At Honorlock, we pride ourselves on helping educational institutions preserve their academic integrity. Most of you, whether students, faculty, or administrators, will be aware of this phrase. Some of you will have thought deeply about academic integrity, while others may think of it only in passing. A few may have come into stark awareness of academic integrity only after being accused of violating it on an examination or a written assignment for a class. In part because of those circumstances, perhaps too much discussion of and emotion about academic integrity centers upon negative behaviors and instances when individuals fall short of the ideal.
In contrast, the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) exists to focus on and champion the positive values associated with our intrinsic drive to do good, not just do well. These fundamental values, honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage, each warrant a look when considering what web proctoring solution a school administrator chooses, how faculty members create assessments for their students (and indeed how they produce their own research), and how students approach the pursuit of their degrees and their education. They also play an integral role in how Honorlock operates as a company.
Honesty is not just the proverbial best policy, ICAI notes that it’s an “indispensable foundation of teaching, learning, research, and service, and a necessary prerequisite” for the five other fundamental values. Institutions need to be clear that dishonest behaviors in an academic community are unacceptable.
Honesty and honor are closely related. The temptation to take short cuts during one’s academic career can be overwhelming, and whether it’s due to stress or disconnection, or “nobody will know,” an extensive and recent ICAI survey paints a troubling picture of the percentage of students who admit to betraying their honor at some time or another when completing an assignment.
What can web proctoring software do in this environment? The answer is help schools limit the temptation, by providing effective deterrence for those who may be tempted to put short-term gains ahead of their own, and their institution’s academic integrity.
Once honesty is established, trust can follow. According to ICAI, faculty promote trust by setting “clear guidelines for assignments and for evaluating student work.” Students promote trust by preparing “honest, thoughtful, and genuine” work. Schools develop trust by setting “clear and consistent academic standards” and then applying those standards “unfailingly and fairly.” When the members of the academic community can be trusted to act with integrity, the wider society “can believe in the value and meaning of scholarly research, teaching, and degrees.”
To verify the worthiness of the trust placed in our educational institutions, the federal government requires that schools confirm that each student taking a distance course and being awarded the credit is the same student enrolled in the course and doing the work. Honorlock’s remote exam proctoring system contributes to this general trust with the quickest and easiest test-taker ID verification process available. Meanwhile, students and institutions can trust that Honorlock will never sell or monetize your student data.
Humans have a compelling need to feel that they have been treated fairly. “Life” may not be fair, and, in a competitive economy, things may not always break our way, but we still demand that others deal fairly with us. Our educational communities can be fortified by “predictability, transparency, and clear, reasonable expectations,” as ICAI puts it.
Students want their grade evaluations to be impartial and accurate, and fairness in this sense is what builds trust between them and their instructors and institutions. Honest students need to feel confident that their peers are not gaining an unfair advantage by acting dishonestly. For courses with high stakes online midterms and final exams, Honorlock’s AI, backed up by live human proctors, performs a vital service in ensuring fairness for all.
“Respect in academic communities,” ICAI reminds us, “is reciprocal and requires showing respect for oneself as well as others.” For the individual, respect means “facing challenges with integrity.” For the group, making sure each member both shows and feels respect is everyone’s responsibility.
When students behave with integrity, they demonstrate respect to themselves, their peers, their families, their teachers, and their school. They also show respect to the alumni who have come before them and whose ranks they hope to proudly join having maintained their school’s good name.
Honorlock was founded by students, and we respect the commitment that everyone in the academic community makes with our 24/7/365 support. We appreciate our opportunity to contribute to an environment that fosters respect by ensuring that remotely proctored exams are conducted both conveniently and fairly.
Here is the ICAI on responsibility:
Academic communities of integrity rest upon foundations of personal accountability coupled with the willingness of individuals and groups to lead by example, uphold mutually agreed-upon standards, and take action when they encounter wrongdoing.
Schools are taking on a wider responsibility for the education of the population by expanding their reach through distance learning, and part of that responsibility is ensuring the fairness of their web-proctored assessments. Schools that successfully shoulder this responsibility engender credibility with the world at large.
ICAI highlights courage last because it is less a value than a “quality or capacity” that allows us to act according to our values. Courage is “an element of character” that helps students hold themselves and each other to the highest standards.
It takes courage to act with integrity when fear creeps in, or when stress derails us. But, in a way similar to intellectual capacity, ICAI concludes, “courage can only develop in environments where it is tested.”
Take courage as you make the most of your experience as a student, faculty member, or administrator. If you’d like to learn more about how Honorlock can help preserve your institution’s values, request a demo.
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