hard work...

...becomes diminished and kind of that's where the learning process goes out. So you know, even though we have the authentic learning design, it really needs to be put into perspective from the institution's perspective to be able then to implement and have that have that good course design for the instructor. Yeah, that reminded me of a in the age of Napster, when metallicul decide is let's sue every individual that we find downloading our songs and looking back, that seems foolish or at least non scalable. But how should we navigate those issues? Should we ignore the problem, bear the sand? Should we change how we evaluate? Should we eliminate testing all together? Would that be a better salt here? If you're on the administrative side, on Hirre at, how do you think about those next step challenges? Yeah, I think it is, is a it's a collaboration. It's first having the conversation of what it is within...

...this digital sharing economy. Again, it's not normalizing the the issue or the process. You know, we don't want to. As I said, we don't want to normalize the behaviors that are currently trending. You know, I think the study smarter, quicker, faster. That's not the direction that higher education was built upon. We want to move away from that model that rewards Attainin of degrees and and one that identifies or approves or certified skills. You know, that certainly is desirable from from the workforce, and so that's where we should be moving on. So it's, you know, the question as it pertains to integrity. I think that's the conversation, and so that integrity of the degree, certificate or skills could be related back to the services that's provided by an original it's fundamental that the learners, whether they're submitting a high stakes assessment, group, research presentation or a research blog post, it be authentic and it be original. And you know, I think the original the naming convention. That's part of that conversation. But it's up to that institution...

...to ensure that the delivery and the honesty and a ethically be attained. I would also say that, you know, are urgency to solve this issue stems from employers staying that the institutions are granting degrees to students that they do not have those basic skills that are needed to function in the business, marketing or, you know, maybe we say the non specialized jobs. So, you know, maybe I'm getting out of my lane here, but now, is this simply a legacy or qualitative comment from a survey or do we need to move to more of a skills based model that matches those needs of the employers with the outcome skills attained by the institutions of higher learning? And maybe, with that said, maybe I'll leave that for the next brandon a bust eat or wally boss Boston Pud podcast. Yeah, you I think you're not overstitting it there. The integrity of our degrees are at stake here. So perhaps leave us with this, because if I'm an administer listening to this, there's...

...so many rabbit holes that I want to chase you down. Some of those stats that you mentioned make me just so curious about the student motivations. You know, what is the the fear in their heads that that is deciding that they need to do this? What is the expectations that we're setting that can curtail that? What can we do to make the motivation or the temptation less? If you're an administrator and you're having in all campus meeting with your technology heads, any next steps, advice for how to start thinking through what should our academic integrity plans be moving forward, given this new reality we're in? Yeah, it's a perfect time to reevaluate or the conversation we're having with institutions a modernize your academic integrity process. You know, I think it really starts with building a culture of academic integrity and I and I would recommend to your listeners that utilize great resources, that the International Center for Academic Integrity, you...

...know, academic integrity dot org or even European listeners. You know, European Network for academic integrity, and that's academic integrity dot EU. You know, I would say that when you see these types of cases. So if there's an academic case increasing four hundred percent or a large scale cheating case, we shouldn't close that down way and think about you know that this is the resistance or a deflection. It's a conversation. So research and experience which suggests that, you know, certainly the most successful and academic integrity on campus. Change begins kind of at that grassroots level. So instead of pushing this down from the top down, I'm hopeful that kind of faculty and students will act as champions to do the right thing and kind of ensure the moral compass points back in the direction of integrity. So utilize those resources. Certainly original is there to have that conversation. We're not here just to promote the deterrent software.

It is a conversation that we're looking to have with institutions. There are a lot of great institutions out there doing great job incorporating the student voice. And again, if you're incorporating the student voice and taking that perspective. First and foremost, you really can't have something that's fail proof, because it's it's they are the ones that's at the heart of this, the researcher, the Faculty member that's that's publishing their their dissertation or their their research. These are the individuals that should be at the heart of that conversation. Eric, thanks so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow up questions? Absolutely, you can always reach us at originalcom. That's Oh you are ig I n a lcom or certainly on Linkedin. I'd be more than happy to connect, certainly personally. It's Eric Dot Gibbs. That's ear. I see Dot Gibbs at originalcom as well.

I would encourage and walk them the feedback, as well as just any engaging in any comments as well. I'd be happy to provide you with individuals that can assist you with your academic integrity policies and procedures if you are looking to modernize them, because it is an ever changing world out there, especially with this digital sharing economy. Awesome great intice today, Eric, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you very much, Eric. And again thank you for your listeners for giving us the time. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been...

...listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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