Working Group 1

WG1: Academic Integrity Policies: Addressing Best Practices in Education and Industry

Working group leader: Charles P. Riedesel (

Alison Clear (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology)
Gerry Cross (Mount Royal University)
Jitender Deogun (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)
Janet Hughes (University of Dundee)
Simon (University of Newcastle - Ourimbah)
Henry Walker (Grinnell College)

This international working group of computing educators will develop a model departmental-level academic integrity policy that is compatible with best practices (both best educational practices and best practices in industry), and adaptable to a wide range of educational institutions, courses, and scenarios.

This will involve researching the current state of academic integrity policies and identifying best practices in preparation for updating and expanding a recent paper by this working group leader. (Riedesel C, Manley E, Poser S and Deogun J, A Model Ethics and integrity policy for Computer Science Departments, Proc. of 40th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Chattanooga, 2009)

The resulting report will include a brief overview of the evolution of departmental academic integrity policies, a discussion on the impact of policy features on supporting best practices, an annotated model policy, and guidelines for developing, implementing, and assessing policies in terms of understandability, utility, comprehensiveness, adaptability, and effectiveness in simultaneously fostering ethical behavior and supporting best practices.

It is expected that a well-constructed academic integrity policy can foster an environment that is conducive toward educating students in the best practices of computing, and ideally promoting ethical behavior as well! It should be adaptable to particular class needs without needing to be frequently overridden, thereby providing more consistency. While many existing policies provide flexibility for instructors to apply their own collaboration, sharing, and Internet use specifications, the default is often rigid, yet uncomfortably vague, despite obvious attempts at improving clarity. The result is a mishmash of rules that vary by instructor and course, greatly lacking in consistency and quality. It may be more desirable to set the default to accommodate the more industry-friendly constraints of collaboration than to the most restrictive.