Topic outline

  • Module 4: Academic Integrity in a Digital Age

    Module Description

    This is the fourth module in the Digital Fluency course for academics. In this module learners will be introduced to issues related to academic integrity, which has become a matter of increasing concern in the digital age. Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has been widely embraced, and much information and many resources are readily accessible through the internet. However, these available resources may be licensed or copyrighted in a variety of ways, and adhering to this may cause challenges in ensuring academic integrity in higher education. Although the promotion and use of licensed Open Educational Resources (OER) goes some way towards mitigating this challenge, attention needs to be paid to the user’s behaviour when dealing with any resource, data, or information, whatever its associated licensing.

    Teachers and learners should be supported in employing newly acquired digital skills in an efficient, effective, and appropriate manner within an academic environment. This module is intended to stimulate ethical thinking and behaviour, and promote good practice in evaluating and using available resources to create quality scholarly reports and academic resources. In order to promote academic integrity, this module has been designed to provide learners with the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience via a series of practical activities. 

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completing this module, learners are expected to have developed skills and knowledge related to:

    • exploring the concept of ‘academic integrity’;
    • examining issues related to intellectual property rights in academic settings;
    • identifying and creating strategies to promote academic integrity; and
    • exploring data and information privacy.
  • Introduction

    The choice of the word “integrity” is deliberate and due to its broad and holistic nature. Integrity is a term used to describe a good person in different contexts, including in the classroom, in research, in the community and in their profession. In our daily academic life there are many challenges associated with academic integrity. Students and researchers alike may at times find themselves “cheating”. It is more common than we would like to find students looking for someone to do assignments for them, cheat in examinations, or copy and paste elements of the research work of others without acknowledgement. The effect of cheating is far-reaching, to the extent that society finds itself surrounded by irresponsible citizens, some of whom progress through their studies dishonestly and are later found holding senior and influential positions.

    The questions then are: how do we ensure academic integrity in the era of freely available online resources? What is the role of academic institutions in ensuring academic integrity is enhanced in their practices? What is the role of ICT in making sure that academic integrity is enhanced?

    In this topic, the learner will be introduced to the concept of academic integrity, explore the values of academic integrity, and the role of courage in academic integrity. You may like to start this topic by viewing the video (3m 50s) What is Academic Integrity and Academic Dishonesty? (Mercy College of Ohio, 2015).

    <Please note that the hyperlink for the video has been disabled to reduce the file backup size. Following the restoring of the backup file on your server, you should hyperlink the video title above to: https://youtu.be/8XBsNwzf4Ds in order to embed and play the video from within this module.>

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this topic you are expected to be able to:

    • understand what consitutes academic integrity;
    • describe the values of academic integrity; and
    • explain the role of courage to enhancing academic integrity.
  • Introduction

    This topic is designed to equip you with a general overview of Intellectual Property (IP) in academia. It begins with a short explanation of basic IP concepts, followed by how to identify items that are protected by copyright and those that are not, and explore the role of IP in Open Educational Resources (OER) (see Digital Fluency, Module 2) and Open Source Software (OSS). We conclude by looking at aspects of IP in academia, as well as the effect  of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) development on Intellectual Property. Start by viewing the video (4m 32s) 'Copyright, Creative Commons & Fair Use' (TCE, 2016).

    <Please note that the hyperlink for the video has been disabled to reduce the file backup size. Following the restoring of the backup file on your server, you should hyperlink the video title above to: https://youtu.be/sbQMxI310iQ in order to embed and play the video from within this module>

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this topic you are expected to be able to:

    • explain the meaning of Intellectual Property;
    • be aware of basic IP concepts and principles;
    • be familiar with OER, OSS, and related IP protection; and
    • explain Intellectual Property protection in the context of ICT development
  • Introduction

    In topics 1 and 2 of this module you were introduced to academic integrity and intellectual property. These topics were designed to create awareness of the need to develop a society of high integrity. In this topic you will explore strategies to promote a culture of academic integrity:  who is responsible, and how this could be achived. Questions may include: who creates a culture of dis/honesty in universities, for whose interest, and whose benefits? It is envisaged that once a culture of academic integrity is institutionally embedded, it will transfer to the entire community. Start by viewing the video (5m 19s) Preserving Academic Integrity (Michigan State University, 2014).

    <Please note that the hyperlink for the video has been disabled to reduce the file backup size. Following the restoring of the backup file on your server, you should hyperlink the video title above to: https://youtu.be/L7H6u6b6ue8 in order to embed and play the video from within this module.>

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this topic you are expected to be able to:

    • identify violations of academic integrity;
    • describe causes of dishonesty in academia; and
    • state strategies to promote academic integrity.
  • Introduction

    The primary goal of this final topic is to facilitate a solid understanding of the basic rules for protecting privacy and personal information in the education sector. The topic also seeks to illuminate issues relating to data gathered through the use of emerging technologies, as well as data protection in research. Furthermore, relevant issues of legal policies on privacy and data protection will be explored. View the video (6m14s) The Ethics of Data – Personal Data and Privacy (BBC Research and Development, 2016).

    <Please note that the hyperlink for the video has been disabled to reduce the file backup size. Following the restoring of the backup file on your server, you should hyperlink the video title above to: https://youtu.be/naaDBNSx610 in order to embed and play the video from within this module.>

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this topic you are expected to be able to:

    • Discuss personal information and privacy protection;
    • describe issues relating to data in emerging technologies and data protection in research; and
    • be aware of legal policies on data and privacy protection.
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    Many thanks for your participation!