Editorial Vol 3, No 2

Tracey Bretag


Just days after farewelling delegates from all over the world who attended the 3rd Asia-Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity: Creating a Culture of Integrity, held at the University of South Australia, I am delighted to welcome you to Volume 3, Issue 2 of the International Journal for Educational Integrity. I am very pleased that since my entreaties in the last issue of the journal for high quality, original and relevant submissions, there has been a marked increase in the quality of manuscripts submitted for review.

This current issue provides an international and inter-disciplinary view of academic integrity. Contributors represent universities in Australia and the United States, as well as diverse disciplinary perspectives, including human pathophysiology, mathematics, health sciences, accounting, finance and economics. Each of the papers in the current issue examines a particular issue of academic integrity and contributes an original viewpoint.

Michael Kremmer, Mark Brimble and Peta Stevenson-Clarke, from the Griffith Business School at Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia, report on data from a survey of 1 057 students across four major Queensland universities which investigated factors that may influence student engagement in academic misconduct. They found that a student's age, gender and nationality are useful in explaining the probability of a student cheating. The key finding, however, suggests that the likelihood that a student will engage in any given cheating behaviour is most strongly influenced by the extent to which the student engages in other forms of cheating, supporting the notion of 'once a cheat always a cheat'.

Steve McKillup and Ruth McKillup, from the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health at Central Queensland University, Australia, describe an original strategy for pre-empting plagiarism, called the 'hypothetical condition' essay. For this type of essay, the instructor invents a fictitious but entirely plausible physiological condition or concept which students must evaluate and discuss. The hypothetical condition essay was trialled with a second level undergraduate human pathophysiology class in 2007. No cases of plagiarism were detected and grade distribution was comparable with previous offerings of the course. The hypothetical condition essay also appeared to foster originality and critical thought, and the authors suggest that the concept of this type of assessment could be applied in many fields.

Ken Randall, Denise Bender and Diane Montgomery, from the University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center, in the United States, used Q method analysis to understand the opinions of students and faculty in health sciences programs regarding what they consider to be key aspects of academic integrity. Thirty-eight students and faculty sorted statements on academic integrity to represent their reactions to the condition of instruction, "What are your thoughts about values in your academic program?". The key finding was that although cheating occurs even in health sciences programs such as occupational and physical therapy, students and faculty appear to share a notable degree of common ground as it relates to their opinions on academic integrity.

The final paper in this issue, by Sven Trenholm from Herkimer County Community College in New York, is based on a survey of all listed Fall 2006 State University of New York (SUNY) Learning Network (SLN) mathematics faculty, and focusses on assessment in math e-learning. The study compared the practice of assessment in proctored math e-learning courses with that of assessment in unproctored math e-learning courses and sought to identify the most popular strategies for assessing math e-learning courses.

It is clear from the diverse papers in this issue, and those presented recently at 3APCEI, that academic/educational integrity is more than an emerging field of inquiry. It is genuinely inter-disciplinary and wide-ranging in the forms of research being undertaken. The streams at the conference and pre-conference workshop provide some indication of this diversity: institutional approaches to educational integrity, policies relating to academic integrity officers, research, teaching and learning, contextual factors, specific student groups, transnational issues, emotional work and ethics in theory and practice.

I encourage all readers of the IJEI, including teachers, researchers, writers and students to continue to explore the multi-various aspects of academic integrity from both a practical and theoretical perspective and to contribute manuscripts for review. In particular, we welcome contributions from scholars working in countries where educational integrity is only just beginning to emerge as an area of inquiry. Please send all submissions directly to me at tracey.bretag@unisa.edu.au

Tracey Bretag,
Editor, International Journal for Educational Integrity
December 2007

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21913/IJEI.v3i2.161