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New students’ perception and prevalence of traditional and internet assisted academic dishonesty in institutions of higher learning

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6 March 2010 (Saturday) | 14:05 - 14:25 | http://citers2010.cite.hku.hk/abstract/61 | THONG, Lee-Fah, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

6 March 2010 (Saturday) | 14:05 - 14:25 | http://citers2010.cite.hku.hk/abstract/61 | THONG, Lee-Fah, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

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  • 1. New Students’ Perception and Prevalence of Traditional and Internet Assisted Academic Dishonesty in Institutions of Higher Learning
    By Thong Lee Fah
  • 2. Introduction
    Academic Integrity
    A commitment to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, 1999).
    Academic dishonesty
    - a range of unethical behaviors that students engage in (Christensen-Hughes & McCabe, 2006).
    undermines the process of upholding academic integrity of institutions of higher learning.
  • 3. An academic offence is an attempt to gain for oneself or another person an unpermitted advantage in an assessment (Quality manual – University of Nottingham).
    This study looks into new students’ perceptions of academic dishonesty and their reported prevalence along with reasons for the practice.
  • 4. Literature Review
    Various studies indicated that cheating is rampant in institutions of higher learning (Graham, et al., 1994; Rettinger, Jordan & Peschiera, 2004; Leonard and LeBrasseur, 2008; McCabe, Feghali & Abdullah, 2008; Lanier 2008; Rettinger & Kramer, 2009).
    71% of academics teaching first year business/economic courses across 19 Ontario universities reported cases of cheating (Leonard and LeBrasseur, 2008).
    More than 70% of the students surveyed admitted to committing at least one academic misconduct (McCabe, Feghali & Abdullah, 2008; Rettinger & Kramer, 2009).
  • 5. Literature Review
    Lanier (2008) noted that cheating in online classes is even more prevalent compared to traditional lecture classes.
    The reasons students cheat, faculties’ perception of academic dishonesty and the penalties associated with each academic offences along with the prevalence of cheating in honor code institutions have been investigated (McCabe & Trevino, 1993; McCabe, Trevino & Butterfield, 2002; Pincus & Schmelkin, 2003; Brimble and Stevenson-Clarke, 2005; Passow, et al., 2006; Rettinger & Kramer, 2009).
    The top five reasons for academic misconduct identified by Brimble and Stevenson-Clarke (2005) are: “I wanted to help a friend”, “The assessment was too difficult”, The assessment was too time consuming”, “I wasn’t likely to be caught” and “It was unintentional”.
  • 6. The Study
    Questionnaire survey
    Students enrolled in Foundation of Engineering
    Sample size – 129
  • 7. Explores
    Students’ views on a variety of traditional and internet assisted academic misconduct under non-examination setting.
    Students’ awareness of the prevalence of academically dishonest practices among their peers.
    Reasons for their peers’ actions.
    Types of misconducts that students had indulged in since enrolling in the university and their reasons for doing so.
    Would the students knowingly commit an academic offence?
    For those who committed at least one offence, would they change their conduct if assistance or support is provided?
  • 8. Findings
    76% of the students indicated that they have committed at least one misconduct.
    90% reported observing at least one misconduct by their peers.
  • 9. Students’ view on a variety of academic offences under non-examination setting
  • 10. Observed academically dishonest practices amongst peers and reasons given for their peers’ actions
  • 11. Self-reported academic dishonesty committed and reasons given for such actions
  • 12. Would the students knowingly commit an academic offence?
  • 13. 61% of those who committed at least one misconduct indicated that they would not knowingly commit an academic offence.
    63% indicated that they would change their conduct if assistance or support was provided.
    The types of support needed are
    More guidelines for reports.
    More time and support from laboratory assistant.
    Longer deadlines and less coursework.
  • 14. Implications
    Provide simple, clear definitions of various academic offences, written guidelines for avoiding them along with the penalties associated with each offence.
    Develop course assessment and student support resources to prevent or minimise academic cheating without compromising the students’ learning opportunities.
  • 15. Limitations
    This survey is limited to students in the Faculty of Engineering. Incidents of cheating along with the motivation for doing so could be different in other faculties as well as learning environment such as online courses.
    Response rate was 52%, not high despite the survey being distributed after lectures.
  • 16. Conclusions
    Many Foundation students do not have high awareness or understanding of the concept of academic dishonesty and its adverse implications.
    Providing assistance or support could deter or prevent some students from committing academic misconducts.
  • 17. Further Studies
    More comprehensive study that include students from other faculties; comparison of findings between faculties.
    Comparison of findings between new students and those in Year 1, 2 and 3.
    More comprehensive study on the types of support needed to address academic dishonesty.
  • 18. THANK YOU
    Special thanks to The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus for the support given and to the conference organizers for making this presentation possible.

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