Saturday, August 3, 2013

Academic Honesty Is a Priority at Rio Salado College

This story can also be found in the August 3 edition of the Mesa Republic, Mesa Republic - Apache Junction, and Tempe Republic. 

Rio Salado College warns students that “course work for sale” websites do not provide students with a “guaranteed A” but will cheat them out of their money, their education, and will most likely get them suspended from school.

The online college proactively checks websites for those who advertise tests, papers or taking online classes for others. It is aware of what is being sold or provided and uses large banks of questions to regularly change up quizzes and exams to ensure that students are doing the work themselves. This ultimately helps students get the most out of their education and promote academic integrity.

In addition, Rio Salado works with other institutions such as turnitin, to check online submissions to confirm that students are submitting their own original work. Each student’s work is scanned and checked against a database of other work. If the same work is being turned in, the college investigates.

“We also run comparisons. If you are turning in the same work that someone else turned in, it will be noticed,” said Heather Tyler, coordinator of testing at Rio Salado College.

While most of Rio Salado College’s classes are online, the consequences for cheating and dishonesty remain the same as for in-person courses. Students are required to always submit original, independent work in order to avoid negative consequences.

To determine penalties for academic misconduct Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs Ruby Miller said, “We meet as a team, as an academic council, discuss the situation and determine the consequence. This could lead to a suspension.”

If academic misconduct results in suspension or expulsion, a hold can be placed on the student's account. The college takes education very seriously because student success both during and after school is what matters most.

“We insist on high standards for all of our students, because learning is the most important part of the process,” Tyler said.

Rio Salado wants to give students an education that will help them achieve their goals. While there aren’t many students committing academic misconduct, when asked about the catch rate percentage of those who do cheat, Tyler responded, “I would say it’s very high, and improving all the time.”

The Rio Salado Academic Integrity Team was established in April of 2011 to centralize and make available cross-referenced information for faculty, staff, and administration in order promote the principles of academic integrity and safeguard a high quality education for students.