Academic integrity in the online learning environment for health sciences students

Ilana R. Azulay Chertok, Emily R. Barnes, Diana Gilleland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The online learning environment not only affords accessibility to education for health sciences students, but also poses challenges to academic integrity. Technological advances contribute to new modes of academic dishonesty, although there may be a lack of clarity regarding behaviors that constitute academic dishonesty in the online learning environment.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate an educational intervention aimed at increasing knowledge and improving attitudes about academic integrity in the online learning environment among health sciences students.

DESIGN: A quasi-experimental study was conducted using a survey of online learning knowledge and attitudes with strong reliability that was developed based on a modified version of a previously developed information technology attitudes rating tool with an added knowledge section based on the academic integrity statement.

SETTING: Blended-learning courses in a university health sciences center.

PARTICIPANTS: 355 health sciences students from various disciplines, including nursing, pre-medical, and exercise physiology students, 161 in the control group and 194 in the intervention group.

METHOD: The survey of online learning knowledge and attitudes (SOLKA) was used in a pre-post test study to evaluate the differences in scores between the control group who received the standard course introduction and the intervention group who received an enhanced educational intervention about academic integrity during the course introduction.

RESULTS: Post-intervention attitude scores were significantly improved compared to baseline scores for the control and intervention groups, indicating a positive relationship with exposure to the information, with a greater improvement among intervention group participants (p<0.001). There was a significant improvement in the mean post-intervention knowledge score of the intervention group compared to the control group (p=0.001).

CONCLUSION: Recommendations are provided for instructors in promoting academic integrity in the online environment. Emphasis should be made about the importance of academic integrity in the online learning environment in preparation for professional behavior in the technologically advancing health sciences arena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1324-1329
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic integrity
  • Online education
  • Plagiarism
  • eLearning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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