Archive for April, 2009

Academic Integrity Seminar Assessment

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One of the goals of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is to provide educational and developmental programs for students surrounding issues related to the student conduct code. One of the ways in which we do this is through the Academic Integrity Seminars I facilitate. During the 08-09 year we decided to do an online survey assessment of the seminar and subsequent homework assignment. The goals of the seminar are to provide students with a thorough understanding of OSU’s academic dishonesty policy, explain resources to help them with time management, proper writing and research techniques and other skills that help in the prevention of academic dishonesty, and do have them think about how academic dishonesty affects themselves and others.

The survey is given to students after they complete their one-on-one follow-up meeting with me. It is important to note that we have a number of students who end up missing our seminar and therefore complete a longer homework assignment and have a follow-up with me. During the 08-09 year only students attending the seminar have been surveyed, however the next time that this program is assessed, all students will be included in the results.

Here is the skeletal outline that I gave to StudentVoice in order to create the online survey: academic-integrity-seminar-survey

While data is still coming in for this assessment, several results are worth mentioning. Less than half of students indicated that they thought they were responsible for academic dishonesty before the seminar, where as after the seminar over 75% think they are responsible. I attribute a large portion of this change to the fact that in the seminar we discuss how OSU defines academic dishonesty and we also go through many scenarios which showcase how many things can be seen as academically dishonesty. Despite the seemingly positive results from these questions, I am left to wonder what else factors into whether or not students think they are responsible. For some it just might be that they are tried of fighting to have their case heard and for some they may have recognized their responsibility during a meeting with their instructor or department head. It would be good to follow this set of questions up with another one that asks students who changed their minds why they did so.

Over 80% of students indicate that the seminar made them think more about how their actions affect themselves and others. To me this indicated that the extra time that I spend talking about these issues in their follow-up meeting the group activity we do during the seminar are effective.

There was some talk of trying to create an online course that we could use instead of the in-person seminar. This was proposed because we run into several problems when planning the seminar. We don’t want them to fall during mid-term and finals seasons so we usually have to do them during the 3rd or 4th week of the term. Of course the majority of our reports come in after this and therefore a lot of our students end up going through the take-home assignment or attending the seminar months after their violation. At the current time, students are split down the middle in their interest for an online seminar. Given that this information is not conclusive and there are many reasons for maintaining a classroom seminar (as noted below), the office is going to put this idea on the back-burner for now.

When asked what they found the most useful many students talked about getting the chance to talk with other students about their experiences, gaining a broader perspective on the issue, hearing different viewpoints on how people view academic dishonesty and being held accountable to the larger group. Students also indicated that the homework assignment was useful and that they were given an opportunity to explain their situation and express the feelings about it. All of these responses provide support for maintaining the classroom style seminar.

For the most part the results that we got out of this survey confirm that the seminar meeting the learning objectives we have created. I realize that a question about whether or not students are being provided with helpful resources in order to avoid academic dishonesty in the future will be a good one to add if this survey is done again. Other than that I think that the way it is administered will stay the same and the format has secure backing from our current results.

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Distressed and Disruptive Students Presentation Assessment

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One of the goals for the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is to provide outreach and support for faculty and staff. One of the ways that we go about providing this outreach is through presentations to incoming graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) about the ways that they can recognize, interact with, and help distressed and disruptive students in their classes. This presentation is also given to faculty groups who request the information and often includes additional information from the Dean of Students Office, CAPS, Public Safety, DAS, and Student Health Services.

As part of our 08-09 assessment plan we decided to survey the incoming graduate students about their experience and learning during the presentation. We utilized Student Voice in order to do this survey and I am linking the skeletal outline ddsuvery that I created for them to use when creating our online survey. The goal of the presentation is to make instructors feel more comfortable and prepared to recognize and address disruptive and distressed students as well as more knowledgeable about the resources and support systems available to assist them in these situations at OSU. As such most of the questions pertained to finding out whether these learning outcomes were met. Given that we are always looking to improve the presentation and gain a new understanding of the up and coming challenges that instructors face we made sure to ask them what else they would have liked to hear about.

Dan and/or I gave the presentations to approximately five different groups of twenty incoming GTAs in mid-September 2008. We collected email addresses from participants and told them that we would be conducting a survey at the end of the term and would appreciate their feedback. The original hope was to provide GTAs with enough time to have potentially come in contact with a distressed or disruptive student and therefore have a greater context with which to answer the survey questions. I sent out an initial email with the survey link and had 9 respondents. I sent out a second email and also received a bit of support from one of the GTA supervisors in order to increase my numbers and in the end had 23 respondents, approximately a 25% completion rate.

The results from the first five questions were quantitatively positive. Over 90% Strongly Agreed or Agreed with the survey statements. As is to be expected the open-ended questions were a bit harder to lump together. When asked what parts of the presentation were most useful GTAs responded in three somewhat distinct ways: they were either glad to have information and resources to turn to, glad to hear that these students exists and that their actions are often not a result of poor teaching, or had not experienced any incidents yet and therefore did not comment on the most effective components. In regards to additional resources, a few GTAs recommended having some way of providing new and updated information to them regarding these types of issues throughout the year. One GTA suggested brochures, one a basic contact card (similar to the one we gave out), and one a website where they could find “tips” on handling distressed and disruptive students. The most frequent additional comment was that the presentation had been a long time ago and therefore the GTAs could not remember everything from it.

In terms of analyzing the results, it became clear that having a more ongoing and easily accessible way for staff and faculty to access this information would be helpful. We already have brochures and contact cards that we provide to people and there is a bit of information on the Dean of Students website that addressed distressed and disruptive students. However, it may be valuable to scan these documents onto our website for easy access and update them when necessary.

The one sure thing that we are going to change based on the survey data is the way in which we go about administering the survey. Next year we are going to get all of the GTA supervisors involved in helping us encourage people to respond to the survey. This should help to increase the number of respondents. In addition, we are going to send out a reminder to GTAs about the upcoming survey and get it to them a month after the presentation is given. While this may still not be enough time for them to have had many experiences with distressed or disruptive students, it will not create such a large lag time between presentation and assessment and this will hopefully lead to more accurate results.

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