The concept of academic integrity reflects moral code, ethical standards in scholarship. These values include openness, responsibility, trust, fairness, respect, averting of academic dishonesty practices such as copying, sustaining high academic standards and ensuring thoroughness in research and publications. Academic integrity values may differ from one institution to another, but they all reflect similar moral codes and ethical standards required in scholarship.
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It is the core set of values and standards, which guides several aspects of learning in institutions of higher learning. Hence, faculty population and students must observe integrity, honesty, hard work and ensure smooth transition of characters to behaviors. Academic integrity shows learners’ experiences and determines the value of their qualifications. For any student, academic integrity is the core value of the degree.
In other words, any students who fail to maintain high standards of academic integrity, clearly compromise the quality and worth of education they get. Students who use works of other authors without proper acknowledgement, citation or reference and are involved in plagiarism violate academic integrity and thus depict academic dishonesty. Such academic dishonesty harms the reputation of students who plagiarize the work of other authors. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty harm the reputation of an institution as a whole.
In most institutions, students are encouraged to demonstrate learning activities that promote academic integrity. These may include independent studying, developing effective learning skills and acknowledging ideas from other sources through appropriate citation and referencing.
The institution has the responsibility to provide policies that guide and promote academic integrity. On the other hand, students also have the responsibility of being familiar with all academic integrity policies as provided in the relevant policy student handbooks.
Faculty fraternity is expected to uphold high standards of integrity to ensure academic rigor and to enhance learning, self-determination, create good status for an institution and promote effective learning and interaction with learners and communities. Institutions of higher learning have abilities to instill long-lasting academic integrity in faculty.
In addition, the concept of academic integrity strengthens the faculty and students’ relationship. Academic integrity ensures that both learners and faculty share principles, behaviors and sets of values that promote success throughout the academic community. Therefore, students and faculty have critical roles to play to ensure academic integrity and define excellence in institutions of higher learning.
Evolution of Academic Integrity
Academic integrity emerged in the late 18th century. It was associated with the southern honor code at the time (Gallant 13). Students took active roles in monitoring the code while the prevailing culture of the time also influenced practices. The major purpose of the code was to promote responsibility, self-importance, power and develop self-esteem in students.
Therefore, any practices that inculcated these concepts in learners were highly encouraged and became the ultimate goal for people. This implies that academic integrity was closely linked to the status and manifestation of upright character in students. Therefore, any practices that could lead to academic dishonesty were not encouraged, but those who adopted such practices considered them as indispensable means to an end.
Toward the end of the 19th century, universities shifted their “goals, which influenced and changed the concept of academic integrity” (Gallant 13). Professors at the time were concerned with original works, research and students expected them to deliver original contents. Professors had to secure tenure and publish original materials, which made their jobs extremely hard.
Nevertheless, any practices of academic dishonesty were regarded as acts of weaknesses and thus mistakes. At the time, the southern honor code, with regard to academic integrity, shifted the focus to reflect contemporary practices and concepts. During this period, academic integrity emerged strongly to substitute the honor code.
Universities had to focus on academic integrity rather than individual honor. Such a transformation was necessary to enhance unity within institutions of higher learning and ensure that learners were held accountable for any academic dishonesty and other dishonest practices. Learners felt empowered when they could monitor learning practices among themselves.
Academic integrity gained prominence because of demands for original research among faculty populations. Faculty fraternity started to question research integrity of their members and students as well. Professors experienced intense demands and were under steady observation by the public because of their professional roles and status.
As a result, there was a need to develop academic integrity principles for faculty and learners. Faculty and students had different goals and orientation. Therefore, it was not necessary for them to subscribe to the same values and standards. Consequently, in the 1970s, many institutions introduced different principles for faculty members and student fraternity.
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In the current world of scholarship, many aspects have transformed the concept of academic integrity. In this case, however, technology has taken the center stage in redefining academic integrity concept. Technology has influenced the academic field in two critical ways. Technology has challenged the conventional concepts, learner and teacher experiences and outlook of learning and teaching.
As a result, it has changed approaches to learning and teaching. The major contribution of technology to learning has been its ability to enhance information accessibility to several millions of learners globally at the same time. This has also brought about issues regarding information ownership. That is, students growing up in the technology era may develop skewed views on information ownership. Individuals who studied before the technology era had to obtain information directly from sources of such materials.
Today, however, technology has transformed learning. For example, learners or researchers can simply use keywords to search for relevant materials from the Internet and possibly obtain materials without any references or authorship information. Technology, therefore, has transformed how information is obtained and viewed.
A single author may create a text, but it becomes a public material because of the Internet. On this note, institutions of higher learning have greater pressures to ensure that all sources used in research are acknowledged, and they must review how the Internet sources are used. In this case, academic integrity has risen beyond an individual’s character review to a social issue of concern for the entire academic community.
International conferences have discussed the issue of academic integrity. They are concerned with enhanced academic integrity in research. Moreover, they have proposed various ways of discouraging academic dishonesty. Such conferences strive to eliminate scientific misconducts in research.
As a result, there are ethic checklists and statements on research integrity to ensure that all academic publications adhere to academic integrity practices. The issue of academic integrity has become a major challenge as universities focus on increasing their incomes from research activities and journal publications.
Today, many institutions of higher learning practice academic integrity. Several institutions have embedded the concept into their mission statements and have reflected it in their honor codes. In addition, they have also dedicated lessons for academic integrity in ethics classes. In fact, students must learn about academic integrity within the first year in their institutions.
While several institutions of higher learning have already provided information about academic integrity in their student handbooks, there are also sections of the Web sites of such universities for academic integrity and expected students’ conducts when studying. Such universities show what academic integrity means to them.
Today, universities have adopted an inclusive approach to promote academic integrity. They have established Student Honor Councils and provided warning about engaging in academic dishonesty. Universities must ensure that learners develop moral values expected in order to ensure academic integrity. Several universities have focused on promoting honesty to ensure that the academic community develops acceptable values. In addition, universities conduct regular surveys to help in understanding awareness about academic integrity.
Originality and Anti-plagiarism Software
Today, many universities rely on plagiarism detection software programs such as VeriGuide, Turnitin and Viper among others to detect potential cases of copied works. Such software programs aim to enhance academic honesty among students in institutions of higher learning. Students can use these platforms to submit their works and manage cases of plagiarism. In addition, such programs also analyze text readability, act as database and collection points for completed works.
In fact, some universities have conducted a series of workshops to ensure that the academic community becomes more familiar with plagiarism detection software (Tobin par. 1). Universities emphasize originality of students’ assignments. As a result, there are several ways of catching dishonest students.
However, many faculty members or teaching centers do not yet understand how anti-plagiarism programs work. They are unable to send students’ assignments to such online programs and get feedback on similarities in areas sourced from the Internet, library databases and from other sources. Such software programs show “similarity percentages and potential copying highlighted in different colors” (Tobin par. 5).
However, anti-plagiarism software platforms are not always correct. They have created confusion for students, particularly when students are handling known issues, assignments with similar procedures and possible results. These are cases of false results from anti-plagiarism software, but they raise an important issue of originality.
Universities and faculty members have adopted various strategies to ensure that works submitted by students are done under thorough conditions and are actually done by the students themselves. Online learning and term paper mills have resulted into business opportunities for anti-plagiarism software groups. These businesses offer to compare students’ work with contents in large databases for originality.
Nevertheless, several institutions have noted that academic integrity could differ based on many factors, including definition (Tobin par. 6). For instance, humanity subjects such as liberal arts strive for absolute originality of students’ works. Students are expected to incorporate researched contents into their works, but arguments must remain largely original. However, it might be difficult to achieve originality in certain science subjects such as “biology and chemistry because of the design and procedures” (Tobin par. 6).
Students are expected to demonstrate originality in their experimentation processes. While in liberal arts, students are expected to show originality and maintain academic integrity even if they rely on previous works to support their research. This is not the cases however in science subjects. Hence, the concept of originality has broad categories and perhaps other definition of original work in the academic community. This is a source of major challenge to faculty.
Faculty members have defined what constitutes academic dishonesty and violation of academic integrity in their disciplines. Students, who directly copy their works from other sources without proper citation, copy assignment answers from others, get other students to do their works or share answers are engaged in definite violation of academic integrity policies.
The issue of originality becomes complex when students’ own original work is considered in other disciplines. Anti-plagiarism software programs have a blanket approach to detect similar contents. However, students are expected to demonstrate certain skills as they are found.
There are various approaches to originality. There is originality of content that is common in liberal arts. In this case, originality tends to reflect the model used to develop methods of detecting and combating academic dishonesty. Students are expected to develop their works based on previous works by other scholars.
However, students must demonstrate original approaches, ideas, logic and structures. That is, they cannot simply retell, review or re-order works of other writers. In this case, similarity detection software programs will identify works by students who rely heavily on source documents to complete their works. Such programs also evaluate logical structure of assignments against the original contents.
There is also originality issue related to the design of the work (Tobin par. 9). Students are expected to show originality in the design of their science experiments. The role of students is to “confirm results obtained by other researchers or test hypotheses of other scholars” (Tobin par. 9).
Data are already available or gathered by students. Hence, the original section of students’ works should be demonstrated in the analysis of results and implications for future studies. In these cases of experimentation, originality software programs could fail to capture what is expected and over-report known facts. Experiments tend to have specific, well-known procedures. Learners are expected to follow “similar procedures in design-based subjects and work with nearly the same contents in their assignments” (Tobin par. 9).
Finally, there is also originality based on the method of a task. This is expected in social sciences in which students are required to “develop new methods of testing hypotheses” (Tobin par. 9). Instead of working on available experiments, students engage in learning new and original methods of conducting experiments.
While they rely on available experiments, they rarely duplicate other works. They use previous inquiries to enhance the existing body of literature in their respective fields. Learners develop coherent relations with past studies and provide possible areas for further studies. In most case, plagiarism software tools provide higher percentages in method-based subjects because many aspects of contents already exist in literature reviews or part of several citations that offer background information.
Despite these developments in academic integrity, the concept remains a major challenge for many institutions of higher learning. In the previous decades, academic dishonesty has been worse. As a result, universities have embarked on developing and promoting common moral values to alleviate this crisis.
There are some issues facing academic integrity in the contemporary setting. The Internet offers simple, easy ways of getting relevant materials that students can use to cheat. This challenge did not exist in the previous decades until recently. Today, as mentioned previously, the concept of originality is blurred. Students may not cite their materials because of abundant information while other researchers have failed to provide authorship to their works.
Printed materials were the main sources of study references before the Internet and information abundance. Today, however, there are several publications in the Internet and many are added at extremely higher rates. Such information remains largely without authorship because most authors are ignorance of what constitutes citation. For example, some learners may assume that freely available information on the Internet does not need to be cited.
Additionally, there are several instructional materials, which offer guidance to students on how they can cheat. Availability of these materials has resulted into a less serious attitude toward academic integrity among students.
The Internet and other technologies offer several ways through which students can cheat. As a result, universities find it difficult to keep up with academic integrity requirements among their learners. In other words, current rules, policies and guidelines cannot keep up with new emerging issues because of technologies.
Online learning and assessments have also contributed to issues of academic dishonesty. Besides, new forms of cheating have emerged and cheating may become automated in the future. While universities have adopted countermeasures to tackle academic dishonesty, most of these approaches have not yielded expected results.
Online assessments and distance learning requires advanced software packages to detect cheating. In addition, instructors must also be careful and ensure that they only provide assignments that cannot be easily plagiarized such as practical questions and short answer questions (Rowe par. 7).
Academic integrity also faces challenges related to grade inflation. In this case, it is the faculty members or other persons within the teaching fraternity who violates principles of academic integrity rather than students. Maintaining academic integrity requires collaboration between faculty and students.
The Wall Street Journal Articles: Commentaries
Africa’s Sugar Ambitions Turn Sour by Bariyo
Bariyo has observed the challenges of Africa’s sugar industry and noted in the article, Africa’s Sugar Ambitions Turn Sour. The industry has to deal with cheap imports and falling prices of sugar. The author asserts that Africa’s sugar rush is over (Bariyo par. 1).
For a better part of the previous decades, the Africa’s sugar industry has invested billions of dollars to develop the industry as the number of emerging middle class increases. Today, however, several sugar industries in Africa have to deal with unsustainable stockpiles. Consequently, many manufacturers have cut sugar production, delayed new projects or closed their plants.
Bariyo notes that the major cause for problems in the Africa’s sugar industry is the cheap imports of sugar coupled with lower prices. Africa imports nearly “five million metric tons of sugar every year from countries such as Brazil, China and India” (Bariyo par. 2). These countries produced highly subsidized sugar and thus they can afford to price their sugar at lower costs relative to locally manufactured sugar.
Forecasting continues to show that the world will have excess sugar produced in the coming years.
The author also shows that security also affects sugar industry in Africa, particularly in war-torn countries. In addition, relatively stable nations like Kenya have introduced onerous tax systems to protect local sugar producers from fierce competition from cheap imports. Consequently, such markets are nearly inaccessible to neighboring sugar producers.
According to Bariyo, the industry was not supposed to be this way because of the growing middle class. However, current challenges in the Africa’s sugar industry could be just indicate possible worse problems in the future. The EU has provided favorable market conditions for African sugar, but this may end through its free sugar markets and possibly erode any possible growth of the industry. If the EU terminates the preferential treatment for Africa’s sugar by the year 2017, then the industry can only sink further into woes.
Some analysts believe that Africa can address its sugar woes by reducing costs of production, eliminating trade barriers and encouraging trade.
Meanwhile, Africa’s sugar factories continue face unfavorable market conditions and halt cane milling to avoid losses and competition from cheap imports.
While Africa governments have continued to device ways, such as debt write-off and imposing tariffs to sustain sugar factories, the industry also faces low yields due to archaic farming and milling techniques and illegal repackaging of cheap imports, which will continue to hurt it.
Bariyo’s article identifies factors that are most likely to cripple the sugar industry in Africa despite the growing middle class. For instance, assault from cheap imports, lower prices, insecurity, antiquated methods of cane farming and milling, the EU’s intention to eliminate preferential treatment and heavy debts are likely to destroy the industry. While some multinational firms have identified opportunities to diversify and invest in new sugar products, Africa’s sugar producers have failed to do so.
Bariyo’s article does not offer any solutions to Africa’s sugar industry woes, except that the continent should encourage trade between countries, remove trade barriers and reduce costs of sugar production. Obviously, the challenge for the industry is critical because even Africa’s low-cost sugar manufacturers such as “South Africa, which have better technology and methods, have not been spared the impact of the global sugar glut” (Bariyo par. 13).
Humanity’s Last Great Hope: Venture Capitalists by Mims
An article, Humanity’s Last Great Hope: Venture Capitalists by Mims shows that government investing in R&D has stagnated and innovators have turned to private venture capitalists for funding.
A number of venture capitalists have emerged to fund ‘crazy viable business ideas’ for emerging innovators. One of the venture capitalists is Mr. Johnson, who wants to fund varied ideas to lengthen and enhance the quality of human life.
Mr. Johnson has recognized that humanity is at a pivotal point. The global population will hit 11 billion people by the year 2050. Hence, there is a need to “unlock human genetic code and develop new artificial intelligence and more” (Mims, par. 4). In addition, the author also claims that humanity is also at “pivotal time in history because of the willingness to invest in risky venture that could be the next big thing” (Mims, par. 5). Compared to the previous century, the US has reduced spending on developing real disruptive innovations.
Mims points out that the US government investments in R&D has declined since 1960s based on data obtained from the National Science Foundation’s biannual Science and Engineering Indicators (Mims par. 7). From a critical perspective, this may not actually seem to be a problem, but the primary challenge is the sharp decline in R&D spending that supports basic research.
Mims’ major observation is that businesses have focused on development rather than research. They are interested in commercializing available technologies. For instance, the author shows how technology companies like Apple invest in R&D to develop mobile gaming technologies while investments in critical areas to support Ebola vaccine research have dwindled. Mims also acknowledges the role of businesses in funding R&D, including basic research to enhance human life. The author, however, notes that big companies have also withdrawn from spending on basic R&D.
Such emerging challenges could create new opportunities for venture capitalists, who want to fund the right startups (Mims par. 12). Today, startups control much of the basic research that was common in companies. Technology firms acquire these startups at every opportunity and therefore, acquisitions have replaced research and development in some firms.
This situation also presents significant challenge to research because venture capitalists select businesses that they think are viable or will be acquired in the shortest time possible so that they can recoup their investments.
That is, venture capitalists are not willing to fund ideas that would take long to be commercially viable because they require thorough basic research. Such ideas may include Human Longevity, which aims to show “whether our individual genomes hold the key to medical treatments customized, by computers rather than doctors, for every one of us” (Mims, par. 15).
Traditional investors have largely neglected many of these solutions. Hence, there is a need for “new types of venture capitalists to fund and ensure commercialization of deeper long-term innovations because the gap is large” (Mims par. 9).
While Mims’ article has recognized that government and big businesses’ investments in basic R&D have declined, the author raises fundamental questions regarding the role of venture capitalists in funding basic, long-term research. The government could not sustain investment in research for long.
Consequently, private organizations had the role and responsibilities to advance human civilization by investing in basic research. Mims concludes that venture capitalists should take the lead and support high-risk innovations that would transform human existence.
How Google Handles IT for Its Workers by Rosenbush
According to an article, How Google Handles IT for Its Workers by Rosenbush, allowing workers to choose their own technology is beneficial as the case of Google shows.
Rosenbush notes a fundamental role of chief information officers (CIOs) in promoting technology and raising awareness about its value to senior executives and to the board. The author shows that CIOs’ experiences with technology adoption could differ significantly in organization. This is the case of Google’s CIO. The article demonstrates that companies such as Google with high technology awareness do not need to convince their employees about the values of emerging technologies because they have developed technology cultures for several years (Rosenbush par. 2).
The article clarifies that many companies will also adopt technology culture just like Google. One thing that Google’s CIO demonstrated in the interview is the link between technology and organizational culture.
According to this article, traditional CIOs have missed opportunities in IT by not setting the right culture for their organizations. Google allowed employees to use technology tools that they thought were appropriate rather specific ones. CIOs have greater responsibilities of defining technology cultures of their organizations through IT tools they provide to employees.
Organizational cultures emanate on how people work. Previously, employees learned how to use technology at work, but this has changed in the recent time because people can use available technologies at any place. Therefore, any limited choices of technologies set a rigid culture in an organization.
CIOs should help employees to be highly productive irrespective of IT tools they use. Employees can only achieve higher productivity if they use tools they understand best. CIOs must therefore provide such opportunities and create a different organizational culture.
These are ways of involving employees in decision-making processes, which in turn enhance collaboration and cooperation. Google’s approach to technology usage at work is disruptive, promotes flexibility and change. Change management is simple when employees can change technology more easily.
Organizations must acknowledge that technology changes extremely fast. On the other hand, companies tend not to keep up with such rapid changes to maximize returns on investments and not to make employees learn new technology most of the time. However, failure to adopt new technologies may also compromise change processes.
It is imperative for an organization to realize that enterprise technologies can also change at the same pace of consumer technology. This builds the notion of rapid change in an organization. Employees should thoroughly understand technologies and their business environment. Consequently, great awareness about technology will occur.
Organizational culture and technology are expected to change in the coming few years (Rosenbush par. 7). Clearly, CIOs must understand these changes, how they will affect their organizations and possible outcomes. CIOs must find how technologies will help their employees to become more efficient and successful. They must conduct studies with technology to determine what works best for their teams.
This article shows some interesting facts about leadership and technology. For instance, the role of CIOs in promoting technology in organizations differs significantly based on organizational cultures. CIOs should build technology cultures, promote change, adoption of new technologies and learning. Ultimately, CIOs must find how they can use technologies to promote productivity and make employee successful even by allowing greater sense of flexibility in choices of technology tools.
Bariyo, Nicholas. “Africa’s Sugar Ambitions Turn Sour.” The Wall Street Journal. 2014.
Gallant, Tricia Bertram. Academic integrity in the twenty-first century: a teaching and learning imperative. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.
Mims, Christopher. “Humanity’s Last Great Hope: Venture Capitalists.” The Wall Street Journal. 2014.
Rosenbush, Steven. “How Google Handles IT for Its Workers.” The Wall Street Journal. 2014.
Rowe, Neil C. “Cheating in Online Student Assessment: Beyond Plagiarism.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 7.2. 2004.
Tobin, Thomas J. “Academic Integrity: Defining Originality across Campus.” Faculty Focus. 2004.