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Curing the Cheating Epidemic? A Multi-site International Comparison of Perspectives on Academic Integrity and the Way We "Cure" by Teaching

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Integrity and the Problem of Cheating

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Teresa Ryan East Carolina University

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Dr. Teresa Ryan teaches mechanical engineering fundamentals such as Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Acoustics and Vibrations. She also focuses on technical communication skills within an engineering context. Her research interests include acoustics, the dynamics of complex structures, and the use of laser Doppler vibrometry for characterization of such structures including percussion instruments, landmines/IED, and coupled resonator arrays.

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Bernd Steffensen University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt Orcid 16x16

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Studied Administrative Sciences and Sociology at the Universities in Kiel, Bielefeld (Germany), and Lancaster (UK). Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Bielefeld. Worked from 1992-2000 with Academy for Technology Assessment in Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany). Since 2000 professor for Technology Assessment and Social Science Innovation Management at University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt. From 2010 to 2013 Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer since 2012 Head of the Graduate School Darmstadt.

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Colleen Janeiro East Carolina University

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Dr. Colleen Janeiro teaches engineering fundamentals such as Introduction to Engineering, Materials and Processes, and Statics. Her teaching interests include development of solid communication skills and enhancing laboratory skills.

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Plagiarism became an issue in both the scientific and political communities in Germany in the beginning of the decade. The former German Minister of Defense and the Minister of Education and Science lost their Ph.D. titles due to plagiarism and subsequently resigned. In response, a German internet community worked as a group of ''plagiarism hunters'' screening the dissertations of high profile individuals. The situation prompted an intense discussion about academic integrity, largely focusing on plagiarism. A number of newly published books have surfaced in Germany about the correct way to proceed with academic work. In contrast, other cases of cheating are not discussed widely by German academics. Obviously different traditions and organizational arrangements in various countries or in different institutions in the same country will lead to varying degrees of scrutiny. The research question for this work is: whether schooling is unavoidably connected to cheating? The answer to this question is probably yes. The specific question to be addressed is whether different university traditions and organizational arrangements are more or less successful in preventing cheating, or at least instilling a consistent view of what is acceptable and what is not? This paper will present data from (University Names Redacted), asking students about their attitudes towards cheating. The participating institutions of higher education offer obligatory courses which inform the students about academic integrity and the faculty try to support students to apply the rules correctly. The university systems of the countries are very different, leading to differing modes of supervision and to different student expectations of how they have to be guided.

Ryan, T., & Steffensen, B., & Janeiro, C. (2017, June), Curing the Cheating Epidemic? A Multi-site International Comparison of Perspectives on Academic Integrity and the Way We "Cure" by Teaching Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28095

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