Celebrate Integrity, Recognize Fear

*****Another exciting conference for ICAI is in the books! #ICAI2020 proved to be full of innovation, education, and community as scholars and practitioners from around the world gathered together in Portland, Oregon US for the annual conference.

Organizers and volunteers work tirelessly to provide a high-quality event, as was seen over the past few days, and we submit our sincere gratitude. While the nuance of how each comes to the work is different, one thing is for sure. Integrity matters!

Stay tuned next week for a conference overview with material sourced from members all over the world on social media. Attendees: If you have a comment, memory, or fun picture you have from the event, please email us. We would love to include it in our next post!*****   

                                    

“ilearn2” by Annitix1 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Integrity, or fear?

As responses to COVID-19 increase globally, we enter a tenuous stage of being. Panic buying has lead to shortages of supplies for those most in need, and predatory sellers have taken advantage. Interactions are different now. Underlying bias and racism rear their ugly heads as fear turns to accusations. Difficult decisions are being made that will affect the trajectory of our lives for years to come. Education is no exception.

We have seen an uptick in educational institutions that are taking their classes online to prevent community spread of the contagion. For many educators, the health crisis represents gaps in available education opportunities for those whose circumstances prevent or limit public assembly. For others, the shift is indicative of an opportunity for innovation as many scramble to assess resources and provide options that align with educational goals.

Students are also conflicted. While many welcome the opportunity to begin online coursework, we must remember the limitations presented for those students who may not have dependable access to the internet.

I am reminded that in times like these it is personal integrity that is so important, as we trust:

  • Institutions to have our best interests at heart as they make the difficult decisions to alter instruction, limit travel, and manage disruption
  • Faculty to make the best decisions for their students recognizes opportunities and limitations in the online environment, and the time it takes to place quality measures in place to ensure learning
  • Students to navigate the changes with integrity, advocating for themselves as necessary, and engaging with the material in meaningful ways
  • Industry to provide student and faculty centered solutions that can be easily accessed and understood.

Because in times like these we recognize that fear threatens integrity, and can lead to:

  • Institutions who fail to respond to the diverse needs of their stakeholders
  • Faculty who in frustration cancel classes or put up content that is more harmful than useful
  • Students, who when presented with relative anonymity who seek the easy way out and choose not to accept the opportunity to learn
  • Industry taking advantage of increased student uncertainty in the online environment

I encourage you not to give in to fear. Integrity reminds us that we are all learners, even in a time when it is more challenging to be so. We must trust in ourselves and each other to choose the right, equitable, and accessible decisions that make education the great equalizer.

About the Author
Ceceilia Parnther, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Administrative and Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University. Her research interests include academic integrity education and college student success initiatives. Before joining the faculty, Ceceilia worked in student and academic affairs in various capacities including academic integrity, advisement, and student conduct. Among others, her most recent research is found in Innovative Higher Education, New Directions for Community Colleges, and The Journal of College Student Retention. Ceceilia’s blog posts are her own and do not necessarily represent the postings, strategies, or opinions of her employer.
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