Digital literacies and academic integrity

A Nicole Pfannenstiel


The everyday use of new media technology has inevitably resulted in a shift in students' learning and literacy practices. When tracked into the classroom, these new literacies have consequences for scholarly practice, such as when students complete assignments that draw on source material of dubious academic credibility, which leads to conflict with their teacher's expectations about academic integrity. For instance, when students build on their new media literacy skills by creating mashup videos for YouTube, they will probably exercise different ideas about fair use of source material and acknowledgement practices than those upheld in academe. However, educators can bridge the gap between these everyday media practices and more academic expectations about integrity and appropriate discourse by explicitly discussing the different protocols at play in student use of new media technologies and activities. Allowing for usage of 'home-based' literacy practices gives educators the room to explore alternative academic literacies, which fit new classroom dynamics, while also meeting the needs of more discipline specific academic discourse. This paper will discuss some ways to begin conversations about literacy that will lead to students engaging with issues of academic integrity, arguing that decontextualised moralising about plagiarism, for example, serves little purpose. Approaching academic integrity as itself a form of literacy practice allows educators to build on existing literacies by contextualising these in relation to academic norms.

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