Project Insights: Academic Integrity “It’s Okay to Ask for Help” Video Campaign

The “It’s Okay to Ask for Help” Video builds upon the Learning with Integrity Campaign and educate students on topics of academic integrity. The Academic Integrity team reflects on what they learned from the project and hopes to inspire others to reach out and ask for help. 

Written by William Wu, Bachelor of Commerce; Ivy Cao, Master of Information, User Experience Design; Anchana Kuganesan MASc, Biomedical Engineering (Design Research Team Lead)

The transition to online learning during the pandemic has increased pressure on students to complete their academic work with integrity. For this project, the Innovation Hub built on its partnership with the Provost Office and Tech2U team to co-create a student-friendly video campaign to educate students about Academic Integrity. We are excited to publish the “It’s Okay to Ask for Help” video to be shared amongst the University of Toronto community to seek help throughout one’s academic journey.  

Learning from Research 

A paper with the top and bottom scrolled inward with a magnifying glass in the bottom right, and inside the magnifying glass there is a clock with an arrow circling it going counterclockwise 

Throughout this project, our team acquired a wealth of knowledge regarding both academic integrity and teamwork. Academic integrity is such an important topic at the University, because it is essential for ensuring fairness and preparing students to succeed in their chosen careers. Additionally, we gained a deeper understanding of various perspectives on academic integrity through conversations with professors, TAs, and other academic services staff on campus.  

Ivy: Through interviews, I gained knowledge about the role of learning strategists, how to access a librarian, and how to schedule an appointment with the writing center, among other things. Not only did these interviews provide our team with ideas for our project script, but they also motivated me to take advantage of these services myself. I appreciate their unwavering commitment to supporting students on their academic journey. 

We were pleased to discover that a significant number of individuals at the University of Toronto are dedicated to supporting this campaign and offer numerous resources to students to prevent academic offences. Asking for help is a difficult skill to develop, but a worthwhile piece of learning that enables students to learn safely and with integrity.   

Perspective Matters 

We had the wonderful opportunity to listen to multiple perspectives on academic integrity and discuss the available supports on campus. We learned that staff and professors are more than willing to help, and they genuinely care for students.  

Two people with connected speech bubbles and a lightbulb in the

William: As a student, I understand that it can be tough to take the first step, but plenty of resources on campus exist solely to support students. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a range of people for this project, including professors, TAs, librarians, writing center staff, and learning strategists. They’re all passionate about helping students succeed and are eager to lend a hand. 

We also heard from students about their struggles, and we deeply empathized with their experiences. During the research process, we deeply relate to the emotions that students experience during tough times in school. Feelings of stress, anxiety, and frustration are common and painful. We used an empathy-based interview approach to understand different perspectives and formulate a key message for the video to students: “You are not alone; there are lots of people here to help you. 

A sun rising with some plants on the ground

Environment Foster Integrity 

As more students begin to use these resources, we hope to see a reduction in academic misconduct incidents. Our aim with this video on academic integrity is to foster an environment where students feel comfortable and empowered to seek out assistance when they need it, and to prevent academic misconduct from happening in the first place. We would highly encourage all students to visit the Academic Integrity website and see what student peers and mentors have to say about this topic.  

It’s okay to ask for help! 

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