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Academic Integrity Week 2022: October 17-21

Join us for Academic Integrity Week, October 17-21, 2022

AB AcInt Week 2022The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity is pleased to announce Academic Integrity Week: October 17-21, 2022.

Here are some ways for educational institutions across the province to get involved:

  • Offer events at your school to promote academic integrity
  • Engage students in conversations about academic integrity
  • Offer skill-building workshops such as citing and referencing workshops
  • Distribute academic integrity swag to students and staff
  • Hold workshops for faculty on topics such as academic misconduct case management
  • Build awareness about the predatory contract cheating industry
  • Connect with your student leaders to plan events and raise awareness
  • Cross-promote workshops and events with other Alberta institutions
  • Join the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating on October 19, 2022

Share this post: Academic Integrity Week 2022: October 17-21  https://albertaacademicintegrity.wordpress.com/2022/06/20/academic-integrity-week-2022-october-17-21/

ACAI 2022 Provincial Meeting

Join us for our 2022 Spring #AcademicIntegrity provincial meeting May 26, 2022 at Bow Valley College

Registration is open for the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity (ACAI) Spring 2022 provincial meeting.

Please join us for the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity (ACAI) Spring 2022 provincial meeting, a hybrid event to be hosted virtually by Bow Valley college. Anyone keen to support academic integrity in post-secondary institutions as well as in K-12 in Alberta is welcome – students, staff, faculty, administrators, and any other interested party. You can join in person at the Bow Valley College campus in downtown Calgary, or join virtually through MS Teams.

Highlights:

  • Presentation on the Bow Valley College research project: Understanding Student Experiences with Contract Cheating and other Outsourcing Behaviours – The research team includes an administrator, a faculty member, and two student researchers from Bow Valley College with ACAI as the community partner
  • A panel discussion by English Language Learning students sharing experiences regarding academic integrity
  • Faculty sharing UDL interventions to prevent cheating
  • Reports from the EDI, Contract Cheating, and Educational Development working groups
  • Updates on Alberta Academic Integrity Week (Oct. 18-22, 2022) activities
  • Thursday, May 26, 2022

8:30am – 3:00pm

Location: Bow Valley College – 345 6 Ave SE Calgary AB

Online through MS Teams (meeting link will be provided closer to the event date)

Register here

If you have any questions, please direct them to Margaret Toye, Steering Committee Member, Alberta Council on Academic Integrity (ACAI): mtoye@bowvalleycollege.ca

We look forward to connecting with you at the meeting!

Contract Cheating in Alberta: Quick Facts

Quick facts about contract cheating in Alberta, Canada – 1 page downloadable resource

  • Other terms used to refer to this industry have been “term paper mills”, “essay mills”, “academic consultation services”, or “academic research services”. It is an illicit industry whose main business is providing the means for students to engage in academic misconduct by doing school work on behalf of the student. “Contract cheating” is now the preferred term worldwide.
  • Contract cheating services have been operating for decades. The first known media coverage about term paper mills in Alberta appeared in the Calgary Herald on February 24, 1972.
  • The contract cheating industry is valued at over $15 Billion USD.
  • This is a predatory industry. In 2021 the Better Business Bureau issued a scam alert about contract cheating companies that engage in extortion and blackmail of students who use their services. The industry shares some parallels with organized crime.
  • The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity estimates that over 7,000 Alberta post-secondary students are lured in by contract cheating companies every year. These companies advertise to students as homework help. Their websites look legitimate which can be both confusing and tempting for students.
  • Nearly all textbook answer keys and exam bank solutions can be found on these websites. Most instructor-created assignments and suggested solutions can be found within a week of the assignment being released.
  • Currently no data exist about the number of students in Alberta who are subjected to extortion or blackmail by contract cheating companies. We have anecdotal reports that students at many of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have been subjected to extortion.
  • Contract cheating is not currently illegal in Canada. It is illegal in several US states, Australia, and New Zealand. It is illegal for contract cheating companies to advertise their services in Ireland. Legislation has been tabled in the UK to make contract cheating illegal there.
  • Although contract cheating companies face no consequences for providing these services, students who are caught often face severe sanctions.
  • The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity provides education and advocacy around contract cheating in our province.

References:

Better Business Bureau. (2021, April 2). BBB Scam Alert: Cheating on homework leads to extortion scam. https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/24032-bbb-scam-alert-students-hire-homework-help-and-end-up-in-extortion-con

Eaton, S. E. (2021, June 22). Contract Cheating in Canada: How it Started and How it’s Going. Paper presented at the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity (CSAI) 2021 (Online), Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/113525

Grue, D., Eaton, S. E., & Boisvert, S. (2021). Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/113323

Download this resource as a 1-page handout:ACAI Contract Cheating in Alberta- Quick Facts (2021-09)

Cite this resource as:

Eaton, S. E., & Boisvert, S. (2021, September). Contract Cheating in Alberta: Quick Facts. Alberta Council on Academic Integrity: Contract Cheating Working Group. https://albertaacademicintegrity.wordpress.com/

Re-Cap of the 2021 Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity

by Margaret Toye, Bow Valley College, ACAI Steering Committee Member

The Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity was hosted by Thompson Rivers University on July 22-23, 2021. The conference was held virtually, and there was no cost to participants. There were 8 sets of concurrent sessions, with 45 sessions overall offered by 107 presenters. Presenters were from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and there were presenters from United Arab Emirates, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic. The conference was attended by 745 people from those same provinces and countries as well as Ukraine.

Contract cheating was a major topic at the conference, with four presentations on the topic as well as with the closing session on Day 1 being a fascinating presentation by Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary) on  the history and development of contract cheating in Canada over the last 50 or so years, and the closing session Day 2 being a panel on contract cheating, featuring Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary), Brenda M. Stoesz (University of Manitoba), Amanda McKenzie (University of Waterloo), Sean Zwagerman (Simon Fraser University), and Dustin Grue (NorQuest College). Discussion of contract cheating throughout the conference showed that it is not just students’ use of essay mills; it includes the use of commercial contract cheating and unethical file-sharing companies that encourage students to share course material, assessment questions and instructions, and notes, often in real-time as students complete exams and other assessments (c.f. Nancy Chibry and Ebba Kurz [University of Calgary]).

Given that the COVID-19 pandemic moved education online around the world in 2020-2021, e-proctoring was a major topic at the conference as well. Discussion of e-proctoring focused on surveillance technology and related student privacy concerns, as well as the technology’s potential for causing students anxiety and for discriminatory flagging of students (c.f. Sarah Elaine Eaton [University of Calgary]) and Ceceilia Parnther [St. John’s University]).

The opening keynote presentation was by Thomas Lancaster (Imperial College London UK) on the power of academic integrity communities, and there were three presentations on cultures of academic integrity. There were 5 presentations on academic integrity policy, 4 on restorative practices, 6 on empowering learners to successfully engage in academic integrity, 3 on assessment design to support academic integrity, 3 on academic integrity in language learning contexts, and 4 that shared specific cases of academic misconduct and 2 that described trends at specific institutions. Among other interesting topics, there was one presentation on decolonizing academic integrity, and one on mental well-being in relation to academic integrity. 

Recordings of the conference presentations are available here: https://media.tru.ca/playlist/dedicated/0_0u3o63xd/0_5g0m31ax

Webinar re-cap: Proctoring online exams – Experiences in Alberta

Here’s a re-cap of our webinar on proctoring of online exams.

On 22 July 2020 we hosted “Proctoring online exams – Experiences in Alberta”. The webinar was hosted by Margaret Toye (Bow Valley College), Steering Committee Member for the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity.

Panelists included:

  • Kimberley Hogarth (Bow Valley College)
  • Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary)
  • Paul Sopcak (MacEwan University)

You can access a recording of the webinar here:

Stay tuned for our next webinar, coming in August.

Statement Against Racism

Academic integrity cannot co-exist with injustice. The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity denounces racism in all forms. See our statement against racism.

Alberta Council on Academic Integrity

Statement Against Racism on Matters Relating to Academic Integrity

Statement release date: June 4, 2020

Academic integrity cannot co-exist with injustice. The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity denounces racism in all forms. This includes:

  • Negative stereotyping of students from particular countries or cultures.
  • Racially biased reporting of academic misconduct that either implicitly or explicitly targets students of colour, students for whom English is not a first language and other racialized minorities.
  • Excessively harsh sanctioning of academic misconduct among racialized minorities.

We call upon all educators, administrators, and institutions to:

  • Acknowledge that particular groups of students are over-represented in academic misconduct reporting.
  • Speak out against racial stereotypes that persist against Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latinx, and Indigenous students with regards to academic misconduct.
  • Ensure that reporting of academic integrity violations is consistent across the student body and breaches are addressed in fair and equitable ways.
  • Collect institutional academic misconduct data on racialized minorities in order to identify, prevent, and pro-actively address racial bias in reporting and sanctioning of students who are not white or for whom English is not their first language.

The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity was established in 2019 to promote and advocate for academic integrity across Alberta. Questions about this statement can be directed to members of the Steering Committee.

Download a .pdf version of this statement:

Alberta Council on Academic Integrity – Statement Against Racism 2020-06-04

Main page – Alberta Council on Academic Integrity 2020.

Draft Charter

At the October 2019 meeting of the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity, held at Norquest College in Edmonton, we presented a draft charter to those present.

At the October 2019 meeting of the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity, held at Norquest College in Edmonton, we presented a draft charter to those present. We received feedback on the charter, which has been incorporated into the version posted here.

The draft charter was slated for ratification at the April 2020 meeting of the council, but the meeting was delayed due to COVID-19. Whenever the council meets again, we will present the charter for approval.

Draft Charter 2019-10.

Questions can be directed to members of the Steering Committee.

Alberta Council on Academic Integrity 2020.

Spring 2020 Meeting

Join us for our spring 2020 meeting on April 24, hosted by Lethbridge College.

Friday, April 24, 2020 – Hosted by Lethbridge College.

There is no cost to attend. Participants are welcomed from Alberta post-secondary institutions. If you are not affiliated with an Alberta post-sec, please contact us before registering. Registration is required.