Encouraging Active Classroom Discussion of Academic Integrity and Misconduct in Higher Education Business Contexts
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The present study assessed business students’ responses to an innovative interactive presentation on academic integrity that employed quoted material from previous students as launching points for discussion. In total, 15 business classes (n = 412 students) including 2nd, 3rd and 4th year level students participated in the presentations as part of the ethics component of ongoing courses. Students’ perceptions of the importance of academic integrity, self-reports of cheating behaviors, and factors contributing to misconduct were examined along with perceptions about the presentation. Discussion sessions revealed that academic misconduct is a complex issue. For example, knowledge of what constitutes misconduct was not consistent across domains (e.g. exam contexts versus group work), penalties were not wholly known, and there was variation in perceived responsibility for reporting and representing academic integrity. Survey measures revealed that self-reported academic misconduct was more prevalent than expected with only 7.5% of students indicating they had never cheated in any way. Furthermore, results showed gender and year of study as predictive factors for issues related to academic misconduct. In general, students were receptive to this form of presentation. The implications of such instructional interventions for enhancing ethical behaviors in higher education classrooms are discussed.