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Academic dishonesty in postsecondary education a literature review
AN EXAMINATION OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN SECONDARY ONLINE ENGLISH EDUCATION MARISSA K. M > Suzanna Patterson 4 years ago Views: 1 AN EXAMINATION OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN SECONDARY ONLINE ENGLISH EDUCATION by MARISSA K. MIDDLETON A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Honors in the Major Program in English Language Arts Education in the College of Education and in The Burnett Honors College at the University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida Spring Term 2012 Thesis Chair: Dr. Susan J. Wegmann. 2 2012 Marissa Middleton ii. 3 ABSTRACT Online schooling is the newest form of education and it is quickly gaining popularity. However, this educational format also comes with one of the challenges that has always been present in schools, which is academic dishonesty. In the English Language Arts content area, academic dishonesty is most often manifested as plagiarism, however, cheating on online quizzes or exams still exists. Although this issue has always been present in English classes, it is becoming more of a concern because of the vast number of technological resources available to students including websites with pre-written papers and the various methods students can now use to instantly communicate with each other. This study combines and synthesizes a literature review and a survey of secondary online English educators at Florida Virtual School to give their perspective on aspects of cheating and plagiarism in online English education including a comparison between online and face to face academic dishonesty, reasons students cheat or plagiarize in online education and attitudes toward academic dishonesty, how students cheat and plagiarize in online classes, how teachers detect academic dishonesty in their online classes, consequences and policies of academic dishonesty in online education, and preventing academic dishonesty in online education. The overall new finding, from comparing both the literature review and the FLVS survey results, was that academic dishonesty in online education is not vastly different from academic dishonesty in face to face classrooms; therefore, academic dishonesty in the online environment is not as much of a mystery as commonly perceived. The survey did, however, expand the knowledge about iii. 4 online academic dishonesty at the secondary level, and specifically in the English Language Arts content area. iv. 5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express a sincere thank you to my committee members for all of the hard work, patience, resources, and advice that they have graciously given me throughout this whole process. I would especially like to thank my thesis chair, Dr. Susan J. Wegmann, for her consistent guidance and expertise, without which I would not have been able to complete this project. Thanks to Florida Virtual School for their unwavering support of my research endeavor, and to Florida Virtual School teachers who gave their time to complete my survey. Finally, a special thank you also goes to Christine Conidis at Florida Virtual School for her patience and for being my complete guide and resource for my research survey. v. 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION. 1 Background and Definition. 1 Florida Virtual School (FLVS). 3 Status of Academic Integrity in Online Education. 5 Methodology. 8 Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 2: ACADEMIC DISHONESTY ONLINE VS. FACE TO FACE Literature Review Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 3: REASONS STUDENTS CHEAT OR PLAGIARIZE IN ONLINE EDUCATION & ATTITUDES TOWARDS ACADEMIC DISHONESTY Literature Review Reasons Students Engage in Academic Dishonesty Perceptions of Academic Dishonesty Attitudes Toward Academic Dishonesty Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 4: HOW STUDENTS CHEAT OR PLAGIARIZE IN ONLINE EDUCATION Literature Review vi. 7 Methods of Cheating & Plagiarizing Sources Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 5: HOW TEACHERS DETECT ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN THEIR ONLINE CLASSES Literature Review Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 6: CONSEQUENCES AND POLICIES OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN ONLINE EDUCATION Literature Review Florida Virtual School Survey Results CHAPTER 7: PREVENTING ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN ONLINE EDUCATION Literature Review Interaction with Students Informing Students Technological Prevention Altering Assignments Choosing Sources Using Peers Florida Virtual School Survey Results vii. 8 CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSION AND FINDINGS Future Research APPENDIX A: FLVS SURVEY APPENDIX B: IRB APPROVAL LETTER APPENDIX C: UCF IRB TITLE CHANGE APPROVAL LETTER REFERENCES viii. 9 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Background and Definition Online education has gained popularity because it allows for students [to] enjoy greater flexibility, less travel and the opportunity to obtain an education when geographic and/or physical limitations exist (Lanier, 2006, p. 244). It has become an even more popular topic of discussion because the suspected amount of academic dishonesty taking place in virtual schools is becoming alarming. This concern is rooted in the moral and ethical belief that cheating is considered wrong and should not be tolerated. This study sought to perform research in order to gain knowledge on several aspects of academic dishonesty in order to help the effort to end the cheating epidemic and promote academic integrity, which will ensure that students are receiving the most valuable, credible, and trustworthy education. Virtual learning environments that maintain academic integrity are capable of producing well-rounded scholars and critical thinkers through the honest completion of assignments and engagement in comprehensive study (Hearrington, 2011). Many definitions of academic dishonesty currently exist in the literature on the subject; however, for the purposes of this study, academic dishonesty is defined as providing or receiving assistance in a manner not authorized by the instructor in the creation of work to be submitted for academic evaluation including papers, projects and examinations (cheating); and presenting, as one s own, the ideas or words of another 1. 11 School. This report sheds light upon a number of questions about academic dishonesty in distance learning with chapters dedicated to topics including a comparison between online and face to face academic dishonesty, reasons students cheat or plagiarize in online education and attitudes toward academic dishonesty, how students cheat and plagiarize in online classes, how teachers detect academic dishonesty in their online classes, consequences and policies of academic dishonesty in online education, and preventing academic dishonesty in online education. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Research for this study was conducted at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), which is the undisputed pioneer in K 12 virtual learning and is charting new territory to bring any time, any place learning to students everywhere as part of a free public education ( Virtual Learning About Us sect.). Founded in 1997, FLVS began with the vision to deliver a high quality, technology-based education that provides the skills and knowledge students need for success, but is now viewed by many as one of the largest and most successful reforms of public schooling ( Mission section). Currently utilized by students in 67 Florida districts, 49 states, and 57 countries, FLVS offers over 110 courses in academic subjects, languages, honors, and Advanced Placement with over 1400 staff members serving more than 122,000 enrolled students ( Quick Facts section). As of now, FLVS serves elementary, middle, and high school level students. 3. 12 FLVS is presently the only public school with funding tied directly to student performance, but it is based on the number of students who pass their online classes rather than on student enrollment like traditional public schools; it is free for Florida residents, and tuitionbased for non-florida residents (Hacsi, 2004; Quick Facts section). Students, Florida residents especially, take advantage of the freedom that FLVS offers in order to fulfill graduation requirements, make up credits for missed or failed classes, or take Advanced Placement (AP) and other courses that are not available at their physical school (Tucker, 2009, p. 14). Another part of the attraction to FLVS is that students do not have to follow the quarteror semester-based schedule that brick and mortar schools require; students have the ability to move through their virtual school classes at whichever pace they would like (Tucker, 2009). FLVS has received countless awards since Some of the most recent awards received in 2011 include the Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Online Learning Award given to Julie Young, president and CEO of Florida Virtual School in Orlando, and the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education Award ( Awards section). FLVS was also named one of the country's Top 50 Innovators, and Champion at the 6th Annual Sterling Conference Storyboard Competition ( Awards section). The most impressive distinction, however, is that FLVS students consistently earned higher grades, received better state assessment scores, and achieved higher marks on AP exams than students in traditional schools (Young, Birtolo, & McElman, 2009, p. 16). Part of FLVS s success can be credited to its efforts in preventing academic dishonesty. FLVS ensures that students are knowledgeable about maintaining academic integrity, keep 4. 13 records of all instances of cheating or plagiarism, and having a clear matrix outlining the consequences students will face if they do not submit original work. The FLVS honor code is entitled Academic Integrity: The FLVS Non-Negotiable, and it emphasizes that academic integrity is the cornerstone of learning at Florida Virtual School (Florida Virtual School [FLVS], p. 2). This document details academic integrity separately for both students and parents. Students are made aware of the definition of academic integrity, why academic integrity is important, the difference between plagiarism and cheating, what a student broker is, and they are given an introduction to the consequences that students may be subject to if they chose to cheat or plagiarize (FLVS). Parents are provided with explanations of tools that are used to ensure the integrity of student work such as Turnitin.com, the FLVS Academic Integrity Database, teacher expertise, discussion-based assessments, proctored exams, and the FLVS Academic Integrity Hotline/ (FLVS, p. 2). FLVS holds students, parents, faculty, and staff to specific high standards of academic integrity. Status of Academic Integrity in Online Education Although Florida Virtual School is the outstanding example of online education, previous research at the collegiate level has indicated that educators involved with distance education perceive that online courses present more opportunities for, and encourage a greater amount academic dishonesty than traditional classes (Kennedy et al., 2000; Baron & Crooks, 2005). The 5. 15 that one website providing free term papers to students has averaged 80,000 hits per day (Duke University, 1999, p. 5). Since the technology and the resources are most definitely here to stay and will continue to advance, online plagiarism is likely to become even more prevalent as the supply and accessibility of digital data continue to grow (Sterngold, 2004, p. 18). Some evidence for this comes from a Rutgers University professor who discovered that the amount of students who had plagiarized from websites was increasing: 41 percent of students said they engaged in "cut and paste" plagiarism compared to just 10 percent of the students McCabe surveyed three years earlier (Sterngold, 2004, p. 18). A small amount of literature at the secondary level in the face to face format, illustrates the current status of academic integrity (Ma, Wan, & Lu, 2008; Stricherz, 2001). One study conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics (2006) found that out of 36,000 high school students that were surveyed, about 33% had copied an Internet document within the past 12 months; [and] 18% did so two or more times in addition, 60% cheated during a test at school within the past 12 months; [and] 35% did so two or more times (Ma et al., 2008, p. 198). Results like this indicate the entrenched habits of dishonesty in the young people (Ma et al., 2008, p. 198). Furthermore, the following statistics show that teachers may be part of the problem. Stricherz (2001) reported that 47% of 4,500 high school students surveyed across the U.S. believed teachers sometimes elect not to confront students they know are cheating (para. 3). Similarly, 26% of these students believed teachers simply don t want to be bothered by reporting suspected academic dishonesty (Stricherz, 2001, para. 3). Findings from the same survey also identified the Internet as one main resource for plagiarism; 54% of these students 7. 16 admitted to plagiarizing written work they found on the Internet (Stricherz, 2001). These findings also extend to the undergraduate level; the Center for Academic Integrity (2005) conducted a survey of 50,000 students in 60 universities across the U.S. which provided that more than 50% of the students admitted to plagiarizing written work found on the Internet. The same survey also revealed that even more of the students (70%) stated that they knew that their peers used the copy and paste method to complete their homework (Center for Academic Integrity, 2005). Methodology Each thesis chapter is written on one aspect of academic integrity and includes information gathered from a literature review that is supplemented by data and analysis from an original survey of Florida Virtual School English teachers [See Appendix A]. The literature review portion of each chapter analyzes and discusses research that has already been conducted on the subject of academic dishonesty including both web-based and traditional education, and at secondary and collegiate levels in multiple subject areas; this literature provides information on subtopics that apply to secondary level English courses. The link to an online-based survey was distributed in an to all 145 of the secondary English teachers currently employed at Florida Virtual School. After the initial distribution of the survey, two reminder s containing the survey link were sent to Florida Virtual School English teachers. At the end of the survey completion period, a total of 27 surveys were 8. 17 received, which is about 18.6% of the 145 teachers that the survey was distributed to. When the results were received, the responses to each question were compiled and included in the survey results portion of each chapter. The survey portion of this study is unique in the sense that it addresses the secondary level rather than the commonly analyzed collegiate level, and it will examine the perspective of the teachers rather than students. A survey of teachers in the online setting provides valuable information through first-hand, professional experience that is connected to the issue. Surveying teachers, rather than students is a way to ensure honest answers, since students may not admit their own academic dishonesty. The Florida Virtual School was chosen as a result of its highly regarded status in online education for its distinct educational philosophy, approach, and culture [and] highly personalized instruction (Tucker, 2009, para. 3, 6). This survey is limited in a few ways: (1) by only being distributed to one existing virtual school, (2) the study was limited to the English/Language Arts subject area, and (3) the study only sought to survey and explore the teachers perspectives in regard to academic dishonesty. Therefore, the results of this survey can only be applied to the thoughts and opinions of a sampling of FLVS online English subject area teachers and are not representative of all instructors views on the issue of academic integrity in online education. 9. 18 Florida Virtual School Survey Results Two items on the survey were used to obtain background information. Survey item 2, What course(s) and grade level(s) do you teach? How long have you been teaching this/these course(s) and grade level(s)? was answered by all 27 respondents and yielded a variety of results. The amount of teaching experience ranged from a few weeks to 40 years; in many cases this included both virtual school and traditional school experiences, with almost all originally starting in a face to face classroom then moving to virtual school. The levels taught ranged from 6 th through 12 th grade, and included a variety of different types of English courses, many of which are taught simultaneously by the same teacher. These courses included (6) English I, (5) English II, (3) English III, (1) English III Honors, (3) English IV, (3) Language Arts, (2) Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, (4) Journalism, (1) Reading, (1) Creative Writing, (1) Special Education English, and (2) other unspecified English courses. In survey item 9, the FLVS teachers were asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 5, how often their students cheat or plagiarize. The highest percentage (42%) corresponded with a rating of 4: Somewhat often which was selected by 11 teachers, and was followed by 2: Rarely with 7 selections (27%). Next was 3: Neutral, with 6 selections (23%), and finally 5: Very often, was selected twice (8%). The results of survey item 9 are consistent with the current status of academic dishonesty in online education as portrayed in the review of literature. First, the highest percentage (42%) falls in between the 33% of students who had copied an internet document and the 60% who cheated during a test in the Josephson Institute of Ethics survey 10. 19 (2006). And secondly, the findings are consistent with Sterngold s (2004) finding that 41% of students admitted to cut and paste plagiarism. This information set the stage for the remainder of the study; Chapter 2 will compare and contrast academic dishonesty between the traditional and online educational setting. 11. 20 CHAPTER 2: ACADEMIC DISHONESTY ONLINE VS. FACE TO FACE The purpose of this chapter is to examine the elements and factors of academic integrity in the online and traditional setting in order to determine any similarities or differences that may exist. Oftentimes, the information that is known about cheating and plagiarism in the face to face setting is applicable to the online setting as well (Grijalva, Kerkvliet, and Nowell, 2006). This chapter reports on the similarities and differences that have been found in existing studies, and examines the similarities and differences found at the secondary level, using the perspective of FLVS English teachers. Literature Review A significant amount of literature illustrates both the similarities and differences between the traditional classroom setting and the web-based setting (Baron & Crooks, 2005; Grijalva, Kerkvliet, & Nowell, 2006; Kennedy et al., 2000; Spaulding, 2011). Some researchers, including Grijalva, Kerkvliet, and Nowell, (2006), report that cheating and plagiarizing is the same in both formats, while others say that online education encourages, and provides more opportunities for academic dishonesty than traditional classrooms (Baron & Crooks, 2005; Kennedy et al., 2000). However, the findings are not only black and white. 12. 21 Since neither side can be proven completely, the claims that the frequency of academic dishonesty is no different between the two formats are examined first. Although academic dishonesty in the online setting is widely believed to be a major problem, some research disproves this (Ridley & Husband, 1998; Spaulding, 2011). One study even reports that there may be unnecessary alarm concerning the prevalence of academic dishonesty in online courses as opposed to face to face courses academic dishonesty should not necessarily be more strongly focused on the online environment compared to the face to face environment (Spaulding, 2011, p. 2721). This opinion may be surprising, but not uncommon; it leads to question where the impression that academic dishonesty in the online environment is an epidemic comes from and that it may be exaggerated if not unfounded (Ridley & Husband, 1998, para. 1) given the fact that people often behave similarly in both real-world and computermediated situations (Ferdig, & Mishra, 2004; Reeves, & Nass, 2003). Black, Greaser, and Dawson (2008) report that a vast majority of students (81%) feel that cheating within their online course is no more prevalent then cheating within a traditional course (p. 28). Researchers attempt to assign a reason to why this may be the case; one of which calls into question whether students engaged in online education have a fundamentally different perception of what does and does not constitute cheating compared to those in traditional educational environments (Black et al., 2008, p. 28). This concern seems plausible, but is not yet proven valid due to the recentness of online education. More evidence shows that knowledge exists on the prevalence of academic integrity in the online environment since no difference was found between academic integrity in the online 13. 22 and traditional settings (Black et al., 2008; Ferdig, & Mishra, 2004; Grijalva, Nowell, & Kerkvliet, 2006; Reeves, & Nass, 2003). Supporters of this notion were unable to directly substantiate motivations for cheating [in] an online learning environment with their findings and justify this by stating that people routinely respond to computer-mediated situations in the same way they respond to real world situations (Black et al., 2008, p ; Ferdig, & Mishra, 2004; Reeves, & Nass, 2003). But perhaps one of the most interesting findings is that cheating is unique in the sense that it can start to seem like normal behavior; students may actually be more inclined to cheat in the traditional setting because they have the ability to see their peers doing it, where in distance learning, students may be geographically spread out and not perceive that others are doing it (Grijalva, Nowell, & Kerkvliet, 2006). An important finding to note is that the demographics of students who are more or less likely to engage in academic dishonesty may also be consistent between the online and traditional settings. Male students and younger students are more likely to cheat or plagiarize in both settings (Lanier, 2006). Also, students in Greek organizations and students who have lower grades are more likely to cheat (Brown & Emmett, 2001; Finn & Frone, 2004; Lambert & Hogan, 2004). Nevertheless, it can still be argued that differences between academic dishonesty in webbased and traditional classes exist. First is the belief that academic dishonesty occurs more in web-based education (Black et al., 2008). It should be noted that much of this literature attempts to justify the belief that cheating is more prevalent in the online setting by using logic and providing reasons for why it would make more sense that it does rather than straightforward 14. 24 report says that online assessments have made academic cheating easier, by reducing the effort involved (Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3419). These findings are not uncommon in the literature on this topic, which is further discussed in Chapter 3. Another factor that can increase students temptation to cheat in a web-based course more than in a traditional course is the amount of interaction with the instructor. Researchers have suggested that academic dishonesty in online classes is partly due to the absence of face to face interaction (Rowe, 2004; Wang, 2008). Students who have a more personal, face to face relationship with their teacher would feel more connected to the class and perceive that their work is valued among the other names on the roster. Therefore, because students and faculty do not interact directly in web-based classes, it is often perceived that cheating will be more abundant in these classes (Grijalva et al., 2006, Introduction section para. 2). The method of detection also serves as a difference between academic dishonesty in online and traditional courses. In the online environment, teachers do not have the advantage of physically watching their students complete their work to ensure that it is original, and teachers cannot possibly know if students are completing assessments without the aid of outside resources (Olt, 2002). Conversely, online educators do have the distinct advantage of online plagiarism detection tools, such as Turnitin.com, where classroom teachers are often handed paper copies and would have to search for plagiarized work themselves (Baron & Crooks, 2005). Moreover, according to Heberling (2002) and Olt (2002), online educators communicate with their students mostly through written language and therefore have the unique advantage of knowing each students writing style so that they can better assess if a student s written work is 16. 25 their own based on style, tone, and grammar, among others. This would be more difficult for traditional classroom teachers who mostly communicate with students verbally, and would be less able to detect plagiarized work based on writing style (Baron & Crooks, 2005). As for a comparison of the cheating itself, Bunn, Caudill, and Gropper (1992) have differentiated between the two formats by naming two types: planned cheating and panic cheating. Planned cheating applies more to web-based courses and may involve making crib sheets for tests, copying homework, or plagiarizing a paper with full knowledge that it is wrong. In the face to face setting, panic cheating may be more common because the circumstances to engage in academic dishonesty may arise more often (Grijalva et al., 2006). For example, panic cheating may come into play during a test when the student finds herself at a loss for an answer whereas online students will not find themselves in that situation (Grijalva et al., 2006, A Model of Cheating section, para. 1). Panic cheating and planned cheating are certainly not the only types of cheating and may not necessarily apply to all situations; however, it does bring up an interesting distinction between the two educational environments. Other, more obvious differences in the cheating itself have to do with the resources that are available. Students in brick and mortar classes do not have to ability to search the Internet and copy and paste written work during an in-class writing assignment. Similarly, web-based education students do not always have a peer next to them to copy. Lastly, forms of cheating can bridge the gap between the two formats, but could be less effortful on the level of cheaters involvements (Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3419). 17. 26 The literature that both proves and disproves that academic dishonesty is either the same or different in online and face to face > 27 5. Going to face to face > 28 Mostly cheating occurs when a student has procrastinated or over-scheduled themselves and they come up against a deadline. They feel it is the only way to finish on time. It seems to be the same regardless of mode of instruction. Not really, students will try to cheat no matter where they are. The information is extremely easy to access either way. If students want to cheat, they will find a way despite the delivery of their academics. I feel like students cheat just as much in the classroom as they might cheat online. On the other hand, the explanations and comments that the teachers had for how academic dishonesty differs between formats also included: [The students] have the option of dropping the class when they're caught if it happens during the first few weeks of an online course. I do think that students think they are less likely to get caught online, even though that isn't necessarily the case. Teaching online actually gives me more tools to know when my students are cheating than when I was in the classroom. I have found online courses, when using programs such as Turnitin.com, have a much stronger accountability rate than a submission in a face to face classroom with hard copies. 20. 29 There is a greater opportunity for the teacher to witness their writing in class, supervised, with no assistance, and compare it to what's done at home without supervision or assistance, which often makes discrepancies in skill quite clear. Further, a reoccurring explanation for how the two formats are different was a lack of face to face interaction between students and instructors. A few examples of this are: They don't have to face us in person and can avoid the phone calls to discuss it if it happens. Since they don't "see" the teacher, I think they feel that they will have a better chance of not getting caught. There is no one to "face" when cheating. They are not being physically "watched" by an adult in the room. Students may "think" it's easier since a teacher is not in the room with them. Face to face creates a far more personal, daily "touch," and so when students cheat on an in-class exam, it's right in front of the teacher. Lastly, some explanations submitted that did not fully support either the different or the same side include: I feel that cheating online is better monitored than it is face to face. We have more resources available to monitor student learning. I think it differs in how they do it, but not that they do it. In other words I believe it is done as much or more in the classroom setting as well. 21. 30 I think it's harder to prove cheating in traditional environment online teachers have access to the same cheat sites students do. In general, students cheat for the same reasons online as they do in face to face. I believe the cheating can take different forms in an online setting with the ability to access a multitude of sources at their fingertips while working in the course and simply copying and pasting. I think there is more pressure to cheat in face to face classes. Many boyfriends expect the girls to complete homework for them. As with Chapter 1, the survey results for Chapter 2 are consistent with the literature. Both the arguments for academic dishonesty being either the same or different in online and traditional classrooms are supported by the results of the survey. This is especially true in regard to the lack of face to face interaction in web-based courses being a factor in a student s decision to cheat or plagiarize. The teachers responses for this point mirror Grijalva et al. (2006), Rowe (2004), and Wang (2008). Chapter 3 will provide reasons for why students engage in academic dishonesty online. 22. 32 Literature Review Reasons Students Engage in Academic Dishonesty Many pieces of literature on this topic report similar ideas as to why students engage in academic dishonesty (Black et al., 2008; Crowne & Marlowe, 1960; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Kennedy et al., 2000; Ma et al., 2008; Paulhus, 1991; Spaulding, 2011; Yang & Gaskill, 2011). The first common reason has to do with the instructor. In the web-based setting, a relationship is not necessarily established because students and faculty do not interact directly (Grijalva et al., 2006, Introduction, para. 2). This lack of direct interaction can give students the sense that teachers are not concerned about their performance in the course and will not be able to detect any cheating; this can lead to increased cheating and plagiarizing in online courses (Rowe, 2004; Wang, 2008). Instructors can affect their students academic integrity in other ways as well. Sterngold (2004) presents the case that instructors may be indirectly influencing their students to cheat. Some assignments are seemingly impossible to students, and teachers may expect them to already have the tools and skills to complete the tasks. The sense of pressure and feeling of inadequacy make the idea of plagiarizing a well-written piece of work for a better grade than they feel that they can earn themselves seem rational. Howard (2001) posits that instructors put little energy into creating assignments, which encourages the same amount of effort from the students. Howard s idea is supported by Nancy Pearson (2011) who criticizes instructors for assigning work that lacks technological relevance; reusing old and outdated assignments; 24. 33 having unrealistic expectations; not teaching necessary skills; not adequately checking sources; and accepting work without proper documentation (p. 55). Other reasons for engaging in academic dishonesty have to do with individual characteristics, which include skills, personality, and goals. Kohlberg first recognized this in 1973 suggesting that each student who engages in academic dishonesty does so for their own reasons, while also hoping to increase the gain and decrease the punishment as much as possible. Many students are tempted to cheat because they struggle in school and feel inadequate academically; for many students, writing is a stressful struggle (Gourlay & Greig, 2007). Dr. Lesley Gourlay and Janis Greig (2007) also listed student-reported reasons in this category such as multiple deadlines causing lack of motivation, feeling like giving up when struggling with writing, [and] feeling overwhelmed when reading (p. 8). Students are inclined to copy written work when they are aware of their own weak research and writing skills (Sterngold, 2004, p. 20) and are encouraged to continue copying when their undetected plagiarism earns them good feedback or marks (Gourlay & Greig, 2007, p. 9). Students sometimes feel that, on their own, they could not achieve [as] well within a short time (Ma et al., 2008, p. 200). Personality may also be a factor leading to academic dishonesty, especially in adolescents. Middle school, high school, and undergraduate college students can be lazy, have relaxed morals, lack responsibility, and be unaware of rules (Sterngold, 2004). Other personal and environmental factors can influence students cheating as well (Black et al., 2008, p. 24). Studies support that students in the online environment can be inclined to cheat because of lack of familial support, distractions that cause students to run out of time to complete assignments 25. 34 before deadlines, pressure from peers or parents to perform well in school, or personal understandings of cheating consequences (e.g., outcome expectation) stored in long term memory (Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3420). Students who are not encouraged or motivated often feel that they have no choice but to turn in something rather than nothing in hopes of partial credit (Grijalva et al., 2006). Also related is the influence that parents can have on a student s decision to cheat. Newell Chiesl from Indiana State University suggests that parents set an example of cheating by doing things like fibbing about [their] age [and] exaggerate[ing] income tax deductions (2007, p. 204) which teaches their children to rationalize cheating and lying. A great deal of the literature on this subject also discusses the influence of personal educational goals on academic dishonesty (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Gehring, Nuss, & Pavela 1986; Whitley, & Keith-Spiegel, 2001; Yang & Gaskill, 2011). Since goals are often the reason why people have different levels of intentions and attributions to engage in academic activities (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3420), they also apply to why people cheat or plagiarize. Students sometimes feel that they are incapable of reaching their goals without cheating or plagiarizing. These personal academic goals can include getting a good grade, avoiding looking incompetent, getting admission into college/graduate school, or impressing the teacher or/and peers (Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3420). Furthermore, students justify academic dishonesty when they feel that the material in their classes is not going to help them achieve their goals (Gehring, Nuss, & Pavela 1986). But one alarming finding by Whitley, & Keith-Spiegel 26. 35 (2001) comes from a professor s interview with a student in which the student stated that anything worth having is worth cheating for. Lack of serious consequences and ignorance about plagiarism may also lead to academic dishonesty. Ma et. al. (2008) reported that after students had cheated once, they had discovered that there was no immediate consequence for them if they cheated occasionally [making] risks to cheat [worthwhile] because the odds of getting caught were low (p. 200). Additionally, some students fall into plagiarizing work because they simply do not understand paraphrasing and citation rules (Pearson, 2011, p. 54) which is generally called unconscious or accidental plagiarism. Unconscious or accidental plagiarism may be another cause of academic dishonesty by educators. Students being unaware of their plagiarism could be a result of improper or inadequate instruction about research and citation. Conversely, only a small piece of literature proposes that students who practice good academic integrity do so because they know plagiarism is wrong, they're afraid of getting caught, or they don't feel the need to cheat because they are confident about their research and writing skills (Sterngold, 2004, p. 18). To summarize, students commonly regard web-based courses as being easier because of the convenience they offer (i.e. no specific location, meeting time, dress code, technological resources) (Kennedy et al., 2000; Kolowich, 2011; Ma et al., 2008; Yang & Gaskill, 2011). This perception may lead students to become more relaxed and feel less pressure to follow rules than in a formal classroom setting. The element of comfort and the perceived lack of consequences contribute significantly to the motivation to cheat, and without the teacher actually being able to 27. 36 see the students provides for much more freedom. Considering all of these factors, it becomes apparent that cheating is more often than not a crime of opportunity (Kolowich, 2011, para. 11); web-based courses provide for an outstanding number of opportunities that make it easier for students to cheat by reducing the effort involved (Yang & Gaskill, 2011, p. 3419). The ease of cheating in online courses comes from the accessibility of technology and how it plays a major role in making cheating and plagiarizing virtually effortless. Computers and handheld devices allow students to collaborate on independent assignments and provide access to websites which are a convenient way to engage in digital plagiarism (Ma et al., 2008, p. 200). As a result of this, Kennedy et al. (2000) states that both students and faculty believe it is easier to cheat in a distance learning class (para. 1). The multiple opportunities and tools at the convenience of students that make online cheating so easy will be discussed further in Chapter 4. Perceptions of Academic Dishonesty Perhaps the most influential reason for why students cheat or plagiarize has to do with perceptions and attitudes. Teachers are becoming more aware of the fact that their students do not view cheating and plagiarizing the same way that they do and it may be defined differently between students as well (Schmelkin, Gilbert, Spencer, Pincus, & Silva, 2008). Although many of the reasons students cheat or plagiarize can be applied to both the classroom and online setting, it has not been proven that students engaged in online education have a fundamentally 28. 37 different perception of what does and does not constitute cheating compared to those in traditional educational environments (Black et al., 2008, p. 28). Perceptions in both web-based and traditional education will be analyzed. To disprove the idea that student perceptions about academic integrity are different in the online or classroom setting, one study at The University of Florida found that students perceived that there was less cheating in online classes as compared to face to face classes (Black et al., 2008, p. 25). However, despite the fact that many of them did perceiv[e] a higher level of learning as compared to face to face classes, the students who perceived they were learning more were less likely to perceive that there is cheating occurring (Black et al., 2008, p. 27). This finding would therefore prove that students may cheat because they do not feel as though they are learning in their web-based course. Additionally, this study supported the previously discussed idea that the lack of interaction with the instructor influences academic dishonesty in the sense that students who had more interactions with their instructors and faculty were less likely to feel cheating was occurring within their online course (Black et al., 2008, p. 27). Although beneficial, these findings do not definitively determine whether or not perceptions are different based on the class format. A large part of student perceptions of academic dishonesty has to do with their peers. Many times, students are likely to perceive much higher incidences of academic dishonesty in others than in themselves (Spaulding, 2011, p. 2720). This is perhaps due to social desirability bias, the tendency is to answer questions about oneself in order to gain social approval rather than portray one s actual feelings (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960; Paulhus, 1991). Evidence for this 29. ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN TRADITIONAL AND ONLINE CLASSROOMS: DOES THE MEDIA EQUATION HOLD TRUE? ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IN TRADITIONAL AND ONLINE CLASSROOMS: DOES THE MEDIA EQUATION HOLD TRUE? Erik W. Black Doctoral Fellow and Candidate The School of Teaching and, The University of Florida Joe Greaser. Ad-Hoc Committee on Academic Integrity. Survey Summary Report. Ad-Hoc Committee on Academic Integrity Survey Summary Report Presented at the UAA Faculty Senate Retreat 24 August 2011 CONTENTS I. Methodology II. Perceptions of Academically Dishonest Behaviors Table. Communities of Integrity in Online Courses: Faculty Member Beliefs and Strategies. Communities of Integrity in Online Courses: Faculty Member Beliefs and Strategies Lori McNabb Assistant Director, Student and Faculty Services University of Texas System TeleCampus Austin, TX 78701 USA. George Watson Marshall University [email protected] James Sottile Marshall University [email protected] Abstract. distance/ojdla/spring3/watson3.html of 2 3//200 0:02 AM George Watson Marshall University [email protected] James Sottile Marshall University [email protected] Abstract With. Michael P. Watters Henderson State University. Paul J. Jep Robertson University of Texas-Brownsville. Renae K. Clark Henderson State University. ABSTRACT Student perceptions of cheating in online business courses Michael P. Watters Henderson State University Paul J. Jep Robertson University of Texas-Brownsville Renae K. Clark Henderson State University. Student Perceptions of Credibility and Enhancing the Integrity of Online Business Courses: A Case Study. Student Perceptions of Credibility and Enhancing the Integrity of Online Business Courses: A Case Study Michael P. Watters Louis Dawkins Professor of Accounting Henderson State University (corresponding. 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