Satisfaction with Online Education and Issues of Academic Integrity: Viewed from the Student's Perspective

Michele T. Cole, Daniel J. Shelley, and Louis B. Swartz


Academic integrity, online education, satisfaction


As more students are finding that taking courses online is both more convenient and, in some cases, the only way to access required courses, concerns have arisen about the best ways to maintain a commitment to academic integrity in the online learning environment. Student surveys are opening additional areas of concern with regard to what constitutes academic integrity in the online learning environment. Do students, instructors and institutions share a common understanding of academic integrity? Are instructors effectively communicating their expectations of student behavior to their students? This paper combines the results of two studies which asked students if they felt that the education they were receiving online was satisfactory and whether they viewed maintaining academic integrity to be the same online as in a traditional classroom setting. Satisfaction with the online education was positive. Results were mixed with regard to what constitutes maintaining academic integrity online and in the classroom. What students valued in online instruction and found satisfactory – convenience - and what they valued and found unsatisfactory – interaction with others - was consistent with other studies. How students viewed what constitutes acceptable behavior in the online environment raised questions about establishing a common definition of academic integrity.

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