Upcoming Events

Winter 2018

Understanding Student Stress as an Academic Integrity Risk Factor

Seminar, April 23, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in IB 210

Daniela Janes, Senior Lecturer, Department of English & Drama, UTM; Michael Kaler, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream & Writing Specialist, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM; & Chet Scoville, Assistant Professor, Department of English & Drama, UTM.

The issue of academic integrity is a perennial concern, as students’ unethical use of sources hampers their intellectual growth, inhibits their development into disciplinary insiders, damages their sense of ethics and self-image, and consumes a great deal of instructors’ time and energy. Academic integrity is often approached in a way that emphasizes legal aspects and penalties; however, research shows that the motives for improper behavior are often grounded in contextual factors, such as student stress, more than intellectual criminality. Thus, it seems to us that giving students tools to help them cope with their stress might be useful in addressing academic integrity issues, as well as supporting student wellness and autonomy. In this presentation we will discuss a project (developed for a large, first year English course) in which the goal to provide students with those tools, both for their own wellbeing and to see if this decreases the temptation to plagiarize. In this session, we will present our project, our motivations, the research context, and the (preliminary) results. 

By the end of the session, particpiants will have developed their understanding of the role of wellness and stress management in the fostering of academic integrity, been exposed to some of the research on the topic, learned about one approach to addressing these issues, and shared in our planning and lessons learned. We will also provide an example of a student stress management module for participants to reflect upon.

Daniela Janes has been teaching in the Department of English and Drama at UTM since 2006, and has been working with students as a Writing Instructor at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre since 2013. She holds a doctorate in English literature from the University of Toronto. She has published on historical fiction, social reform writing, reader-writer interactivity, and the short story cycle. Her interest in helping students build skills and confidence in their writing has led to her current pedagogical research, which focuses upon the relationship between stress and plagiarism in the context of her large first-year literature class.

Michael Kaler is an Assistant Professor and Writing Specialist at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, where his research interests include writing program assessment and productive feedback. He holds doctorates from Université Laval (Quebec, QC) in sciences religieuse and York University (Toronto, ON) in ethnomusicology, and a MA in sciences religiouses from U. Laval; he is also TESL-Canada and TESL-Ontario certified and has taught English both in the private sector and with the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on such topics as ancient gnosticism, early Christian heterodoxy, the Grateful Dead, science fiction, and the musical expression of religious experience. He reintroduced the teaching of the Coptic language to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (U. Toronto), teaching there from 2005-2008, and has taught at McMaster University and York University as well.

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