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Fostering Academic Integrity

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About Academic Integrity

Instances of academic misconduct have increased globally over the last couple of decades, threatening the integrity of higher education institutions. A particularly worrying aspect is the proliferation of online tools and services for cheating, including contract cheating companies or 'essay mills' that target students to complete their assignments for a fee and file sharing sites that harvest and share students' personal data.

Contract cheating companies advertise themselves as completely legal and plagiarism free, sometimes appearing to be a tutoring service. File-sharing sites collect course materials including assignments tasks and completed assignments and make these publicly available. Many students may not realise that sharing course materials without permission is a breach of academic integrity, and that it might expose their personal information to online fraud.

These forms of academic misconduct are often more difficult to detect than the old standard of copy and paste plagiarism, and they pose increased risks to both students and universities. Ireland is one of a few countries with legislation in place to prosecute contract cheating providers.

It is vital that students and staff work together to decrease contract cheating. This can range from informing students about the risks associated with contract cheating, highlighting key supports such as offered by UCC's Skills Centre and UCC Library, integrating practices that foster academic integrity across the student learning journey, and redesigning assessments to lessen the possibility of cheating.

Overview of course

Those who engage with the Fostering Academic Integrity short course will be supported to:
  1. Identify the core principles of academic integrity.
  2. Describe key points of engagement or intervention across the student journey in relation to academic integrity. 
  3. Analyse reports from plagiarism detection software from different disciplinary perspectives.
  4. Evaluate responses to potential academic misconduct examples based on your understanding of relevant policies and procedures.   
  5. Reflect on your role in fostering a culture of academic integrity in the university.

Although targeted mainly at academic and academic support staff in higher education, this short course is relevant to all staff who support student learning. The course is self-paced and divided across six modules.

If you are taking this course for a UCC Digital Badge, there are a few short activities to complete as you progress through the course culminating in a 300-500 word reflection on your role in fostering academic integrity across the University. If you are not taking this for a digital badge, you can engage with the course content as you wish and do not have to complete these activities.



Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL)

West Lodge, Main Campus,