Different scholars have provided their various definitions of academic integrity and narrowed it down to a particular concept. Some define academic integrity as an ethical policy or moral code of academia. Such include values like rigor and honesty within research and academic publishing, maintenance of academic standards and avoidance of plagiarism or cheating. Some have also defined academic integrity as an intellectual honesty; where honesty is based on formulating arguments, use of information, as well as in more activities that are linked to the search of knowledge and understanding.
Deriving academic integrity from late 18th century, it was correlated firmly to the Southern honor code. Those who were involved in monitoring were widely the students. The focus of Southern honor code was on self-esteem, power or pride. The objective was on any act that seems to promote magnification of such, meaning that academic integrity had concentrated on appearance and status of a person's upright character (The Center for Academic Integrity, 2012).
The concept of academic integrity came to change in the 19th Century after there was a change in university goals. This period required professors to be able to teach and come up with original research. Their jobs had more stress that was coming from pressure to acquire as well as publish. Even though instances of academic dishonesty could now be considered as acts of follies, but still the concept of academic integrity based on Southern honor code was undergoing evolution into a more contemporary concept. It was that academic integrity had started to take the place of honor of the university and honor of the individual to the university as an institution. The importance of this evolution was that it helped in promoting unity within every level of academic institution and give students confidence of holding one another accountable for acts of dishonesty. Moreover, it gave students the opportunity of feeling empowered by self-monitoring of one another.
Continued need for original research among members of different faculties facilitated the persistent question of research integrity. Following the intense pressure upon professors with their professional status, the surrounding community placed them under severe scrutiny. The outcome was separation of academic integrity ideals for faculty and students.
There are many factors reshaping the concept of academic integrity in recent society. The most predominant factor is technology. It has influenced the educational system in two ways. To a large extent it has extended the traditional views of teaching and learning and at the same time challenging them. The greatest contribution that technology has brought to the society is the capability of availing large amount of information concurrently to many people. Therefore, present and future students of this phenomenon have developed a distorted view of whatever ownership of information could be made up of. Generations that passed had no option but to find out direct sources of material for them to get the needed material. However, nowadays any material needed is just typed using the keyword into any online search engine where there will be as many sources as one may need having distinct levels of relativity without any authorship at times.
Generally technology has changed access to information from an entity established by one person to somehow communal property at the global level. Therefore, pressures are directed on the other hand to the academic institutions so that they appreciate such collective intelligence and reconsider the way it is utilized within the contemporary education. This makes academic integrity to stop becoming a one person character assessment to a more of social phenomenon.
Impact of Academic Integrity
Most of educational institutions implement the academic integrity measures. They have noted it in mission statements and have represented it in honor codes. Ethics classes receive the teachings and the syllabuses have it. Most of the universities have created their websites which are meant specifically for academic integrity and they define the meaning according to their particular institution. The approach taken by the universities to inspire academic integrity is the inclusive one through creation of Student Honor Councils, including taking forefront to enlighten active role in creating awareness on the part of students over the outcome of academic dishonesty, (University Secretariat, 2012).
According to Director of Judicial Programs and Student Ethical Development, Gary Pavela from the University of Maryland, the requirement of promoting student moral development is asserting shared values. Additional institutions…