Saturday, January 7, 2012

Academic integrity in the A&P course

How do you prevent cheating in your A&P class?  Or do you even think about it?

One of my favorite "teaching" books is What the Best College Teachers Do.  After examining diverse "master teachers," the author (Ken Bain) lists some of the characteristics most often seen in such individuals.  One of them is that master teachers do not fret much about cheating in their courses.  Instead, they seem to focus more on developing a culture in each learning community that naturally discourages dishonesty by building trust and integrity.

That revelation changed the way I look at cheating in my courses.  Rather than working hard at developing complex anti-cheating strategies, I work hard at educating my students about the value of academic integrity. Although one can never be absolutely certain of the extent of cheating in one's courses, the tools I do have available tell me that cheating is not a significant problem in my courses.

Of course, I do pay attention to setting things up in ways that discourage cheating, but I don't go overboard . . . and I don't worry about it.

How, exactly, do I promote academic integrity?  And what are some of the specific methods that I use to discourage cheating?   Those answers and more can be found in the resources below:

Want to know more?
Why be honest?
Kevin Patton
The A&P Student 5 January 2012
[Brief article for students.  Explains why they should want to be honest. You can link to this in your syllabus or course website.]

Academic Integrity
Kevin Patton
The A&P Professor accessed 5 January 2012
[Extended version of this article.  It also gives specific tips and examples, as well as free resources such as handouts, syllabus example, and PowerPoint slides.]

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