What Is Cheating?: Definitions by International Pre-University Pathway Students

What Is Cheating?: Definitions by International Pre-University Pathway Students

Donna M. Velliaris (University of South Australia, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8057-7.ch006
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The Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT) is one of a growing number of private providers partnering with universities to attract international students early in their commitment to tertiary studies. EIBT offers diploma programs that comprise the equivalent courses as the first-year of a Bachelor's degree in Business, Information Technology (IT), or Engineering at the destination Higher Education Institution (HEI). EIBT provides a period of academic acculturation for international students whose English proficiency and/or previous academic results are below direct entry requirements. In 2015, 200+ ‘new' students were required to complete a mandatory online questionnaire during orientation. First-person narrative data was derived from students' responses to the open-ended question: What is cheating and why is it wrong? The findings provide insight into their understandings, which has helped facilitate opportunities for faculty to mitigate opportunities for academic misconduct in the context of this Institute.
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Founded in 1998, the Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT) is a private pre-university pathway provider that has partnered with two South Australian universities to attract ‘international’ students and secure their tertiary destination prior to them satisfying direct entry requirements (Fiocco, 2006). EIBT offers diploma programs with the same or approved equivalent eight courses that constitute the first-year of a Bachelor of Business, Information Technology (IT), or Engineering at the partner institution (Velliaris & Breen, 2014; Velliaris & Coleman-George, 2014; Velliaris, Willis, & Breen, 2015a, 2015b; Velliaris, Willis, & Pierce, 2015). A distinct advantage of EIBT diplomas is that students can complete the equivalent of their first-year university degree in a minimum of two-trimesters (i.e., approximately 6-months), rather than two-semesters (i.e., 12-months/one calendar year).

The impetus for this research was recognition that the diversity among EIBT students has implications for lecturers and the Academic Integrity Officer (AIO), who face a range of academic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and social challenges to navigate so that the Institute can provide an optimal learning environment to enable its international pathway students to be ‘university-ready’ (Velliaris & Coleman-George, 2015c). Each trimester, there is considerable diversity within EIBT’s student population, with individuals from countries/regions including: Bangladesh; Cambodia; China [mainland, Hong Kong and Macau]; Colombia; Egypt; France; India; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Malaysia; Nepal; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Korea; Sri Lanka; Taiwan; Uganda; and Vietnam. With reference to Table 1, international student intake is presented over the last three-years whereby trimesters are indicated by the year (e.g., 2012, 2013, etc.) and then by the entry; February (-01), June (-02) or October (-03).

EIBT’s international students need to fulfil the same level of academic achievement as their Australian peers while they attempt to navigate a new cultural terrain, an education system with different rules and expectations than in their home country, and often, in English as an Additional Language (EAL). They may experience difficulty adjusting to Western pedagogical practices such as problem-based, real-world, self-directed, and student-centered approaches (Velliaris & Warner, 2009) and Western dialogical practices such as debating, persuading, questioning, and refuting (Major, 2005). Academic demands together with adjusting to an unfamiliar setting, may place those students at ‘greater risk of academic failure’ (Li & Gasser, 2005) and potentially, the temptation to engage in cheating.

Table 1.
Citizenship/ethnicity of EIBT students over the past three years
Hong Kong48655150512930272533
South Korea7753332236

Note: Trimester 1 in 2012 (= 2012-01), Trimester 2 in 2012 (= 2012-02), and Trimester 3 in 2012 (= 2012-03) etc.

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