Section: News

Academic infractions skyrocket in remote semesters

The Academic Infractions Board (AIB) heard 12 cases in the 2020 fall semester, compared to the average of three per semester from 2015 to 2019, said Associate Provost Drew Kerkhoff, who oversees the board. Inappropriate collaboration on exams in particular increased last semester, when all final exams were administered remotely.

     In the spring 2020 semester, when students began learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AIB heard six cases, which Kerkhoff said was “high but not extreme.” 

     Kerkhoff said he was not concerned that violations would be harder to detect in a remote setting. “Most violations of academic integrity are found during the grading and evaluation process, when an instructor finds plagiarized material or unusual similarity in student work,” he said. “I don’t think remote learning, by itself, has changed the ability of instructors to detect violations.”

     Kenyon outlines its academic integrity policy on the College website. “Every piece of work you produce is your own contribution to our collective scholarly conversation,” the policy states. “It must represent your own research, ideas, data, words, and analysis.” Academic infractions are classified according to severity on three tiers, but only Tier 2 and 3 offences are presented as cases before the AIB. 

     Student Council Vice President for Academic Affairs Delaney Gallagher ’23 speculated about what may have contributed to this increase in AIB cases. “There are a lot of stressors from this pandemic that lead to caving into temptations that are more accessible in a remote learning setting than compared to an in person one,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. 

   Because many classes remain remote this semester, Kerkhoff said that preventing this pattern from continuing largely comes down to individual actions. “While knowing the policies and understanding how they apply in a particular class, whether in-person, hybrid or remote, is important, in the end, academic integrity comes down to taking personal responsibility for our intellectual work,” he said.

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