The Honor Code in 2020

Our recent blog post considers that cornerstone of institutional academic integrity policy, the honor code, and looks at why universities and schools should consider reviewing their code to ensure it is fit for purpose in the online learning environment.


Working in the UK, where we are somewhat sceptical of honor codes, in spite of the compelling research cited in the post from the late, great Don McCabe, I would be interested to hear from universities who have an honor code and how effective you feel the code has been in promoting and safeguarding academic integrity? Additionally, what changes have you made to your honor code to address online learning?

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  • I do like the idea of honour codes, like codes of ethics they do create a sense of common purpose and sense of what will be followed. However, like a law, they are the floor not the ceiling, of what should be expected and they have to be agreed to both physically and as part of the psychological contract.

    We have to consider what it means for the student as part of the honour code too.What we may uphold as important, they may not, hence making the honour valuable is a critical part of shaping this landscape. WE have to think about culture (of the institution national culture of the students, culture of the student body and so on). The starting point can be a code but how that is enacted and embodied is what makes a difference.

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      • Gill Rowell
      • Advocacy & Thought Leadership Specialist, Turnitin
      • Gill_Rowell
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Thanks Lynn I agree that the honor code should just be a starting point and that the whole culture of the institution should be centred around honesty and integrity. I read an interesting post on the ICAI Blog yesterday about the University of Georgia's approach to honor codes this year.

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