Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Downs

Committee Member 1

Randal Carlson

Committee Member 2

Bryan Griffin

Committee Member 3

Brenda Marina

Abstract

Distance education has become a significant element of instruction in higher education. The need to ensure the academic integrity of distance learning courses has increased as online instruction has grown to meet the needs of its distributed body of students. Although academic dishonesty has been a well documented problem for many years, the distance learning environment has not been studied as carefully as instruction in traditional classrooms. Specifically, little research has been conducted to identify what intervention measures are available to faculty to address academic dishonesty in online courses. Additionally, little empirical research has been conducted to study the extent to which faculty use these measures or how effective they believe these measures to be. The purpose of this study was to address this lack of research. Data collection was divided into two phases. In phase I a comprehensive list of intervention measures was collected from 4 sources: faculty focus groups, surveys of distributed faculty and distance learning administrators, and relevant literature. This phase of research produced a list of 50 intervention measures. Phase II collected survey data from 629 college faculty throughout the University System of Georgia. Faculty were asked about their beliefs regarding academic dishonesty in traditional and online classroom environments. Faculty with experience in the online environment were also provided with the list of 50 intervention measures from the first phase of research and asked to indicate which they use and to rate the effectiveness of each. Results showed that faculty experienced with online assessments have a greater concern for cheating than faculty experienced only with traditional, classroom-based assessment. The most used intervention measures included providing clear directions, distributing grades over multiple assignments, educating students about academic dishonesty, and having an explicit honor code. The intervention measures rated as most effective included using proctoring options, avoiding multiple choice questions, and distributing grades over multiple assignments. Of the10 highest used and 10 highest rated, the only measures common between both lists were proctoring exams and distributing grades over multiple assignments. These findings inform distance learning administrators and faculty as to best practices when addressing academic dishonesty.

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