The Academic Integrity Project: Designing Student-Centered Academic Integrity at U of T

Hai Dao smiling to the camera on a sunny day
Hai-Dao Le Nguyen
Shankeri outside, with a plain grey background, smiling to the camera
Shankeri Vijayakumar

By Shankeri Vijayakumar – Data Analysis Researcher and Hai-Dao Le Nguyen – Data Analysis Researcher 

Academic Integrity is essential to learning at the University of Toronto as students learn to engage with knowledge and ideas in a way that is respectful and honourable. This past year, the Innovation Hub partnered with U of T’s Provost’s Office to explore what academic integrity means and how it is experienced by students at the university.  

A map with a journey drawn on it, with a heart being the final point

Our work began in Fall 2020 trying to think about what students needed for academic integrity support—it’s been a difficult time for everyone! We developed a campaign  with vibrant visuals and compassionate messaging to #LearnWithIntegrity. We were especially inspired by the 7 Grandfathers of Academic Integrity at UofT, which focuses on the values that we can uphold through academic integrity. The campaign was sent out to all three campuses and continues to be a part of academic integrity messaging at the University. Read about the #LearnWithIntegrity communications campaign here.  

An illustration of an individual, with conversation bubbles surrounding them with a heart, idea, and lightbulb in each.

Developing the campaign made us curious to know more about what students needed around academic integrity, more specifically what students experience and know. To engage students in a meaningful dialogue about their experiences of academic integrity, we designed and facilitated virtual feedback sessions  for students to share with us. We collected feedback on student attitudes and experiences with academic integrity more broadly in their university experience and how they experience supports and resources.  We are grateful to our research participants who shared their experiences with us with candor and sincerity—thank you! 

We found that instilling courage in U of T students to take pride in their own ideas and honour the ideas of others results in academic integrity.  

A hand holding an icon of a student wearing a graduation cap.

Students care strongly about their learning, especially when it involves making sure they do it both well and with integrity. Ensuring that learning happens with integrity involves acknowledging and supporting the emotional journey in order to instill courage in students to ask questions when confused, to express their ideas and respect the ideas of others, and learn from their mistakes. Academic integrity is not something that is always obvious or easy to understand – it is complex, sometimes confusing, and serious. Students want their work to come from a place of courage and strength rather than from fear and misunderstanding. When students are supported in this journey, academic integrity is integrated in their learning.  

Through this work, we are excited to be opening a dialogue with students on the value of academic integrity and what it means to them. Our research has been shared with the Provost’s Office and we are hopeful that we will continue to see a student-centred approach to academic integrity.

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