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New Video for Students Stresses Academic Integrity

Comm Faculty Parodys TV Shows to Catch Students' Attention and Make Their Points

Sept. 30, 2013

To help students understand academic integrity, including proper attribution when a source is quoted, Sandra Rhoten, associate dean of student conduct, teamed up two faculty members to get the word out, using a method designed to catch students' attention.

Rhoten, Andi Stein, professor of communications, and Shelly Jenkins, lecturer in radio-TV-film, created a video of integrity-related TV show parodies — a sitcom, a news report, a game show, a soap opera and a Sesame-Street-like puppet show — to tickle the funny bone and make students think about the issue of academic integrity.

"Our aim is to package the information in an entertaining yet educational way that gets the message across to students. We want to make sure students understand what is right and wrong when it comes to writing papers, giving presentations and taking tests," said Rhoten.

The video, produced through a University Mission and Goals Initiative grant, is available as a teaching tool for educators. An instructors manual is also available. Both can be found online.

"The project was an excellent example of cross-campus collaboration," said Stein, noting that radio-TV-film students helped with the video's filming and production, while Ed Fink, director of the Faculty Development Center, and Jochen Burgtorf, chair and professor of history, appear as actors in two of the segments. Art department students contributed their talents by creating an animated "commercial break" that appears between TV segments. "It really was a team effort," said Stein.

A running gag throughout the video is that Rhoten appears in disguise in every scene, playing everything from a game-show host ("Sandy Trebek") to a sock-puppet version of herself. At the end of the video she appears on-screen as herself, reinforcing the basic concepts of integrity presented throughout the video segments.

In 2007, Rhoten and Stein developed an integrity campaign that included a rap contest. "Making Integrity County: More than 1-2-3" was recognized by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

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