Survey of the School of Mathematics and Sciences at a Community College Regarding Academic Dishonesty
After receiving many anecdotes about student cheating and plagiarism in online and remote classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Mathematics and Science (SOMS) at the Community College of Baltimore County convened an Academic Integrity Committee to investigate these issues. A survey was sent to SOMS faculty members to determine their opinions about where cheating was most likely occurring. The committee hypothesized that instructors would feel that cheating and plagiarism were on the rise and that most faculty members felt ill-prepared for this. This paper aims to summarize the survey results. Overall, the results indicate that faculty seem doubtful of their ability to ensure academic honesty and would like to see materials that help them in these areas. The survey results guided the committee in determining what projects most deserved the committee’s attention. The committee was able to develop materials for new instructors and wrote a document of practical recommendations for several types of online exams. The committee also gave a presentation at the college’s Teaching and Teaching Fair to help faculty become more familiar with the tools available on the new Learning Management System (LMS), Brightspace. The committee has begun researching ideas such as Honor Codes and other methods of gaining student buy-in. There may be an opportunity to make more concrete recommendations in the future. One of the limitations of this research is the sample pool, which was a small percentage of total faculty members and therefore may not indicate what most faculty believe. Another limitation is that surveyed faculty members were from mathematics, biology, and physical sciences departments. These different disciplines have different assessment types and use different tools. The college also switched to a new LMS system involving new plagiarism detection tools. Further data may be required to determine the exact cause of faculty discontent.