Bringing Student Integrity to the Remote CS Classroom

Surprised to see a Bob Marley quote on a CS blog?

All of my courses will be taught via remote instruction for the first nine weeks. The topic of ensuring student academic integrity in remote instruction keeps popping up in discussions with other AP teachers. Not once, not a single time, has one of my plans worked perfectly – but after pondering the concern for a couple of days here is my intial plan.

  1. Teach Integrity: I cannot expect students to provide something I have not requested and we have not discussed at length.
  2. Tie Integrity to the Purpose of Learning: Life is not about getting an A on a homework assignment. If I want my students to be lifelong learners, I have to have authentic appreciation for their individual learning processes.
  3. Communicate the Why – Why am I am asking you to master this skill? Where are we headed (this is especially important in the early stages of CS when it appears that we aren’t headed anywhere at all)
  4. Require Comments in Program Code – The internet is abound with solutions to all sorts of common programming assingments. But if a student can produce code, with unqiue, correct, detailed comments-then I know they understand the algorthims and the program logic.
  5. Reduce Rare High Stakes Test with More Frequent Smaller Assessments – The student anxiety to perform well on a large unit exam might createa an environment where they feel the need to get unauthorized help. But there is no pressure to score well on a small 10 point assignment that is one of many. If the purpose of an assessment is to measure what they can do, and CS is cumulative by nature, do I need one large assessment? We are learning in smaller steps, so I shall begin to assess in smaller steps. Yes, there is one large MC Exam for the College Board in the spring – but that fact cannot drive all instructional and assessment decisions from now until November.
  6. Celebrate Visible Effort – If a student can earn credit and praise for working through a challenging problem (and yws – challenging is relative) regardless of their success rate on the final step then I can re-enforce Step 1 and Step 2 of my plan.
  7. Focus on the 95% – Effort should be put into the students who are doing their level best. I cannot prevent a determined trickster. But do I want my instructional hours to be about stopping one studentor about moving the rest along the road to mastery?

Published by MaryClair Wright

High School Computer Science Teacher in Alabama.

%d bloggers like this: